May 27, 2020 | Scott Mazza

42 Sharp Shooting Facts About Clint Eastwood

Though he’s famous for playing The Man with No Name in a string of Westerns, Clint Eastwood has certainly made a name for himself in his decades-spanning career as an acclaimed actor and Academy Award Wining director. While maintaining an illustrious reputation in Hollywood, Eastwood has also kept up a classic man’s man persona that is rarely seen on film anymore. Want some of that old feeling back? Well then, read these 42 sharp shooting facts about Clint Eastwood.

Clint Eastwood Facts

42. Big Brother

Born to Clinton Eastwood Sr. and Ruth Wood in San Francisco, California, Clint Eastwood has one younger sister, Jeanne Bernhardt.

Clint Eastwood FactsShutterstock

41. Samson

His nickname in the hospital was “Samson” because he weighed a whopping 11 pounds, 6 ounces.

Clint Eastwood FactsShutterstock

40. Deep Roots

Eastwood is descended from William Bradford, an illustrious Mayflower passenger and the eventual Plymouth colony governor.

The Pilgrims factsShutterstock

39. Nope

When he was growing up, Eastwood’s family lived in a nice area, had a swimming pool, and belonged to a country club in Piedmont, California. Eastwood was all set to attend the prestigious Piedmont High School, but after he rode his bike through the school’s sports field and destroyed the turf, the school politely requested he not enrol, which is rich-people speak for “hell no you’re not getting in.”

The Early Internet FactsShutterstock


38. The Opposite of Skipping a Grade

Turned away from Piedmont High, Eastwood attended Oakland Technical High School instead, but didn’t fare much better. He was held back due to shoddy academics, and although he was pretty much set to graduate in January 1949, there are conflicting reports as to whether or not he actually did.

Clint Eastwood FactsWikimedia Commons

37. Degree in Airplanes

As one former classmate put it, “Clint graduated from the airplane shop. I think that was his major.” According to other classmates and friends, Eastwood began having so much fun outside of school, he likely didn’t graduate. 

Madonna FactsShutterstock

36. Handyman

Eastwood worked variously as a lumberjack, a forest firefighter, and a steelworker in states like Oregon and Texas after finishing high school (one way or another).

Clint Eastwood FactsFlickr

35. Do You Feel a Draft?

Eastwood claims he attempted to enrol in Seattle University, but was stopped from the process because he was drafted into the United States Army for the Korean War.

Clint Eastwood FactsShutterstock

34. Serving His Country

When he was drafted during the Korean war, he was sent to Fort Ord in California for basic training. However, he never saw fighting, and actually spent his time as a swimming instructor and as a bouncer for a club.

Clint Eastwood FactsWikimedia Commons


Sign up to our newsletter.

History’s most fascinating stories and darkest secrets, delivered to your inbox daily. Making distraction rewarding since 2017.

Thank you!
Error, please try again.

33. Leaving on a Jet Plane

Eastwood’s films are often about heroic survival in the face of incredible odds, and he doesn’t just talk the talk: Eastwood himself has been in some near death experiences. When coming back to Fort Ord from Seattle, Eastwood hitched a ride on a Douglas AD Bomber, an old plane from World War II. That plan? Not the best one. As Eastwood recalled, “Everything went wrong. Radios went out. Oxygen ran out. And finally we ran out of fuel up around Point Reyes, California, and went in the ocean. So we went swimming. It was late October, November. Very cold water. [I] found out many years later that it was a white shark breeding ground, but I’m glad I didn’t know that at the time or I’d have just died.” He and the pilot had to swim 3.2 km (2 mi) to reach safety.

Clint Eastwood FactsFlickr


32. Amateur Hour

Eastwood got his big break when he met Chuck Hill at Fort Ord; Hill had contacts in Hollywood, and eventually brought Eastwood to Universal Studios. The studio was appropriately impressed with the gunslinger’s 6’4” frame, but was less than enthused about his acting ability. One exec remarked, “He was quite amateurish. He didn't know which way to turn or which way to go or do anything.”

Clint Eastwood FactsPxfuel

31. Pocket Change

When the studio first signed Eastwood in April 1954, he made $100 per week.

