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Actor/Director Clint Eastwood Served During Korean War

Nov. 17, 2021 | BY David Vergun , DOD News

Clint Eastwood is known to generations of Americans for the 1959  to 1966 TV series "Rawhide;" and for the so-called spaghetti western movies: "A Fistful of Dollars" (1964); "For a Few Dollars More" (1965); and, "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" (1966).

An actor grins for a photo.
Rawhide
Clint Eastwood, in a 1961 publicity photo for the TV show, "Rawhide."
Photo By: Courtesy CBS Television
VIRIN: 611001-O-D0439-001

After his Western roles, he became famous for his role as a San Francisco Police Department inspector, "Dirty" Harry Callahan, in "Dirty Harry" (1971); "Magnum Force" (1973); "The Enforcer" (1976); "Sudden Impact" (1983); and, "The Dead Pool" (1988).

The acclaimed actor was also in the military.

In 1951 Eastwood was drafted into the Army during the Korean War. He was a swimming instructor at Fort Ord, California.

A soldier poses for a photo.
Soldier Clint
Clint Eastwood in his Army uniform during the Korean War.
Photo By: Army photo
VIRIN: 521001-O-D0439-001A

He was a passenger on a Navy AD-1Q torpedo bomber that developed engine problems and crashed off the California coast near Point Reyes, not far from San Francisco. He and the pilot swam to shore, two miles away, in the frigid water.

That real-life event foreshadowed his movie role as Frank Morris in the 1979 film "Escape from Alcatraz," in which he and two other men escape the penitentiary on Alcatraz Island, swimming away in the frigid water of San Francisco Bay.

Eastwood was honorably discharged from the Army in 1953.

Some Other Eastwood Films

After the spaghetti Westerns, other Western roles he starred in include: "Hang 'Em High" (1968); "Coogan's Bluff" (1968); "Paint Your Wagon" (1969); "Two Mules for Sister Sara" (1970); "Joe Kidd" (1972); "High Plains Drifter" (1973); "The Outlaw Josey Wales" (1976); "Bronco Billy" (1980); "Pale Rider" (1985); and, "Unforgiven" (1992).

An actor plays a cowboy on a movie set
Cowboy Clint
Clint Eastwood, in the 1964 film, "A Fistful of Dollars."
Photo By: Courtesy Clint Eastwood
VIRIN: 641001-O-D0439-001A

He also appeared in war movies, including: "Where Eagles Dare" (1968); Kelly's Heroes" (1970); and, "Heartbreak Ridge" (1986). War movies he directed include: "Flags of Our Fathers" (2006); "Letters from Iwo Jima" (2006); and, "American Sniper" (2014).

Comedy movies he appeared in include: "Thunderbolt and Lightfoot" (1974); "Every Which Way But Loose" (1978); "Any Which Way You Can" (1980); "City Heat" (1984); and, "Pink Cadillac" (1989).

Three friends smile for the camera.
Friendly Trio
Clint Eastwood (right), with Chief Dan George and Sondra Locke in Santa Fe, N.M., in 1976, promoting their film "The Outlaw Josey Wales."
Photo By: Courtesy Clint Eastwood
VIRIN: 761001-O-D0439-001A

Eastwood's dramatic roles include: "The Gauntlet" (1977); "Firefox" (1982); "In the Line of Fire" (1993); "A Perfect World" (1993); and, "The Bridges of Madison County" (1995).

Musical Interests

Before his film career Eastwood was an aspiring musician, preferring it to acting. In 1959, he produced the album "Cowboy Favorites," which include some classics such as Bob Wills' "San Antonio Rose" and Cole Porter's "Don't Fence Me In."

Eastwood composed the film scores of "Mystic River," "Million Dollar Baby," "Flags of Our Fathers," "Grace Is Gone," "Changeling, Hereafter," "J. Edgar," and the original piano compositions for "In the Line of Fire." He wrote and performed the song heard over the credits of "Gran Torino" and also co-wrote "Why Should I Care" with Linda Thompson and Carole Bayer Sager, a song recorded in 1999 by Diana Krall.

Clint Eastwood meets two Marines.
Eastwood Greeting
Marine Corps Maj. Matthew Hilton, director of the Entertainment Media Liaison Office, Communication Directorate, and Marine Corps Master Sgt. Kristin Bagley, Communication Strategy and Operations chief for the Entertainment Media Liaison Office, Communication Directorate, meet and greet Clint Eastwood, following an advanced showing of his new movie at Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton, Calif., Dec. 7, 2019.
Photo By: Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Melissa Ugalde
VIRIN: 191207-M-VR035-1267A

The music in "Grace Is Gone" received two Golden Globe nominations by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for the 65th Golden Globe Awards. Eastwood was nominated for Best Original Score, while the song "Grace is Gone" with music by Eastwood and lyrics by Carole Bayer Sager was nominated for Best Original Song. It won the Satellite Award for Best Song at the 12th Satellite Awards. 

"Changeling" was nominated for Best Score at the 14th Critics' Choice Awards, Best Original Score at the 66th Golden Globe Awards, and Best Music at the 35th Saturn Awards.