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May 31, 2024

20 Vintage Portraits of a Young and Handsome Clint Eastwood From the 1950s

Eastwood was born Clinton Eastwood Jr. on May 31, 1930, to Clinton Sr. and Ruth Eastwood, in San Francisco, California. He has one younger sister, Jeanne. After traveling and looking for work throughout California during the Depression, the family settled in the Bay Area city of Piedmont. Eastwood attended Piedmont High School and then Oakland Technical High School, graduating in 1949.

Eastwood worked odd jobs during and after high school, with stints as a hay baler, logger, truck driver and steel-furnace stoker. In 1950, he was drafted into the U.S. Army and stationed at Fort Ord on the Monterey Peninsula, where he served as a swimming instructor.

After his discharge in 1953, Eastwood wound his way down to Los Angeles, where he took classes at Los Angeles City College and worked at a gas station. Tall and handsome, he landed a screen test with Universal and signed a contract despite minimal acting experience. His first roles were bit parts in films like Revenge of the Creature and Francis in the Navy, both released in 1955.

In 1958, Eastwood scored his big break with a major part in the TV Western Rawhide. Playing Rowdy Yates, second in command to Eric Fleming’s trail boss, Eastwood slid seamlessly into the role of a hotheaded young cowboy. His character matured over the course of the program’s eight seasons, with Yates taking over as trail boss toward the end.

In the 1960s, Eastwood traveled to Italy to star in a trio of Westerns directed by Sergio Leone. The role Eastwood took—the cool, laconic “Man with No Name”—had been turned down by James Coburn and Charles Bronson. The trio of films included 1964’s A Fistful of Dollars (a remake of the Akira Kurosawa classic Yojimbo), For a Few Dollars More (1965) and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966). Nicknamed “spaghetti Westerns” due to their Italian production, these films gained worldwide popularity, and Eastwood became internationally known.

Here, below is a selection of 20 vintage portraits of a young and handsome Clint Eastwood from the 1950s:

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