Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood Director

As one of the most prolific, versatile artists in the history of cinema, Clint Eastwood effortlessly moves from the role of actor to director to producer with the click of a slate. His career spans four decades, during which he's appeared in 55 films (44 in which he starred), directed 23, and produced 18.

However, if he had not been successful in the world of film, it is Eastwood's well-documented assertion that he would have chosen to be a musician. As a young man growing up in Oakland, California, Eastwood performed in small clubs as a pianist. Some of his most inspiring moments of that era came watching jazz greats like Charlie Parker and Thelonious Monk perform live. Years later, his passion would manifest itself in films such as Bird, which included original remixed Parker solos, orchestrated by composer Lennie Niehaus, as well as original copies of Eastwood's own treasured issues of Down Beat magazine.

Music played an intricate role in Eastwood's films as early as Play Misty for Me—Eastwood's directing debut. The romantic song, "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face," was sung by the then-unknown Roberta Flack and selected by Eastwood, as was "Misty," the film's theme song, which was arranged by jazz piano legend Erroll Garner.

All of the five classic Dirty Harry films featured big-city jazz soundtracks, and successful soundtrack albums have been a consistent Eastwood signature in his films—be they jazz-oriented (Bird, The Bridges of Madison County, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, and of course, Clint Eastwood Live At Carnegie Hall) or country (Every Which Way But Loose, Bronco Billy, Any Which Way You Can, and Honkytonk Man). In addition, Eastwood returned to his musical roots by co-writing the key melodies for both Unforgiven ("Claudia's Theme") and The Bridges of Madison County ("Doe Eyes"). In 1989, Eastwood served as the executive producer on the authoritative documentary on piano great Thelonious Monk, Straight, No Chaser.

As one of the film industry's stalwarts, Eastwood has accumulated many accolades over the years, most recently a Kennedy Center Honors Award in December 2000 and a Lifetime Career Achievement Award from New York's National Board of Review in January 2000. He was also nominated for Favorite All-Time Movie Star in 1999 by the People's Choice Awards (which he won as the Favorite Motion Picture Actor in 1981, 1984, 1985, 1987, and 1998). In 1993, Eastwood's foreboding, revisionist western, Unforgiven, earned nine Academy Award nominations (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Production Design, Best Editor and Best Sound) and four Oscars (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor and Best Editor).