‘Rawhide’: How Clint Eastwood’s Career Got Kickstarted by the Iconic Series

by Madison Miller
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Clint Eastwood has become quite the familiar face on the screen. From starring in Western dramas to directing them, his name has become synonymous with the film industry.

However, Clint Eastwood actually got his start in a TV series called “Rawhide.”

The American Western show starred Eric Fleming and Eastwood. It ran from 1959 to 1965. The eight-season show details the struggles of drovers on a cattle drive. The cast faces issues from nearby crooked townspeople and corrupt politicians before eventually saving the day in typical Western fashion.

On the show, Eastwood played cowhand Rowdy Yates. The show is one of the longest-running Western TV series. It has a total of 217 episodes, all in black-and-white.

Clint Eastwood Starts Acting Career

Eastwood had no intentions of becoming an actor, nor did he expect to become as successful as he is today.

His acting career got started partially from chance.

According to Mashable, Eastwood was stationed at California’s Fort Ord while he was in the U.S. Army in 1951. At the same time, Universal Studios was in town filming. Apparently, a casting director was enamored with Eastwood. Mostly by his 6-foot-4 muscular body and strikingly handsome face.

He then had a screen test with film producer and director, Arthur Lubin. The director was a fan of his looks but not really his acting abilities. Lubin got him drama lessons and signed him for his first contract in 1954.

“He was quite amateurish. He didn’t know which way to turn or which way to go or do anything,” Lubin said.

The director had also criticized Eastwood’s stiff mannerisms while acting. The most obvious is the way he would deliver his lines through his teeth. It’s a habit that Eastwood never got rid of, as it’s one of his trademarks.

“At that time I needed a mask rather than an actor, and Eastwood had only two facial expressions: one with the hat and one without it,” Sergio Leone, director of “The Dollars Trilogy” said, according to Mashable. It’s clear that what got Eastwood his acting career wasn’t acting at all, but it was his boyish good looks.

Fun Facts on Eastwood’s ‘Rawhide’ Days

Although at the very early part of his career, “Rawhide’ would continue to be an important milestone for Eastwood.

This seems evident in the fact that, according to Wide Open Country, Eastwood wore his Rowdy Yates boots in another one of his roles later down the road. He wore his tattered boots for his 1992 Oscar-winning film, “Unforgiven.” Over 30 years later and these boots still had some kicking left in them.

Eastwood is also known for being a bit of a lady’s man. He has eight children, many of which come from different women. While he was filming “Rawhide” he had an affair with a stuntwoman named Roxanne Tunis. At the time, he was married to his first wife Maggie Johnson.

In fact, his first child, Kimber, came from his relationship with Tunis.

Outsider.com