Clint Eastwood, one of Hollywood’s most prominent icons, celebrates his 86th birthday on May 31. After acting in, directing and producing more than 100 films throughout his cinematic career, it’s no surprise that Clint Eastwood’s net worth totals a substantial $375 million, which has earned him a place as one of Hollywood’s richest stars, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
Eastwood’s most recent film was the box office smash hit and Academy Award-winner “American Sniper” in 2014. This year, Eastwood looks to add to his net worth with the film “Sully” starring Tom Hanks. Here’s a look at Clint Eastwood’s career and the director’s milestones along his path to fame and fortune, including his most famous movies, relationships and political activism.
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Clint Eastwood’s Early Acting Career (1950s and 1960s)
1953: Gets married for the first time
Eastwood tied the knot with Maggie Johnson in 1953, his first wife, whom he married after meeting on a blind date six months prior, according to ABC News. Within a couple of years, Eastwood began working small, sometimes-uncredited roles in films like “Revenge of the Creature” and “Tarantula.”
1959: Earns $700 an episode on “Rawhide”
In 1959, Eastwood landed his first breakthrough role in the TV series “Rawhide,” playing cattle driver Rowdy Yates, which made him a household name. Eastwood earned roughly $700 per episode in the show’s early days — approximately $6,000 in today’s dollars. Even though this was fairly good money for a TV star of that era, it still pales in comparison to the huge paychecks of today’s TV stars.
1964: Lands first leading role worth $15,000
Eastwood snagged his first leading role in the 1964 film “A Fistful of Dollars.” The movie was a box office hit and earned a domestic gross of $14.5 million on a $200,000 budget after its 1967 release. For his role in the film, however, Eastwood earned just $15,000 — around $115,000 today.
1967: “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” paycheck over $250,000
Two more Clint Eastwood movies hit theaters in 1967: “For a Few Dollars More” and “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.” Before filming for “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” began in 1966, Eastwood negotiated a much-higher pay of $250,000 — about $1.8 million today — and 10 percent of profits earned in the western hemisphere, plus a Ferrari.
The three big-hit westerns all released in 1967 solidified Eastwood’s status as an action star and huge name in the film industry.
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Clint Eastwood Moves into Producing and Directing (1970s and 1980s)
1971: Eastwood’s directing debut grosses $10.6 million
In 1971, Eastwood made his directorial debut with thriller film “Play Misty for Me,” in which he also starred. The film was received well and earned a domestic gross of $10.6 million.
That same year, Eastwood also starred in “Dirty Harry,” which turned out to be a huge hit with a domestic gross of $28 million. It’s still a cult classic and its success led to four other films in the “Dirty Harry” franchise.
1978: “Every Which Way But Loose” grosses $85 million domestically
“Every Which Way But Loose” grossed the most money of Eastwood movies released in the 1970s, raking in more than $85 million. Adjusted for ticket price inflation, Box Office Mojo puts the film’s earnings equivalent to $312.4 million in 2016, making it the highest-grossing film in which Eastwood has ever acted. The 1980 sequel “Any Which Way You Can” was also a hit, grossing $70.7 million.
Around this time Eastwood met actress Sondra Locke and the two started a decade-plus relationship,even though he was still married to Johnson at the time.
1980s: $4.4 million flops to $46.7 million movie hits
Eastwood’s success slowed a bit during this decade and his films were more hit and miss. He directed, produced, starred in and wrote music for 1982’s “Honkytonk Man,” but the film flopped and only earned $4.5 million, one of the lowest totals of Eastwood’s career. Fortunately, Eastwood’s other 1982 film, “Firefox,” was a hit that brought in $46.7 million in box office sales, according to Box Office Mojo.
Eastwood’s minor career slump continued through the 1980s and his few high-earning films were sequels of other films, like the 1983 “Dirty Harry” follow-up, “Sudden Impact.” Despite this, in 1984 Eastwood was honored at Grauman’s Chinese theater and imprinted his hand and footprints into the cement.
1984: First divorce costs Eastwood $25 million
Eastwood also had troubles in his personal life, starting with a divorce from Maggie Johnson in 1984 that cost him big. She walked away from the divorce settlement with $25 million of his earnings, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Eastwood’s relationship with Locke also ended soon after in 1989, and Locke filed a palimony claim against him, reported ABC News. After a long and drawn-out legal battle, she and Eastwood settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.
1986: Eastwood elected mayor of Carmel, Calif.
During the ’80s Eastwood, an outspoken Republican, got more involved in political matters. In 1986 he spent $25,000 on his campaign to be mayor of Carmel, Calif. He won the election and held office for two years with an annual salary of just $2,400.
