Eastwood worked odd jobs as a hay bailer, logger, truck driver, and steel-furnace stoker. In 1950, he was called to military duty with the Army Special Services, based at Ford Ord in Monterey, California. While in the Army, Eastwood met actors David Janssen and Martin Milner, who convinced him to move to Los Angeles in 1954 after he finished his military duty. Eastwood took a screen test and signed a contract with Universal for seventy-five dollars a week. His first roles were in the science fiction films Revenge of the Creature and Tarantula, both released in 1955. Eastwood's rugged looks landed him the role of Rowdy Yates on the CBS TV series Rawhide (1959), which ran for eight seasons.
In 1964, Eastwood went to Italy to star in a trio of westerns directed by Sergio Leone. The role Eastwood took—the cool, laconic "Man with No Name"—had been turned down by James Coburn and Charles Bronson. The films included 1964's A Fistful Of Dollars (a remake of the classic Yojimbo), For a Few Dollars More (1965) and The Good the Bad and the Ugly (1966). Nicknamed "spaghetti westerns" due to their Italian production, these films gained worldwide popularity, and Eastwood became internationally known.
Back in the United States, Eastwood directed his first film, the thriller Play Misty For Me (1971), and starred in the leading role. His next important project was a series of violent action movies portraying Harry Callahan, a contentious San Francisco cop. The Dirty Harry series proved immensely popular with the public and included five films over a period of 17 years, including Dirty Harry (1971), Magnum Force (1973), The Enforcer (1976), Sudden Impact (1983) and The Dead Pool (1988).
Eastwood went on to direct the Charlie Parker biopic Bird (1988), for which he won wide critical acclaim. He also earned accolades for directing and producing the 1992 Western Unforgiven, which won an Academy Award (best picture). The following year, he directed and starred in 1993's A Perfect World, and went on to star in and direct 1994's The Bridges of Madison County (with Meryl Streep) and 1997's Absolute Power.
He directed (but did not appear in) Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997); and produced, directed and starred in the 1999 thriller True Crime.
August of 2000 saw the release of another directorial and acting project for Eastwood, Space Cowboys, with co-stars James Garner, Donald Sutherland and Tommy Lee Jones. He then directed the haunting and award-winning Mystic River, starring Sean Penn and Tim Robbins, which was released in 2003. Two years later, Eastwood won both an Academy Award and a Golden Globe (best director) for his work on the film Million Dollar Baby, starring Hilary Swank (Eastwood directed and acted in the film). The picture also won the an Oscar Award for best picture. That same year, Eastwood received the Life Achievement Award from the Screen Actors Guild in Los Angeles.
In 2006, Eastwood directed two World War II dramas, Flags of Our Fathers and Letters From Iwo Jima. These companion films viewed the conflict from two distinctly different