Moment That Killed Their Relationship FactsPixabay

30. Trademark

When Eastwood started working for them, Universal hated his stiff acting and his habit of talking through his teeth when he said his lines—even though this became something like his trademark.

Clint Eastwood FactsWikipedia

29. Held Back Again

These dissatisfactions with Eastwood’s acting lasted quite a while: in 1959, he and Burt Reynolds, who was also contracted with Universal, were both fired from the studio. Eastwood, according to Reynolds, “was fired because his Adam's apple stuck out too far. He talked too slow. And he had a chipped tooth and he wouldn't get it fixed.” Reynolds, for his part, was fired because he couldn’t act. Still, he took it in stride and instead told Eastwood, “You know, you are really screwed, because I can learn how to act. You can't get rid of that Adam's apple." Reynolds then joked, “And it's held him back. It's held him back.”

Clint Eastwood FactsCity Heat,Malpaso Productions

28. Low Point

While struggling to make it as an actor, Eastwood made what he considers to be the worst film in his career: the 1958 Western Ambush at Cimarron Pass.

Clint Eastwood FactsAmbush at Cimarron Pass, ‎Regal Films Inc

27. Getting Rowdy

Though it’s now no longer near the high point of his career, he finally got his big break starring in the hit TV Western series Rawhide from 1959-1965, which took only three weeks to become one of the top 20 TV shows airing at the time. Eastwood played the young, coltish good guy Rowdy, a role he was never very comfortable portraying.

Clint Eastwood FactsRawhide,CBS Productions


26. Anti-Hero

In 1963, Eastwood got a call to be a part a Western called A Fistful of Dollars, directed by a then-unknown Sergio Leone. The film would be the first in what is now called "the Dollars trilogy," the third of which, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, is one of the most iconic Westerns of all time. But at the time he was hired for A Fistful of Dollars, Eastwood just wanted to escape his Rawhide image. As he later said, “In Rawhide I did get awfully tired of playing the conventional white hat. The hero who kisses old ladies and dogs and was kind to everybody. I decided it was time to be an anti-hero."

Clint Eastwood FactsThe Good, the Bad and the Ugly,Produzioni Europee Associati

25. Yojim-who? I Don’t Know Him

A Fistful of Dollars is an unofficial remake of the legendary Akira Kurosawa’s samurai film Yojimbo, and Yojimbo’s production company actually successfully sued Leone’s production.

Montgomery Clift factsShutterstock


24. Bringing It All Back Home

To be fair to Leone, Yojimbo itself is widely considered to be an adaptation of renowned mystery author Dashiell Hammet’s 1929 novel Red Harvest, and as Leone claimed, “Kurosawa's Yojimbo was inspired by an American novel of the série noire so I was really taking the story back home again.”

Clint Eastwood FactsFlickr,DRUMMKOPF

23. What an Honor

France is pretty into Eastwood, and films of his that have flopped in America have had a second life across the pond. In 2007, France even awarded him a Legion of Honor medal, the highest French order of merit; it was established in 1802 by none other than Napoleon Bonaparte.

Laurence Olivier factsShutterstock


22. Just Say No

Though Eastwood’s Man with No Name is continually smoking cigarillos—and looks damn good doing so—Eastwood actually doesn’t smoke, and hated the cigarettes while filming the Dollars trilogy because they nauseated him. On the set of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, he used to tell the director Sergio Leone, who liked shooting multiple takes, “You’d better get it this time, because I’m going to throw up.”

FotoJetWikimedia Commons

21. Back to the Future

Although The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is the third film in the trilogy, it’s actually a prequel: we see the Man with No Name come into possession of his famous poncho in the film.

Clint Eastwood FactsFlickr


20. Smells Like Cigarillos

Eastwood never washed that iconic poncho; as he explains, “If you washed it, it would fall apart." He even still owns it.

Clint Eastwood FactsA Fistful of Dollars,Constantin Film

19. Gun Ban

One of Eastwood’s other quintessential roles, as detective Harry Callahan in 1971’s Dirty Harry, came about because Frank Sinatra, the studio's first choice, had a strange problem: he said he had a "hand issue" and couldn’t hold a gun, which, if you’ve seen the film, is kind of a big deal. As Eastwood said, “That sounded like a pretty lame excuse,” but he was more than happy to fill in.