Clint Eastwood Finds Commercial and Critical Success (1990s and 2000s)
1992: “Unforgiven” is Eastwood’s $100 million comeback hit
After a rocky decade both financially and personally, Eastwood turned it around with big success in the 1990s. Eastwood directed, produced and starred in 1992’s “Unforgiven,” which earned a domestic gross of $101.2 million, according to Box Office Mojo. “Unforgiven” won critics over too, earning Academy Awards for Best Director Clint Eastwood, Best Supporting Actor Gene Hackman and Best Picture. The film was a return to the genre that made him famous, and was his last western film to date.
In 1993 Eastwood starred in another huge career hit, “In the Line of Fire,” portraying a secret service agent to the president, which grossed $102.3 million.
1994: “The Bridges of Madison County” earns $71.5 million domestically
After being recognized with the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award in 1994, an honor handed down by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences for the consistently-high quality of his motion pictures, Eastwood debuted a new film in 1995. Eastwood directed, produced, starred in and even wrote music for, “The Bridges of Madison County,” a success that earned a domestic box office gross of $71.5 million.
Eastwood also found love again with Dina Ruiz, whom he met in 1993 during a TV interview. After three years of dating, the couple married in 1996.
2000: “Space Cowboys” earns Eastwood a come back
After the film “True Crime” grossed a meager $16.6 million in 1999, Eastwood starred in and directed “Space Cowboys” in 2000. He acted alongside Tommy Lee Jones, Donald Sutherland and James Garner in this box office success, which grossed nearly $90.5 million in domestic ticket sales.
2003: “Mystic River” garners Oscar nods, $90.1 million
Eastwood saw continued success in the 2000s. In 2003, he directed, produced and wrote music for “Mystic River,” which was nominated for Best Director and Best Picture in the 2003 Academy Awards. Sean Penn ended up winning Best Actor for “Mystic River” and the film earned a total domestic gross of $90.1 million.
2004: “Million Dollar Baby” wins Best Picture, grosses $100.5 million
Eastwood followed up that success with another in 2004, directing and starring in “Million Dollar Baby.” The film won the Oscar for Best Picture, and Eastwood won his second Best Director Oscar while Hilary Swank won Best Actress, her second Oscar. “Million Dollar Baby” earned a total of $216.8 million at the worldwide box office.
In 2006 he directed and produced “Letters From Iwo Jima,” which was a favorite of critics and nominated for Best Director and Best Picture by the Academy. The film was a box-office flop, however, that earned only $13.7 million domestically, but its companion film “Flags of Our Fathers” performed better, grossing $33.6 million.
2008: “Gran Torino” success boosts Eastwood’s yearly earnings to $35 million
Eastwood directed two films in 2008, “Changeling” starring Angelina Jolie, and “Gran Torino.” “Gran Torino” turned out to be a major hit, grossing $270 million worldwide. Eastwood made $35 million that same year, thanks in large part to the success of that film.
Eastwood’s “American Sniper” and Political Involvement (2010 to 2015)
2012: Eastwood gets involved in elections
Eastwood directed a string of mediocre box office performing films between 2009 and 2011, but he then became more politically active in 2012 by donating $5000 to current Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s 2014 senate campaign. That same year he gave the infamous “Empty Chair Address” at the Republican National Convention, acting as if President Obama were present in an empty chair and calling out the fictional president on his failures.
2014: “American Sniper” becomes highest-grossing Clint Eastwood movie
The success of “American Sniper,” which Eastwood directed and produced, might have helped take some of the sting out of his domestic problems.
Eastwood started off 2014 with the lukewarm “Jersey Boys,” which grossed just $47 million at the domestic box office, but rebounded in December with the release of “American Sniper,” starring Bradley Cooper. The film is his most successful project to date, earning $547.4 million in worldwide lifetime gross. “American Sniper” also scored with critics, earning Academy Award nominations for Best Picture, Best Actor and four other Oscars.
2016: Eastwood directs “Sully” in IMAX, starring Tom Hanks
Eastwood might be turning 86 years old, but he stays up-to-date with technology. Eastwood directed the new film “Sully,” shooting almost the entire movie in IMAX. Most directors shoot only portions of their films using IMAX camera, so this will be the first film shot almost entirely with IMAX cameras. “Sully” stars Tom Hanks as the U.S. Airways pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger who landed a passenger airliner in the Hudson River in 2009.
“Sully” has a tentative release date of Sept. 9, 2016. In the meantime, Eastwood celebrates his 86th birthday as one of Hollywood’s greatest successes.