Do you feel lucky? Well, do ya? If you’re Clint Eastwood, there is plenty to feel lucky about.
As an actor and director, Eastwood has been a presence in American movies for six decades. Eastwood turned 90 on Sunday. Whether he was a lone drifter in spaghetti westerns or rogue cop Harry Callahan, Eastwood has always had a presence.
Eastwood was born May 31, 1930, in San Franciso. He was raised in Oakland, and before becoming an established movie star he played Rowdy Yates in the television western, “Rawhide.”
But it is on the big screen where Eastwood made a sudden impact. According to Rolling Stone, Pauline Kael described Eastwood as “six feet four of lean, tough saint, blue-eyed and shaggy-haired, with a rugged, creased, careworn face that occasionally breaks into a mischief-filled grin."
In keeping with Eastwood’s stoic persona, his birthday celebration was supposed to be low-key.
“We’re just going to do a family thing -- very, very calm, very mellow,” his 34-year-old actor son Scott told “Access Hollywood.” “We’ll sneak a cake in there, definitely. He probably won’t like it.”
Eastwood has won five Academy Awards, with two films that won both Best Picture and Directing -- Unforgiven (1992) and Million Dollar Baby (2004). His fifth Oscar was the Irving Thalberg Memorial Award in 1995.
Here is a look at five of Eastwood’s more memorable films:
“A Fistful of Dollars" (1964): The first of a trio of westerns shot in Italy, Italian director Sergio Leone was persuaded to used Eastwood despite coveting Henry Fonda, James Coburn or Charles Bronson for the role of the Man With No Name. Eastwood is eerily intimidating with his poncho, his intense cigar-chewing and his fast trigger finger. “Fistful” was followed by “For a Few Dollars More” in 1965 and “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” in 1966. The latter movie is considered the best of the trilogy, with Lee Van Cleef cast as the “Bad” and Eli Wallach playing an amoral “Ugly” character. You know who was “Good."
“Dirty Harry” (1971): Eastwood was defined by the macho, .44-magnum toting police inspector in San Francisco. His character was so memorable in this Don Siegel film that Eastwood reprised the Callahan character in four more films -- “Magnum Force (1973), “The Enforcer” (1976), “Sudden Impact” (1983) and :”The Dead Pool" (1988). In “Dirty Harry,” Eastwood hunts down a serial killer named Scorpio, and utters the famous line with a sneer: “You’ve got to ask yourself a question. ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do ya, punk?”
“Play Misty for Me” (1971): This marked Eastwood’s directorial debut, a film in which he plays a disc jockey in Northern California who picks up a woman at a bar (Jessica Walters). She is the same woman who calls the radio station where Eastwood works and requests the Errol Garner song, “Misty.” Far from being a macho character, Eastwood played a victim as the woman’s obsessive behavior nearly turns fatal.
“Every Which Way But Loose” (1978): Rarely did anyone ever make a monkey out of Eastwood, but a beer-swilling orangutan named Clyde did just that in this comedy. Eastwood is able to punch out bad guys and deliver wise-cracking punchlines. “Right turn, Clyde” became a mantra for fans, and the film led to a sequel, 1980′s “Any Which Way You Can.”
“The Mule”(2018): Only Eastwood could look intimidating as an 88-year-old. He plays Earl Stone, an out-of-business horticulturist who agrees to drive a truck to a town near the Mexican border. He later discovers he is hauling narcotics for a Mexican drug cartel. Eastwood plays senior citizens well, as “Gran Torino," “American Sniper” and “Trouble With the Curve” prove. He might be old, but the icy stare remains.
Other movies of note: “The Outlaw Josey Wales,” “Unforgiven,” “Million Dollar Baby,” “The Bridges of Madison County,” and his latest work, “Richard Jewell.”
So, make his day and wish Clint Eastwood a happy birthday.