Clint Eastwood Was Taken Out of Audience to Help Open 1973 Academy Awards to Cover for Charlton Heston

by Madison Miller
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Clint Eastwood is a stand-up guy. That meaning, he’s willing to stand up in front of the most prominent actors and a live camera. He also had to recite non-rehearsed lines.

In 1973, Clint Eastwood was sitting comfortably in the audience of the Academy Awards. At least, he was, until he was swiftly directed to open the Academy Awards in place of Charlton Heston. He ended up arriving late.

“Well, I wasn’t even backstage, I was sitting in the audience. I didn’t have to worry because I didn’t have a thing to do until the very end of the show, which was to present Best Picture. Howard Koch, who’s normally a very cool, collected type of person comes up to me and his hands were going up and down like a Singer sewing machine,” Eastwood said in an interview on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.”

Heston was a no-show for the time being. He was popular for playing Moses in “The Ten Commandments” back in 1956. He was also in “The Greatest Show on Earth,” “Touch of Evil,” “Planet of the Apes,” and “The Omega Man,” amongst others. Heston was late for his opportunity to open the Academy Awards on time.

Biblical References in Script for Clint Eastwood

To make matters more complicated for Clint Eastwood, he had to read off the script that was very Biblical-focused.

“It’s all written with these biblical terms since it’s written for a man who played Moses, which, needless to say, I haven’t done,” Eastwood joked with Carson.

Despite the difficulties, Eastwood stood in front of the crowd and the show went on. He took to making fun of himself and the speech throughout his opening sequence. He was funny enough that Burt Reynolds, as well as others, are seen hysterically laughing in the background.

“This was supposed to be Charlton Heston’s part of the show, but somehow he hasn’t shown up. So who do they pick? They pick the guy who hasn’t said but three lines in 12 movies to substitute for him,” he said during the opening sequence.

At the very end of the speech, Heston shows up to finish in place of Eastwood. Apparently, he was late to the show because he got a flat tire.

In a Reddit thread, someone wrote, “Strange to see Clint Eastwood so flustered.” Someone else responded with, “He’s used to talking to just a chair.” Eastwood often is criticized or poked fun at for his overall stoic and quiet nature, even in his films.

Clint Eastwood eventually started getting more into directing instead. He is known for films like “Unforgiven,” “Million Dollar Baby,” “Cry Macho,” “American Sniper,” “Mystic River,” and “Letters from Iwo Jima.”

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