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American Rebel

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American Rebel

The Life of Clint Eastwood
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As an actor, he seduces us with his tough-guy charm. As a director and producer, he amazes us with his artistry and technical savvy. As a Hollywood icon, Clint Eastwood, one of film's greatest living...
As an actor, he seduces us with his tough-guy charm. As a director and producer, he amazes us with his artistry and technical savvy. As a Hollywood icon, Clint Eastwood, one of film's greatest living...
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Description-
  • As an actor, he seduces us with his tough-guy charm. As a director and producer, he amazes us with his artistry and technical savvy. As a Hollywood icon, Clint Eastwood, one of film's greatest living legends, represents some of the finest cinematic achievements in the history of American cinema.

    In American Rebel, bestselling author and acclaimed film historian Marc Eliot examines the ever-exciting, often-tumultuous arc of Clint Eastwood's life and career. Unlike past biographers, Eliot writes with unflinching candor about Eastwood's highs and lows, his artistic successes and failures, and the fascinating, complex relationship between his life and his craft. Eliot's prodigious research reveals how a college dropout and unambitious playboy rose to fame as Hollywood' s "sexy rebel," eventually and against all odds becoming a star in the Academy pantheon as a multiple Oscar winner. Spanning decades, American Rebel covers the best of Eastwood' s oeuvre, films that have fast become American classics--Fistful of Dollars, Dirty Harry, Unforgiven, Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby, and Gran Torino.

    Filled with remarkable insights into Eastwood's personal life and public work, American Rebel is highly entertaining and the most complete biography of one of Hollywood's truly respected and beloved stars--an actor who, despite being the Man with No Name, has left his indelible mark on the world of motion pictures.

    From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpts-
  • Chapter One

    Clinton and Francesca Ruth (sometimes recorded as Margaret Ruth, although she only used Ruth as her given name) were two good-looking California kids who met while attending Piedmont High School in Oakland. They dated each other and married young, before the market crashed and took with it their romantic dream of the good life. Ruth's family was Dutch-Irish and Mormon with a long line of physical laborers, including pickup fighters, lumberjacks, sawmill operators, and an occasional local politician. She graduated from Anna Head School in Berkeley, where she had been transferred to from Piedmont just before her senior year--a move that may have been prompted by her parents' concern over an intense relationship she had begun with her high school sweetheart, Clinton Eastwood. Clinton was a popular, well- liked boy with strong American roots; his ancestors were pre-- Revolutionary War Presbyterian farmers and men who sold goods by traveling from town to town, their carts bearing inventory samples such as women's underwear and soap used to elicit orders from their customers. In the days before mail-order catalogs, most goods were sold this way outside the big American cities.

    Despite Ruth's parents' attempts to put some distance between her and the economically deficient Clinton, upon graduating from high school they were married, on June 5, 1927, in a ceremony held at Piedmont's interdenominational church. Both newlyweds were lucky enough to find enough work to keep them going during the first years of their marriage. Ruth eventually landed a job as an accountant for an insurance company, and Clinton found one as a cashier. When the stock market crashed in October 1929, they clung to these jobs tenaciously.

    Almost three years after their marriage, on May 31, 1930, Clinton Jr. was born. The boy weighed a whopping eleven pounds, six ounces, and was nicknamed "Samson" by all the nurses at San Francisco' s St. Francis Hospital.

    At about this time Clinton Sr. managed to land a job selling stocks and bonds. At a time when stocks and bonds had been rendered all but worthless, Clinton was following the family tradition; he was now a glorified cart-man, weaving from town to town looking for those few elusive customers with enough cash to invest in their own future and therefore in his. That he got by at all was likely due to his natural charm and good looks.

    But even those could only get him so far, and soon Clinton was selling refrigeration products for the East Bay Company, a position whose long-range prospects were little better than those of a seller of stocks and bonds. People had to have enough money to buy food before they could invest in ways to keep it cold. So in 1934, after the birth of their second child, a girl they named Jeanne, Clinton took to a more itinerant life, moving the family by car to wherever he could find pickup work. In a couple of his earliest recollections, Clint later said of those times:

    Well, those were the Thirties and jobs were hard to come by. My parents and my sister and myself just had to move around to get jobs. I remember we moved from Sacramento to Pacific Palisades just [so my father could work] as a gas station attendant. It was the only job open. Everybody was in a trailer, one with a single wheel on one end, and the car, and we were living in a real old place out in the sticks?.?.?.

    My father was big on basic courtesies toward women. The one time I ever got snotty with my mother when he was around, he left me a little battered.

    The attendant job was at a Standard Oil station on Sunset Boulevard and Pacific Coast Highway, near a stretch of Malibu beach that was rapidly becoming the suburb of...

About the Author-
  • MARC ELIOT is the New York Times bestselling author of more than a dozen books on popular culture, among them the highly acclaimed biographies Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart; the award-winning Walt Disney: Hollywood's Dark Prince; Down 42nd Street; what many consider the best book about the sixties, his Phil Ochs biography, Death of a Rebel; Take It from Me (with Erin Brockovich), Down Thunder Road: The Making of Bruce Springsteen; To the Limit: The Untold Story of the Eagles; and Reagan: The Hollywood Years. He has written on the media and pop culture for numerous publications, including Penthouse, L.A. Weekly, and California Magazine. He divides his time among New York City, Woodstock, Los Angeles, and the Far East.

Reviews-
  • Playboy

    "The story of a man who goes from small-time jazz pianist and gas-station attendant to Hollywood leading man reads like a rich movie plotline. All the sex, brawls, and gunslinging are here."

  • Newsweek "A fascinating portrait."
  • New York Times "Eliot' s book is poised to provide something interesting: a fresh look at subject matter well worth dusting off. . . . The genesis of Reagan's later public persona is closely charted here."
  • USA Today Praise for Jimmy Stewart"It was a wonderful--and long--life, and Eliot . . . covers it all."
  • Entertainment Weekly "Elucidates how a skinny guy with zero sex appeal molded himself into an enduring star."
  • Hollywood Reporter "Stewart deserves critical reassessment and a seat closer to the front row of the film pantheon. Eliot makes a solid case for Stewart's merits, and he gives us a decent, eminently likable man."
  • Esquire Praise for Cary Grant"A fascinating and thorough portrait . . . Eliot does a good job of cracking the screen fantasy."
  • People (three stars) "Highly readable . . . Glimpses of the debonair leading man's dark side are the most intriguing elements of this welcome biography."
  • Washington Post "Keeping the actor's astonishing career firmly in view, Eliot assembles a portrait that shows the dark shadows behind the gleaming facade, while also revealing Grant' s own shrewdness in maintaining that fictional persona."
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