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Clint Eastwood Met A Legendary Hollywood Director By Saving His Horses

At 92 years of age, Clint Eastwood is known as one of the biggest stars in Hollywood, with a career that has spanned decades and is still ongoing at this time. However, during his early days as a star in mostly Western films, Eastwood spent more time around horses than he did around the most prolific movie directors of his day. 

In one interview, Eastwood revealed that he met legendary Hollywood director Howard Hawks when he saved his horses by chasing them down the street!

Eastwood’s Regrets About Early Career

While being interviewed for “Conversations with Clint: Paul Nelson’s Lost Interviews with Clint Eastwood [3],” the star expressed his regrets that he didn’t have the opportunity to work with bigger directors in his younger days. 

“I never had the great fortune of working with any of the biggies, with any of the so-called big names of those eras,” Eastwood recalled, according to Cheat Sheet [4]. “I never was in a [William] Wyler or a [George] Stevens or a [Cecil B.] DeMille or any of those things. I never even got bit parts in those. I did do a picture with Bill Wellman one time [Lafayette Escadrille in 1958], but Wellman was kind of in a cold spell at that point in his life, and it wasn’t one of his major efforts.”

“The time to have been with Wellman was The Ox-Bow Incident and some of the great films he did,” he added. “But I was never of any value to those guys at that time. Most of those guys were coming to the end of their careers as I was coming on.”

William Wellman
English: “Copyright 1942 Twentieth Century–Fox Corp.”, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Related: Clint Eastwood Punched His Son In The Face For This – ‘It Was Old School’ [5]

Eastwood’s Encounter With Hawks

Eastwood went on to recall meeting Hawks, who directed classic films like Rio Bravo (1959) and El Dorado (1966) when he saved the director’s horses. 

“Funny thing, I met Hawks one time,” Eastwood recalled. “I was 17 years old. I came down on the weekend with a bunch of guys from Oakland, a bunch of crazy characters, and we stopped off in San Luis Obispo and partied with some gals who went to Cal Poly there. We were just punk kids.”

“We ran into this guy who invited us to a party at his house in Westwood,” he continued. “The guy’s family had a few bucks. We went down to this party, and we were all drinking a lot of beer and stuff, and we saw some horses running down the street. We said, ‘God, we’ve got to catch these horses.’”

Without hesitating, Eastwood immediately took action.

“They’re just running down the boulevard—Sepulveda,” Eastwood said. “This was before freeways and all that. We ran out, and we stopped these horses, and we herded them all back up the street. We saw this man come running down the street and he said, ‘Oh God, you got the horses. Thanks, you guys.’ The guy who lived down there said, ‘That’s Howard Hawks, that guy we were just talking to. A big movie guy.’ I was really impressed.”

Related: Clint Eastwood’s Daughter Opens Up About Her Dad [6]

Eastwood Meets Hawks Again

When Eastwood met Hawks again many years later, he wanted to know how the horses had faired after this incident, but the director didn’t even remember it ever happening. 

“They were his, and they got out of the corral at night somehow,” Eastwood said. “But that’s the closest I ever came to anybody in the movie business at that time of life. I had no ideas about anything. Later on, I ran into Howard Hawks one time at a party, and I reminded him, but he didn’t remember it. It wasn’t much of an incident to him, but to us, it was an event.”

Hawks died in 1977 at the age of 81, directing his final film seven years before that. In contrast, Eastwood has continued directing into his 90s, with his last project Cry Macho coming out last year when he was 91. 

Take a look a the trailer for Cry Macho.

Had those other big name directors Eastwood mentioned known just how far he would go in the industry, they undoubtedly would have been clamoring to work with him!