With a career that spans over six decades, from television, to hit movies, to winning Academy Awards, Clint Eastwood has established himself as one of the greatest and most respected actors and directors Hollywood and the world has ever seen.
The first time he spoke lines to a camera, he blew them. A couple of pictures later he spoke his lines perfectly, but he was buried so deep in a dark scene that he couldn’t be seen. Toward the end of his first year as an actor, he had a nice little scene with a major star on a major production, and he found a good-looking pair of glasses that he thought gave him a bit of character. But Rock Hudson thought the same thing when he saw the kid wearing them, and Clint had to surrender his specs to the leading man.
This was Clint Eastwood’s life as an eager young contract player at Universal circa 1955, and it turned out to be a short one–the studio dropped him after a year and a half. On his own, he did what young actors do: played scenes in acting classes, worked out at the gym, went on auditions, did odd jobs (mostly he dug swimming pools under the hot sun of the San Fernando Valley). Every once in a while he got an acting job–on Highway Patrol, on Death Valley Days. Once a big time show flew him east to work on location on West Point Stories. He got to bully James Garner on an episode of Maverick. A couple of times his heart leapt up: he got good billing in a feature, The First Traveling Saleslady, playing opposite Carol Channing; and he thought for awhile that he had one of the leads in another feature, Lafayette Escadrille. But the first film was a flop, and he had to settle for a much smaller role in the second. When he finally got a decent part in a movie, it was in a B western so bad it almost caused him to quit the business.