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Happy 90th Birthday, Clint Eastwood

To place the career of Clint Eastwood in perspective, consider Clark Gable continuing to star in hit movies for so long that he was in the multiplexes at the same time as Back to the Future. Eastwood has enjoyed starring roles in major hit movies in every decade from the 1960s through the 2010s. No fewer than 25 of his films earned the equivalent (in today’s dollars) of $100 million at the domestic box office, and almost all of them were character-driven stories with nothing much in the way of special effects. And Eastwood was a late bloomer; after an unsatisfying career in low-impact television, Eastwood didn’t become a star until the U.S. release of the Dollars trilogy (made in Europe in 1964-66) in 1967, when he was 36.

As a director Eastwood has been turning in good work for nearly half a century, since his first effort, Play Misty for Me in 1971. Just six months ago, he directed his 38th feature, the superb and surprising drama Richard Jewell, which proved a tough sell to audiences but is well worth your attention. In his eighties he directed eight pictures including the stellar American Sniper. There just isn’t anybody like him in the more than 100-year history of Hollywood.

Eastwood turned 90 on May 31. I can hardly wait to see what he does in the second half of his career.

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