5/31/1930 (88 years old) San Francisco, California, United States
Academy Award-winning producer/director. Oscar-nominated actor. Movie composer. Elected politician. Father of seven. After starting out as an uncredited bit player in '50s B-movies (Revenge of the Creature, Tarantula), the multitasking entertainment icon first came to fame in small-screen Westerns, notably Rawhide as the well-named trail boss Rowdy Yates. During his tenure on the series, he starred in A Fistful of Dollars, the first of a trilogy of '60s spaghetti Westerns directed by Italian auteur Sergio Leone. As the quiet but deadly Man with No Name in the aforementioned Dollars, For a Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Eastwood found international fame. Clad in a black hat and ragged poncho, and locked in a frozen grimace, he was the ideal antihero for a tumultuous era. He continued to favor the genre stateside, appearing in a string of Westerns, including Coogan's Bluff, directed by frequent collaborator Don Siegel. 1971 was a career-changing year for Eastwood. He made his feature-film directorial debut with Play Misty for Me, a taut thriller starring Eastwood as a deejay stalked by a fan. In addition, he created his second seminal role, the title character in Siegel's Dirty Harry, a renegade San Francisco cop out to stop a serial killer and any other criminals unlucky enough to cross his path. During the '70s and '80s, Eastwood played Dirty Harry three more times and continued to headline Westerns, many of which he directed (High Plains Drifter; The Outlaw Josey Wales, opposite longtime love Sondra Locke). He even added comedies to his résumé (Every Which Way But Loose, costarring Locke and an orangutan) proving that his popularity crossed all genres. In the '80s, Eastwood kept up his breakneck pace, adding politics to his list of accomplishments when he was elected mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. In 1988, Eastwood bid adieu to Dirty Harry in the franchise's final installment The Dead Pool. That same year Eastwood was nominated for a Golden Palm at the Cannes Film Festival for helming Bird, the harrowing biopic of jazz great/heroin addict Charlie Parker. Although Eastwood continued to star in a number of films, the actor became increasingly recognizable for his talents behind the camera. At age 62, he earned his first-ever Oscar nominations, as the producer, director and star of the bleak 1992 revisionist Western Unforgiven (opposite then-girlfriend Frances Fisher), and took home statuettes for best director and best film. Eleven years later, after a string of commercially successful movies, including the romance The Bridges of Madison County and the actioner In the Line of Fire, Eastwood garnered two more Academy Award nods as director and producer of the bloody 2003 morality tale Mystic River. The next year, at age 74, the septuagenarian became the oldest Best Director Oscar winner for Million Dollar Baby. Following his Oscar win, Eastwood directed and/or starred in a number of successful films, including Gran Torino (2008) and Invictus (2010).