Clint Eastwood's big break came when the 6'4 actor was somehow spotted by an assistant working on the Western TV series Rawhide and was given an audition. He was cast and the show ended up being a big success, running for over seven years. Eager to shake off his young
and naïve character of Rowdy Yates, Eastwood signed on to star in Sergio Leone's western classic A Fistful of Dollars, and the rest is history.
1971 marked Eastwood's directorial debut with the psychological thriller Play Misty for Me. He directed his first Western, High Plains Drifter, two years later. Eastwood had a solid to middling output throughout the rest of the '70s and '80s, most famously playing Harry Callahan in the Dirty Harry film series. He reinvigorated the Western genre in 1992 with Unforgiven, a gritty, realistic and convention-breaking film which won four Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director. He'd repeat this feat in 2004 with Million Dollar Baby, which similarly won four Academy awards and earned him his second Best Picture and Best Director wins. 2004 was also the year that Unforgiven was added to the National Film Registry, for being “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant." You can't get much higher praise than that.