Clint Eastwood Receives Honorary Degree From AFI

Posted in Uncategorized by johnwildman on June 11, 2009


Eastwood first AFI Life Achievement Award Recipient
To Also Receive Honor from AFI Conservatory

LOS ANGELES, CA, June 10, 2009—The American Film Institute (AFI) conferred an honorary degree (Doctorate of Fine Arts, honoris causa) upon Clint Eastwood for “contribution of distinction to the art of the moving image” during AFI Commencement ceremonies for its 2009 graduating class.

Following the presentation by film historian Richard Schickel on the American Film Institute campus, Eastwood warmly quieted the group by telling them to “Knock it off, will ya?” He then reflected on his early experiences in filmmaking saying, “I never went to a film school because they didn’t have them when I started out. But after doing more than 50 films as an actor and 30 as a director I would have thought I could have graduated before this.”

Eastwood concluded by reminding the graduates that when they find themselves challenged by the difficulties of making their careers as filmmakers never to forget that they are artists and to believe in their talent.

An American master, actor and director, Eastwood has built a legendary body of work in a career that spans more than 60 films and over a half-century.

Born in San Francisco in 1930, Eastwood grew up in Depression-era Northern California. After technical high school, he held jobs as a firefighter, lumberjack and steelworker before serving in the US Army as a swimming instructor during the Korean War. He came to Los Angeles to attend college on the GI Bill, eventually signing as a contract player at Universal.

Eastwood first gained recognition as an actor as boyish cattle driver Rowdy Yates in the popular ’60s television series RAWHIDE. He then took a chance on a new, more ambiguous kind of cowboy in his collaboration with director Sergio Leone on a trilogy of spaghetti westerns that helped redefine the western genre. A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS (1964), FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE (1965) and THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY (1966) made Eastwood a star as the laconic “Man With No Name.”

In the ’70s, Eastwood created another iconic screen character—the fiercely independent, rogue cop Harry Callahan in five controversial and crowd-pleasing DIRTY HARRY movies—firmly establishing his quiet persona, spare acting style and totemic macho presence.

Eastwood used his clout as an international star to found his own production company, Malpaso Productions, where he expanded into directing with PLAY MISTY FOR ME (1971). As director, producer, composer and star, he has worked across genres, including westerns, comedies, romances, thrillers and a music biopic, with such diverse films as THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES (1976), BIRD (1988), THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY (1995), MYSTIC RIVER (2003), FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS (2006) and LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA (2006). His UNFORGIVEN (1992) and MILLION DOLLAR BABY (2004) were Academy Award winners for Best Direction and Best Picture. In 2008, Eastwood directed CHANGELING and starred in and directed the highly acclaimed GRAN TORINO.

A virtuoso screen artist who works with the greatest economy of style, Eastwood is one of the great creative talents in American film history. His list of accomplishments is long, including two years in politics as mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. Among his honors, Eastwood has received the 24th AFI Life Achievement Award, the Kennedy Center Honors and the Irving Thalberg Memorial Award for producing.

Previous recipients of AFI honorary degrees include Robert Altman, Maya Angelou, Michelangelo Antonioni, Steven Bochco, Ken Burns, Roger Corman, Caleb Deschanel, Roger Ebert, Nora Ephron, Jean Picker Firstenberg, Norman Jewison, Chuck Jones, James Earl Jones, Quincy Jones, John Lasseter, Gena Rowlands, Thelma Schoonmaker and John Williams.

The AFI Conservatory offers a two-year accredited MFA program, granting degrees in six filmmaking disciplines—Cinematography, Directing, Editing, Producing, Production Design and Screenwriting. World-renowned for its advanced professional training, AFI’s program is designed to nurture the talents and enhance the skills of tomorrow’s leading storytellers in the global motion picture and television professions. The curriculum focuses on narrative, visual storytelling through hands-on collaboration, taught by working professionals from the film, television and digital media communities. The AFI Conservatory has trained more than 3,500 artists since its founding in 1969.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: