Cover image for Clint : the life and legend
Clint : the life and legend
McGilligan, Patrick.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Press, 2002.

Physical Description:
612 pages, 32 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, portraits ; 24 cm
General Note:
Originally published in Great Britain in 1999.
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN2287.E37 M33 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
PN2287.E37 M33 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
PN2287.E37 M33 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Biography

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Like The Man With No Name, one of his most famous roles, Clint Eastwood has always had an aura of tight-lipped mystery. He has long been an internationally famous star, first of television and then of the movies, and he has more recently joined a select group of Oscar-winning actor-directors, including Orson Welles, Charlie Chaplin and Woody Allen. But the real Clint has always been an enigma-until now. With this gripping and scrupulously researched biography, Patrick McGilligan, one of America's top film writers, has revealed the man behind the indelible image. Throughout his remarkable near-half century career, Eastwood has tended to play characters who are cold, hard and morally ambiguous-from Sergio Leone's "spaghetti westerns" through Hang Em High and Dirty Harry to In the Line of Fire and Unforgiven. No star is more the hero to his audience: a symbol of simple solutions, law & order, and rebellion against bureaucracy. But offscreen, Clint Eastwood has always been an arch manipulator: of women, friends and colleagues, publicity and finance. Always even-handed, managing to steer clear of both fawning over and unfair excoriation of its fascinating subject, this biography sheds definitive light on Clint as actor, director and human being.

Author Notes

Patrick McGilligan is one of America's leading film biographers and historians. He lives in Milwaukee with his wife and three children

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Certain stars encourage our appetite for scandal, but Clint Eastwood is an actor people identify with and want to like. This presents an acute problem for those who read McGilligan's carefully researched and well-written but highly unflattering unauthorized portrait of the icon's life. McGilligan vilifies Eastwood as a womanizer with two priorities: "fast cars and easy women." The author takes potshots at Eastwood's lack of education, suggesting he lied about finishing high school, then slanders his patriotism by speculating that he romanced a general's daughter to escape service in Korea. When a girlfriend became pregnant and had an abortion, Eastwood claims it "crushed his heart," provoking McGilligan to question whether he was simply trying to evoke sympathy for himself. The book is entertaining when it describes Eastwood's early period as a contract player, thrown into such potboilers as Ambush at Cimarron Pass. His TV years in Rawhide are comprehensively covered, as is his association with director Sergio Leone in the series of spaghetti westerns that launched him to superstardom. McGilligan's analysis of Eastwood's moviemaking points out that he "rips the masks off women and they are revealed as murderous harpies" in such films as Play Misty for Me and High Plains Drifter. His much publicized relationship with Sondra Locke spotlights a streak of cruelty, along with competitive behavior toward directors because "Clint hated anybody who was weak." McGilligan's tome is worth reading, however, when it delves into Eastwood's contributions as an artist who has produced a body of work that's won two Oscars and an AFI Lifetime Achievement Award. Illus. not seen by PW. Agent, Gloria Loomis. (Aug. 19) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Film historian McGilligan has written about Cagney, Cukor, and Nicholson, and now he turns his pen to Clint Eastwood, who has scrupulously protected his privacy over his long career. McGilligan has produced a well-researched biography that shatters the aura of mystery around Eastwood. Starting with his subject's first ancestors to arrive in America in the 17th century, McGilligan traces Eastwood's life and career from his birth to his army stint on California's Monterey Peninsula (where he now resides) through the Sandra Locke years to his current status as Hollywood superstar. McGilligan paints a picture that belies Clint's image of the easy-going, taciturn, honorable law-and-order guy. In fact, McGilligan contends that Clint is really a womanizer who is a master of manipulation when it comes to protecting his image, and says he found many friends and associates who would not speak to him for fear of Eastwood's wrath. Until the actor/director writes his autobiography, this will stand as the definitive portrait. Over 30 biographies have been written about Eastwood over as many years, from trivia books to analyses of his films, but none has been as detailed as this work. Highly recommended. Rosellen Brewer, Monterey Cty. Free Libs., Salinas, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrationsp. ix
1 The Tree of Clintp. 1
2 'The Shitty Years'p. 24
3 Clint's Luckp. 57
4 The Rowdy Yearsp. 100
5 The Greening of Clintp. 139
6 Blue-Collar Clintp. 177
7 Clint's Weatherp. 233
8 The Sondra Yearsp. 279
9 The Feminist Clintp. 303
10 The Teflon Clintp. 334
11 Mid-Life Clintp. 361
12 Shades of Clintp. 414
13 Clint's New Clothesp. 462
14 Clint's Worldp. 508
Afterwordp. 542
Acknowledgementsp. 546
Notesp. 550
Televisionp. 573
Filmographyp. 574
Indexp. 605