Big Hollywood » Blog Archive » Happy Birthday: Clint Eastwood Turns 80 Today
In honor of Clint’s 80th birthday, TCM is airing a 24 hour birthday tribute today. You can see the schedule of films here. This includes a new documentary, “The Eastwood Factor,” by critic and documentary filmmaker Richard Schickel, who wrote an excellent biography of the screen icon in 1996.
Still a force behind the camera and a powerful, virile and bankable presence on screen, Eastwood’s a truly remarkable man in every sense of the word with one of the most interesting and diverse careers in the history of the medium. How many actor/directors move so effortlessly between pure popcorn entertainment like “Space Cowboys” and “The Gauntlet” to ”Bird” and “A Perfect World?”
Here’s a snippet from a TCM tribute. Be sure to read the whole thing and leave your birthday wishes for Clint in the comments:
1971 was a watershed year in Clint’s career in many respects. First, he made the film that he has long considered his personal favorite, Siegel’s unusual Gothic drama, set during the Civil War – The Beguiled (1971). Next, he got his distinguished directing career underway, and also played the lead role of a stalked disc jockey, in Play Misty For Me (1971). Finally, he put in his debut appearance as the Magnum-wielding maverick police lieutenant Harry Callahan in Siegel’s Dirty Harry (1971). The film made him a fixture in the crime action genre and paved the way for four more Callahan shoot-’em-ups (Magnum Force (1973); The Enforcer (1976); Sudden Impact (1983); The Dead Pool (1988)).
Eastwood’s touch continued to prove golden through the ’70s, whether he turned his attention to Westerns (The Outlaw Josey Wales(1976)), action/comedy (Every Which Way But Loose (1978)), or thriller (Escape From Alcatraz (1979)). By the mid-’80s, his marriage to Maggie had ended, and the environmentally conscious star was devoting attention to responsibilities like his two-year stint as mayor of Carmel, California. As the ’80s wound down, the director Eastwood continued to receive critical praise for personal projects such as Bird (1988) and White Hunter, Black Heart (1990), but his familiar star vehicles became less and less of a guaranteed draw.
The rumors of his professional demise were quickly squelched by the success of his revisionist western Unforgiven (1992), which landed Oscars® for Best Picture and Best Director.