One of the most revealing biographies of a Hollywood film star in recent times, this book discloses the truth about Clint Eastwood and dispels the carefully preserved mysteries of his past. For nearly 30 years, Clint has topped the box-office again and again.
Like so many of the characters he plays, typified perhaps by The Man With No Name, Clint Eastwood is secretive about himself, his past and his private life. Now approaching 70, he has tended to play characters who are cold, hard and morally ambiguous: from Sergio Leone’s ‘spaghetti westerns’ (A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More and The Good, The Bad and The Ugly) through Hang Em High and Dirty Harry to Pale Rider and Unforgiven. Alternately stroking and intimidating the press, Clint Eastwood has always been an arch manipulator: of women (he is a notorious philanderer and has at least 5 children out of wedlock), friends and colleagues, publicity and finance. Yet, in a violent, sometimes bewildering age, perhaps no star is more the hero to his audience: a symbol of simple solutions, law and order, ‘de-fashioned’ values, and no-bullshit rebellion against bureaucracy.
This is a serious and thoughtful biography that gives Clint his due as actor, director – and human being.
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In the opening lines of this authoritative debunking of a Hollywood legend, Patrick McGilligan explains that Clint Eastwood is "not so much secretive, more selective" when it comes to revealing details about his past. During the four years he spent researching and writing Clint, the author discovered that almost every major event in the actor's life had been misrepresented at one time or another. Faced with the results of McGilligan's investigations, the reader can only conclude that "selective" is a rather generous appraisal of Clint's self-mythologising.
The book opens long before the birth of its subject: starting with the earliest Eastwoods to settle in America, McGilligan traces a solidly bourgeois lineage for the star, deflating Clint's oft-repeated claim that he had a tough, working class upbringing. In the ensuing chapters, the author meticulously details Eastwood's career and personal life, delving beneath the public image of the star to reveal an unpleasant man obsessed with amassing power and chasing women.
Whilst this kind of revelatory biography can often leave a bad taste in the mouth, in this case the author is no muck-raking hack, but a well respected film biographer and historian who happened to discover that "I was struck by how many people I encountered who really hated Clint and made no bones about it". The result of McGilligan's combination of scholarship and curiosity is a book which will enthrall and shock Eastwood's fans in equal measure. --John OatesFrom the Back Cover:
In one of the most revealing and impecably researched biographies of a Hollywood movie star in recent times, Patrick McGilligan discloses the truth about Clint Eastwood and dispels the carefully preserved mysteries of his past.
Like The Man With No Name, one of his most famous roles, Clint Eastwood has about him the aura of a mysterious past. Billed by 'Life' magazine in 1971 as “the world’s most famous movie star”, he recently joined a select company of Oscar-winning actor-directors – including Orson Welles, Charlie Chaplin and Woody Allen.
But the real Clint, previously only imperfectly glimpsed, has never been so honestly revealed as in this gripping and scrupulously researched biography by one of America’s top film writers. “Clint’s great strength as an actor may be his mysterious cool,” Patrick McGilligan writes. “But his flaw has always been the reverse: his inability or unwillingness to open a window on to his soul.”
Following a seven-year spell as Rowdy in the television Western series 'Rawhide', Clint made his name as Hollywood’s only post-1960s cowboy star when Sergio Leone put a cigar into the actor’s non-smoking mouth and directed him in the famous “spaghetti” Westerns 'A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More' and 'The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.' Leone commented that he needed a mask more than an actor. Subsequently Clint tended to play characters who are cold, hard and morally ambiguous – from 'Hang ‘Em High' and 'Dirty Harry' to 'The Outlaw Josey Wales' and 'Unforgiven'.
In spending four years researching the actor’s life and career, poring through court documents, studio archives and unpublished manuscripts, interviewing friends, family and associates, many of whom have never before dared to cooperate with a writer unauthorised by Clint, Patrick McGilligan has produced an investigative 'tour de force'. He traces the many ways in which unpleasant details of Clint’s life have been airbrushed by publicity and the press, goes behind the scenes of all his films, describes his strengths and weaknesses as actor, director and producer, and examines his many roving relationships with women (he has fathered at least five children out of wedlock). The result is a candid portrayal that rewrites Clint’s place in film history.
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