MAKE MY DAY: Clint Eastwood Inspector Harry Callahan in the Dirty Harry movie series. Copyright Warner Bros. Inc. and the Malpaso Company.
MAKE MY DAY: Clint Eastwood Inspector Harry Callahan in the Dirty Harry movie series. Copyright Warner Bros. Inc. and the Malpaso Company.

Dirty Harry role still haunts Eastwood at 87

UP on the podium at this month's Cannes Film Festival, Clint Eastwood spoke of how at the time of its release, the Dirty Harry movie series shook conservatives.

"A lot of people thought it was politically incorrect," he said.

"That was at the beginning of the era that we're in now with political correctness. We are killing ourselves, we've lost our sense of humour. But I thought it was interesting and it was daring."

The actor, director, politician, musician and star of Dirty Harry, who turns 87 today, has lost none of his crusty character throughout his long career in front of and then behind the camera. 

He started in 1959 with the television series Rawhide which ran for eight seasons, through to 1965.

Eastwood then went on to gather a fanatical following for his uncompromising police officer role as Harry Callahan in the Dirty Harry movies.

"I have a very strict gun control policy: if there's a gun around, I want to be in control of it."

He found a change of pace in the 1978 comedy Every Which Way But Loose and its sequel Any Which Way You Can. Other movies in which starred were the brilliant thriller Play Misty for Me, western The Outlaw Josey Wales, the prison drama Escape from Alcatraz, war film Where Eagles Dared and action thriller In the Line of Fire, to name just a few of his long list of movies.

BIRTHDAY MAN: Clint Eastwood as The Man with No Name in A Fistful of Dollars (1964).
BIRTHDAY MAN: Clint Eastwood as The Man with No Name in A Fistful of Dollars (1964).

Eastwood won Academy Awards for Best Director and Best Picture in 1992 (Unforgiven) and 2004 (Million Dollar Baby), been nominated for Best Director and Best Picture in 2003 (Mystic River) and 2006 (Letters from Iwo Jima), nominated for Best Picture in 2014 for American Sniper, and nominated twice for Best Actor.

Clint Eastwood embodies the tough guy. His guttural voice and craggy features ooze strength of character and mind. A wry smile is just another part of this memorable and well-liked actor.

"There's a rebel lying deep in my soul." 

Surprisingly, Eastwood's name hasn't changed since he started his acting career. He was born Clinton Eastwood Jr, and has kept that name throughout his professional life.

He's been married twice, fathered seven children, spent two years as Mayor of Mayor of Carmel, California, directed over 30 movies, acted in many more and still draws respect from his peers.

Eastwood has been behind the camera or off stage since about 2012, but only last week he announced he planned to return to acting, at some time.

In the meantime, he is getting ready to direct the movie, The 15:17 to Paris, which is the true story of three American friends who defeated an attempted terrorist attack on a train bound from Brussels to Paris in 2015.


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