Clint Eastwood celebrated his 93rd birthday in May 2023, and it feels like the man has been in our lives forever. But believe it or not, there once was a time when Clint Eastwood wasn’t famous. Granted, we’re talking a long time ago now. Like, a really long time ago. Back before he’d sauntered into town in his famous Spaghetti Westerns. Back even before he’d grabbed the public’s attention in the TV show Rawhide. And that got us thinking: what did the young Eastwood do when he was waiting to become a world-famous celebrity? Well, if these rare pictures are anything to go by, he lounged around the pool with his shirt off – and didn’t care who saw him…
Before a star is born
The photographs you’re about to enjoy were taken between 1955 and 1965. They capture the strapping, 6’4 tall Eastwood in the prime of his life between the ages of 25 and 35. This perhaps goes a long way to explaining why he evidently spent so much time without a top on. Wouldn’t you, if you looked this good? But we’re getting off-topic. The real question is: why would Eastwood agree to have these pictures taken in the first place? It’s not like you’d catch modern-day stars such as Timothée Chalamet or Tom Holland willingly posing half-naked in their backyards. But it seems that the 1950s were a very different time.
From the Army to Hollywood
For one thing, no one had heard of Clint Eastwood in 1955. That’s not surprising when you discover that the soon-to-be-world-famous star was drafted into the army in 1950. This was around the time of the Korean War — but Eastwood never saw combat. Instead, he was put to work in Fort Ord, Carmel, as a swimming teacher. The handsome, shirtless Eastwood then caught the attention of a movie crew who’d started filming at Fort Ord. And after he left the army, he set out for Hollywood and began to work on his acting skills. In 1954 he signed a contract with Universal Studios… and that’s where these eye-catching photos come in.
At home with Clint
This was right at the beginning of Eastwood’s career. He got his first acting roles in 1955, sure, but they were for movies with titles such as Revenge of the Creature and Tarantula. And even then the roles were so small that he went uncredited in the final pictures. What he needed was a break. And movie studios at the time had a tried-and-tested way of getting people to pay attention to their up-and-coming stars: snapping pictures of the actors off-duty. It could involve showing them behind the scenes of a particular movie. Or, as in Eastwood’s case, the pics could reveal his life at home.
Man in the magazines
How did this help? Well, there was no internet back in the 1950s, of course, so moviegoers couldn’t see pictures of their favorite stars at the touch of a button. The only way to get celebrity gossip, then, was through fan magazines. The deal worked like this: movie studios bought ads in these magazines, and in return, the mags ran stories on whichever celebrities the studios wanted. So the moviegoers got to see more of their favorite film stars, and the studios got to publicize their pictures and actors.