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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 January, 2004, 16:57 GMT
Eastwood's enduring talents
Clint Eastwood
Eastwood is one of Hollywood's most enduring talents
Veteran Clint Eastwood has already

The film, which stars Sean Penn and Kevin Bacon in a tale of three friends united by a history of child abuse, had been tipped for success by many critics.

It was nominated for the prestigious Palme d'Or Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, and topped the US National Board of Review's (NBR) list of the best 10 films of 2003.

Some critics believed it would be Eastwood's second Oscar win for directing - he was awarded the prize at the 1993 Academy Awards for the Western, Unforgiven.

Outside of directing, of course, Eastwood, 73, is one of Hollywood's most enduring actors.

Clint Eastwood
Cowboy movies made a star of Eastwood
It was his role as the "man with no name" in the Fistful of Dollars trilogy that propelled him to iconic status, with the enduring image of him with a poncho and cigar going down in movie history.

Eastwood started out much like any struggling actor with bit parts in B-movies including Tarantula and Never Say Goodbye in 1955.

It was his casting in the TV western series Rawhide in 1959 that really kick-started his career after a television executive recognised the cowboy in him.

He played Rowdy Yates until the show ended in 1966, making Eastwood a household name.

Movie success beckoned in the most unlikeliest of places when Eastwood travelled to Italy during a break in filming Rawhide to star in the western A Fistful of Dollars.

Clint Eastwood and wife Dina Ruiz
The star is married to Dina Ruiz
He went on to star in two sequels, For a Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, dubbing his own voice for their eventual American releases.

Meaty rolls began to flood in for Eastwood including Where Eagles Dare, Coogan's Bluff and Kelly's Heroes.

In 1971 he decided acting was not enough, and began directing himself in films such as Play Misty for Me and The Outlaw Josey Wales.

The same year saw Eastwood take on another of his signature characters as the loose cannon cop Dirty Harry, playing Inspector Harry Callahan in four movies.

Not content with acting and directing, in 1986 Eastwood decided to run for the position of mayor in his adopted home town of Carmel, California, wiping out the opposition with nearly 73% of the votes.

A father of seven children, he has managed to maintain credibility, largely by controlling much of his later career by either directing and/or producing his own films.

The multi-talented star has also turned his hand to composition, having written theme music for a number of his films including Mystic River and Unforgiven.

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