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A few movies more? Clint Eastwood turns 90

Director and actor Clint Eastwood attends the 'Richard Jewell' world premiere screening in Hollywood, California, November 20, 2019. Eastwood turns 90 on May 31, 2020. (AFP / Valerie Macon)

LOS ANGELES: Movie legend Clint Eastwood turns 90 on Sunday. Don’t count on the stoic, hard-working star of “A Fistful of Dollars” and “Dirty Harry” hanging up his cowboy boots just yet.

The multiple Oscar-winning actor-turned-director, who churned out nine films in his 80s, has expressed no desire to retire ahead of the milestone. In any case, he’s not a fan of birthdays.

“We’re just going to do a family thing -- very, very calm, very mellow,” his 34-year-old actor son Scott told “Access Hollywood.” “We’ll sneak a cake in there, definitely. He probably won’t like it.”

Born in 1930, Eastwood has enjoyed a career spanning seven decades and more than 50 films. He last trod the Hollywood red carpet in November, for his Olympic bombing biopic “Richard Jewell.” It was released to mixed reviews -- and sparked a backlash over its fictional depiction of a real-life female journalist trading sex for FBI secrets.

Eastwood’s career has weathered greater controversy, from accusations of excessive violence in the spaghetti Western “Dollars” trilogy, fascism in “Dirty Harry” and warmongering in “American Sniper,” to his portrayal of racism in “Gran Torino.”

Aside from Oscars for “Unforgiven” and “Million Dollar Baby,” and a Palme d’Or for lifetime achievement from the Cannes film festival, Eastwood’s back catalogue also contains a few critically savaged flops.

“I would like to think it rolls off his back ... He’s gotten beat up along the way pretty regularly,” Variety senior vice president Tim Gray told AFP. “I think he’s going to keep working as long as he can ... He seems to have a creative drive that keeps him going.”

Known on the Hollywood circuit as polite but reticent as far as small talk or personal details are concerned, Eastwood has hinted at future projects, but had not yet confirmed any plans before the coronavirus pandemic shut down all productions in March.

In a January interview with Britain’s ITV, Eastwood indicated he was still enjoying plying his trade.

“I like doing it. It’s nice to be able to have a paying job,” he told “This Morning.” “I like being in films. I like making films. I started directing films because I thought one day I’m going to look up on screen and say, ‘That’s enough, Eastwood. You’d better do something else.’”

In other interviews, he has expressed confusion as to why luminaries such as Billy Wilder and Frank Capra quit the business at a younger age, and spoken of his desire to keep working as long as he finds projects that are “worth studying.”

Despite previously announcing his retirement from acting after 2008’s “Gran Torino,” Eastwood returned in front of camera four years later in “Trouble with the Curve,” and again in 2018’s “The Mule.”

“He’s pretty unpredictable,” said Gray. “I get the feeling now, he does what he wants to do.”

As well as continuing to oversee his Malpaso Productions, the former mayor of Carmel, California remains politically engaged, endorsing Michael Bloomberg’s doomed presidential run earlier this year.

As a father of eight children and a grandfather many times over, Eastwood will likely have his hands full Sunday -- even if he isn’t asking anyone to “make my day.”

“He probably won’t even want us to acknowledge it. He hates his birthday,” daughter Alison told Closer late last year. “I think he just wants to work and enjoy his life but I don’t think he wants to celebrate it ... So we’ll see.”

 

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