The turbulent life of Clint Eastwood: machismo and scandals

Clint Eastwood He came to the screen with the firm conviction that he would be one of his masters: his deep gaze, his imposing 1.93 height, an athletic body born from swimming, in addition to that pose of a bad boy and shy at the same time, opened doors in Hollywood. And they conquered more than one woman. In the blink of an eye he was already considered an icon of masculinity.

But it crashed. And strong: she was showered with hundreds of criticisms for having a stern and inexpressive face, a squint eye and the mania of clenching her teeth when saying her dialogues. Interestingly, what were defects at first are today the hallmarks of a performance that has completed six decades on the screen, a career that has diversified as a director and producer and has earned him five Oscars, among many awards.

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The actor’s personal life has been the talk of gossip magazines for years: extramarital children, infidelities, scandals and machismo. “Clint had a trophy collector’s philosophy when it came to women,” Patrick McGilligan recounts in the biography he wrote in the 1990s about the turbulent daily life of Eastwood.
Of his eight children – at least the recognized ones – Kyle is a famous jazz bassist and the others pursued film-related careers, with actor Scott Eastwood being the most recognized.

Clint Eastwood was mayor of Carmel, California, between 1986 and 1988; his puritanical thinking and his sympathy for republican ideas have brought him much criticism, as much as his fondness for weapons and the laws that favor their unlimited possession and use. He is a long-standing grump who gives few interviews, hates being celebrated on his birthdays, and is famous for not ending his romantic or professional relationships well.

The veteran actor has returned to direct and act. Cry Macho is the title of the film that premieres tomorrow and brings him in one of the memorable characters of his career, as a cowboy.

“Mike Milo is a guy who has done a lot of rodeo and ranch work over the years, but he’s not doing any of that right now. His old boss is a wealthy rancher and she wants to send him on a mission to Mexico to get his son back. Mike knows there are a lot of other guys who could do it and he doesn’t want to go, but things have gone wrong for him and he has no choice. Cry Macho narrates his adventures to bring back the boy. It is the story of a second chance”, explains the actor.

In the film there is no tone of revenge or ambition, those elements that characterized his roles in the most classic westerns. Here is a man whose life has been turned upside down, who has lost his family and whose glory days on the back of a wild horse are in the past. Old Mike weighs the years. And although the same could happen to old Clint at 91, his deep wrinkles, slow step and completely white hair contrast with the vitality that he transmits in the story that he also directs.

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Gone is the Man with no name, that character with whom Eastwood It was popularized in the famous trilogy by Sergio Leone –the father of the spaghetti western, as the subgenre of 1960s Western cinema made on a small budget became known–: For a Fistful of Dollars (1964), Death Had a Price (1965 ) and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966). Quiet, cold, driven by money and with an unknown past, the Man with No Name took root in the hearts of cowboy lovers who had forged legends such as John Wayne, Henry Fonda or Gary Cooper.

The first recognized role of Clint Eastwood it was, precisely, that of a rather sweet, naive and lovesick cowboy in the television series Rawhide, in 1958. He did not like it. He was 28 years old and had just faced the terrible comments of his debut on the screen, but the program achieved an unexpected success. Later, his path crossed that of Sergio Leone.

In ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’, by Sergio Leone.

“I got tired of playing a good guy, the hero who kisses old ladies, dogs and is kind to everyone,” said the actor about the TV series Rawhide. I decided it was time to be an antihero.” The angelic figure of him with his hat became that of a thug who smiles lopsidedly with a cigarette between his lips and was the one that outlined what would be his next great role: Dirty Harry, a master of kicking butts.

In the words of the writer Eric Lichtenfeld –a renowned author of analysis of Hollywood and its stereotypes–, “Harry Callahan was the first true archetype of action cinema”. In 1971, the San Francisco police detective who used unorthodox methods to hunt down a killer became the highest-grossing film of the year and the space where Clint Eastwood first directed a sequence.

Musician and director

In his career, Eastwood has combined different big-screen jobs: starring in and directing his films –The Unforgivable (1992), The Bridges of Madison County (1995), Play Misty for Me (1971), Gran Torino (2008)–; acting under orders from other filmmakers – Dirty Harry (1971), the Sergio Leone trilogy (1964 to 1966), The Legend of the Nameless City (1969), Escape from Alcatraz (1979), In the Line of Fire (1993 )–, or directing without acting –Mystic River (2003), Letters from Iwo Jima and The Flags of Our Fathers (2006), Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997), Sully (2016), Changeling (2008), Undefeated (2009)–. Since 1967 he has had his own production company –Malpaso Producciones– and every time he finishes a shoot, he includes a car in his contract as part of his salary.

As Detective Harry Callahan in ‘Dirty Harry’ (1971).

This man of cinema was a gocetas in his youth. The son of a metallurgical company employee and an important assistant at IBM, he is the eldest of two siblings (Jeanne is four years younger) and had a wealthy childhood and youth in Piedmont, California. He was expelled from an important school for his rebellion – he destroyed the grass with the bicycle that he refused to leave in the entrance – and ended up graduating from a technical institute. “I think what happened is that he started going out and having a good time,” says his friend Fritz Manes.

I got tired of playing a good guy, the hero who kisses old ladies, dogs and is kind to everyone. I decided it was time to be an antihero.

He was a lax student: he had to repeat several years due to poor grades, but when he finished high school he tried to study music, which he was passionate about. But the United States Army recruited him. Several scars remained from that time after surviving a plane crash – he and the pilot swam more than 3 kilometers after the aircraft ran out of fuel and fell into the sea – and an overflowing patriotic devotion that he has reflected without shame in his movies, sometimes generating more hatred than love.

Before becoming an actor, the young clint he delivered newspapers, put out forest fires, was a swimming instructor, helped customers at a department store, and loaded clubs for several golfers. Becoming a professional musician was a pipe dream for him, although he taught himself to play the piano and fell in love with jazz, a genre in which he has composed several songs.

‘Million Dollar Baby’, with Hilary Swank, gave Clint Eastwood his second Oscar as director and producer.

worthy of Oscar honorary Irving G. Thalberg for life and work, in 1995, and four more statuettes –as producer and director of Million Dollar Baby (2004) and The Unforgivable (1993)–, the career of Clinton Eastwood Jr. (born 31 May 1930) has been both admired and attacked, especially for a limited range of performance.

“He has sought to work with directors who have not pushed him to the limit. As a filmmaker he is extremely competent and has vision. However, he has never written anything and shoots with what falls into his hands, he never revises a script, ”adds McGilligan in his biography.

There are not many, but there are some interviews of clint about your work. “I like first takes because you can never quite match the surprise of hearing dialogue for the first time,” she said at a media briefing at the Cannes Film Festival, the furthest place she travels for promotion. Some of my teachers, like Don Siegel (who directed it in several Dirty Harry movies) did it that way. That’s why I don’t like rehearsals either, because if you repeat too many, the dialogues become monotonous. ‘Analysis leads to paralysis,’ said Don. He was very efficient. I learned a lot from him.”

Clint Eastwood is a man of contrasts and difficult to decipher: the same womanizer and macho was the one who vindicated a boxing champion in his movie Million Dollar Baby –written by the brilliant screenwriter and director Paul Haggis– or the one who has been able to defend the use of weapons in the streets exposes the terrible impact of violence through one of his fictional dialogues. The truth is that he is already a god of Olympus in Hollywood and his films are inscribed in the history of the most powerful industry in the world.

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The turbulent life of Clint Eastwood: machismo and scandals

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