Lupe Vélez FactsShutterstock

18. True Crime Inspiration

Dirty Harry’s villain, Scorpio, was modelled after the Zodiac Killer, who had just wreaked havoc in the Bay Area, where the film is also set.

Unsolved Mysteries FactsAwakening the Zodiac, Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions

17. Dirty Inspiration

Dirty Harry inspired a copycat crime: In the film, Scorpio kidnaps a girl, buries her alive, and demands ransom money from the police. In 2009, it came out that a 1981 abduction of a young girl happened because the kidnapping couple got the idea after watching Dirty Harry.

Dirty HarryDirty Harry,‎The Malpaso Company

16. Too Manly for Me

Although Sinatra dropped out of the film, several high profile names also passed on Dirty Harry. Even The Duke himself, John Wayne, felt that the character was too violent, and Steve McQueen was sick of doing cop movies after filming Bullitt.

Merle Oberon FactsFlickr

15. Neither Shaken Nor Stirred

Eastwood himself has turned down some truly gargantuan roles throughout his lengthy career: he nixed paying James Bond after Sean Connery left the post, and he rejected the offer to play Superman himself, citing that it just wasn’t for him.

Superman factsFlickr, Gareth Simpson

14. It’s a Jungle out There

Other role refusals had more concrete reasons: Eastwood disappointed Francis Ford Coppola when he turned down playing Martin Sheen’s character in Apocalypse Now because he didn’t really feel like spending 16 weeks in the jungle shooting. Can’t blame him for that one.

Star Wars FactsApocalypse Now,United Artists

13. I Scream, You Scream

Eastwood has gone above and beyond his civic duty many times, but perhaps the epitome of this was his tenure as the mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea in California from 1986 to 1988. Annoyed that his plans for a building weren’t approved by the municipality, he ran for mayor and won 72.5% of the vote. One of his landmark decisions was to remove the ban on selling and eating ice cream on the streets of Carmel. Another one for the white hats.

Clint Eastwood FactsShutterstock

12. We’ll Do It Live

Perhaps going back to his days smoking gross cigarette after gross cigarette while Sergio Leone shot take after take, Eastwood tends to be a one-shot director. In fact, every aspect of his directing style is, well, direct: He eschews storyboarding, rehearsing, and tweaking scripts after they’re done. Once, when Matt Damon asked for another take, Eastwood sniped back, “Why? So you can waste everybody’s time?”

Jerry Lewis FactsShutterstock

11. Getting Lucky

Eastwood’s famous line in Dirty Harry is one of the most misquoted in film history, up there with “Luke, I am your father.” Harry doesn’t say, “Do you feel lucky, punk?” while he looks down at the suspect through the barrel of the gun. He says, “You’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?' Well, do you, punk?” Not as quotable, though.

Clint Eastwood FactsDirty Harry,‎The Malpaso Company

10. Dedication

Scripts existed for Unforgiven, the 1992 Western Eastwood both directed and starred in, as early as 1976, but Eastwood sat on the script for almost 20 years because he wanted to be old enough to play the lead role and have the film be the last of his Westerns.

Peter Dinklage factsShutterstock

9. Not Bad for His Age

When Million Dollar Baby won the Best Picture Oscar in 2004, Eastwood, then 74, became the oldest of the only 18 directors to have directed two or more Best Picture winters.

Alfred Hitchcock factsLibreShot

8. Empty Seat

In August 2012, Eastwood gave a now rather infamous speech at the Republic National Convention. As a part of the talk, Eastwood spoke to an empty chair that was said to represent President Barack Obama.

Nurses Ghost Stories FactsPixabay

7. Off on the Right Foot

Eastwood’s production company, Malpaso, comes from his agent’s (not great) advice to him that doing the Dollars trilogy was a “bad step,” which is a phrase that translates to “Malpaso” in Spanish.

Clint Eastwood FactsWikimedia Commons

6. Wallflower

Although Eastwood often appears in the films he directs, including Million Dollar Baby, Gran Torino, and Unforgiven, he has also directed films in which he does not appear, like American SniperMystic River, and Letters from Iwo Jima.

Clint Eastwood FactsAmerican Sniper, ‎Warner Bros.


