Clint: The Life and Legend

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9780006383543: Clint: The Life and Legend

One of the most revealing and hard-hitting biographies of a Hollywood film star in recent times, this book discloses the controversial 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 7 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.

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Review:

As celebrity biographer McGilligan tells it in Clint, Eastwood's career is the classic tale of power and fame corrupting: a small-town boy (who actually grew up in San Francisco) comes to L.A. with a wide grin and an easy manner; is remade by agents and directors (Sergio Leone said, that at first, "Eastwood had only two expressions: with or without a hat"); becomes one of the richest stars in Hollywood; and stops smiling--except wolfishly. McGilligan depicts him as a master of betrayal, casually discarded friendships, and alleged extramarital affairs (which seem to shock the author), complete with alleged children out of wedlock.

Readable though kiss-and-tell breathless, McGilligan's book sometimes overlooks Clint's full significance as a crafter of classics. He should remember the sage words of the French critic who observed, "If you love the films, nothing else matters." --Gregory McNamee

About the Author:

Patrick McGilligan's acclaimed biographies include JACK'S LIFE: A BIOGRAPHY OF JACK NICHOLSON, FRITZ LANG: THE NATURE OF THE BEAST (Faber, 1997), GEORGE CUKOR: A DOUBLE LIFE, ROBERT ALTMAN and CAGNEY: THE ACTOR AS AUTEUR. He lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

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