Clint Eastwood: Here’s How the Cowboy Icon Landed His First Role in a Western

by Will Shepard
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Arguably one of the best actors to ever grace Western cinema, Clint Eastwood is an icon. His work in Westerns over his career has been outstanding. But, how did he get his start in that particular part of the industry?

It is fascinating how Clint Eastwood landed his first role in a Western. However, the first Western that the legendary actor was in was an uncredited role in a little-known movie. He played a ranch hand in the 1955 movie called Law Man, which is also known as Star in the Dust.

While the role was small, it got Clint Eastwood excited about the prospects of acting in Westerns. As everyone knows today, it seems that he was destined to play a cowboy in his career. As a tough-looking, tall, handsome man, he fits the role exceedingly well.

Clint Eastwood Got His First Role in a Western Almost By Accident

According to IMDb, Eastwood got into Western movies because he looks the part. Reportedly, he was visiting a friend at the CBS studio when an executive spotted him. During the exchange, Eastwood was told that he “looked like a cowboy.”

Even though this is absolutely true and fits the role to a tee, it is impressive that’s how he landed a role. The first credited movie that he was in because of this exchange was a 1959 Western television show called Rawhide.

Clint Eastwood was cast as Rowdy Yates in the show. Rawhide ran from 1959 to 1965, and Clint Eastwood was in the show for its entirety. In fact, he had the most episodes of anyone in the show. This is somewhat surprising, considering his extensive cinema work outside the show.

Rawhide essentially launched his Western movie career. The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly was filmed in 1966, certainly a direct result of his work on the television show.

So, it is safe to say that the CBS executive who pegged him as a man fit for Western’s was definitely correct. You can thank that man for the wonderful work that Clint Eastwood has done ever since.

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