5. “At Least”

Eastwood himself has been rather unforthcoming about the amount of children he has. When asked on 60 Minutes in 1997 about the official number, he only replied, “I have a few.” Later, in 2009, David Letterman asked, “You have seven, seven children?” Eastwood’s reply? “At least.”

Clint Eastwood FactsShutterstock

4. What’s Behind Door Number 2?

When he signed on to be in A Fistful of Dollars, in addition to his $15,000 salary, Eastwood was also given a Mercedes.

Left Life Behind factsPixabay

3. Taking the Reins

His directorial debut was in the psychological thriller Play Misty For Me in 1971.

Clint Eastwood FactsPlay Misty For Me,The Malpaso Company


2. Sowing Wild Oats

There is no definitive tally of the amount of children Eastwood has fathered, and his first confirmed child, Kimber Eastwood, was actually kept a secret from the public at large for over two decades, until the National Enquirer ran an exposé on her existence in 1989 (she was born in 1964). At the time of her birth, Eastwood was married to a woman who was not Kimber’s mother.

Clint Eastwood FactsGetty Images

1. Blondie

Not much is known about the Man with No Name, the character Eastwood plays throughout the Dollars trilogy. He wears an iconic poncho, smokes a lot, and rarely speaks. He was never given an official name in the films (hence the moniker), but goes by “Joe,” “Manco” and “Blondie” at various points. He goes by "Blondie" because of his hair, and "Manco" because, except for shooting, he does everything with his left hand; "Manco" is Spanish for "one-armed."

Clint Eastwood FactsA Fistful of Dollars,Constantin Film

Sources1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

More from Factinate

Featured Article

My mom never told me how her best friend died. Years later, I was using her phone when I made an utterly chilling discovery.

Dark Family Secrets

Dark Family Secrets Exposed

Nothing stays hidden forever—and these dark family secrets are proof that when the truth comes out, it can range from devastating to utterly chilling.
April 8, 2020 Samantha Henman

Featured Article

Madame de Pompadour was the alluring chief mistress of King Louis XV, but few people know her dark history—or the chilling secret shared by her and Louis.

Madame de Pompadour Facts

Entrancing Facts About Madame de Pompadour, France's Most Powerful Mistress

Madame de Pompadour was the alluring chief mistress of King Louis XV, but few people know her dark history—or the chilling secret shared by her and Louis.
December 7, 2018 Kyle Climans

More from Factinate

Featured Article

I tried to get my ex-wife served with divorce papers. I knew that she was going to take it badly, but I had no idea about the insane lengths she would go to just to get revenge and mess with my life.

These People Got Genius Revenges

When someone really pushes our buttons, we'd like to think that we'd hold our head high and turn the other cheek, but revenge is so, so sweet.
April 22, 2020 Scott Mazza

Featured Article

Catherine of Aragon is now infamous as King Henry VIII’s rejected queen—but few people know her even darker history.

Catherine of Aragon Facts

Tragic Facts About Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII’s First Wife

Catherine of Aragon is now infamous as King Henry VIII’s rejected queen—but very few people know her even darker history.
June 7, 2018 Christine Tran

Dear reader,

Want to tell us to write facts on a topic? We’re always looking for your input! Please reach out to us to let us know what you’re interested in reading. Your suggestions can be as general or specific as you like, from “Life” to “Compact Cars and Trucks” to “A Subspecies of Capybara Called Hydrochoerus Isthmius.” We’ll get our writers on it because we want to create articles on the topics you’re interested in. Please submit feedback to Thanks for your time!

Do you question the accuracy of a fact you just read? At Factinate, we’re dedicated to getting things right. Our credibility is the turbo-charged engine of our success. We want our readers to trust us. Our editors are instructed to fact check thoroughly, including finding at least three references for each fact. However, despite our best efforts, we sometimes miss the mark. When we do, we depend on our loyal, helpful readers to point out how we can do better. Please let us know if a fact we’ve published is inaccurate (or even if you just suspect it’s inaccurate) by reaching out to us at Thanks for your help!

Warmest regards,

The Factinate team

Want to learn something new every day?

Join thousands of others and start your morning with our Fact Of The Day newsletter.

Thank you!

Error, please try again.