Clint Eastwood family reality show & gay marriage views
- Clint Eastwood to make cameo appearance in reality TV show starring his wife.
- Eastwood’s latest, J. Edgar, featuring FBI honcho J. Edgar Hoover (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Associate Director Clyde Tolson (Armie Hammer) as “very intimate friends,” has angered right-wingers.
- Does Clint Eastwood support gay marriage?
- Remembering Sondra Locke vs. “The Unfightable One.”
After a couple of Best Director Academy Awards, Clint Eastwood has apparently decided his next goal in life is to be named one of Barbara Walters’ “most fascinating” personalities of the year. Hence, as per various online reports, Eastwood may make cameo appearances on a reality TV show starring his wife, Dina Eastwood, and two of his daughters, Francesca and Morgan.
It gets better: the Eastwood show, intended to air on the E! network, is being engendered by the makers of that “most fascinating” circus, Keeping Up with the Kardashians.
Eastwood’s two Best Director Oscars were for the Western Unforgiven (1992) and the boxing melodrama Million Dollar Baby (2004). Both films also won Best Picture.
Trio of box office disappointments
The Eastwood family reality show may turn out to be a TV ratings bonanza, but on the big screen the filmmaker hasn’t been all that lucky in the last three years.
In addition to bringing in disappointing returns at the domestic box office, the rugby/political drama Invictus (2009), starring Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman, and the supernatural/psychological drama Hereafter (2010), featuring Damon and Bryce Dallas Howard as part of an ensemble cast, were both bypassed in the Academy Awards’ Best Director and Best Picture categories. (Damon and Freeman were shortlisted for Invictus; Hereafter got one nod for Best Visual Effects.)
Moreover, Eastwood’s latest, the J. Edgar Hoover biopic J. Edgar, starring SAG Award and Golden Globe nominee Leonardo DiCaprio, has little chance of earning him a Best Director nomination following a series of mediocre reviews – 50 percent approval rating and 6.5 average among Rotten Tomatoes‘ top critics – and tepid box office grosses.
Although a Best Picture nod remains possible – the category can include up to ten films – that is not likely to happen.
Gay J. Edgar Hoover vs. right-wingers
Ironically, prior to the release of J. Edgar Clint Eastwood received quite a bit of criticism from his fellow “conservatives” – those, that is, who revere the unscrupulous lord of the FBI, who ruled over his fiefdom from 1924 (up to 1935 known as the Bureau of Investigation) to his death of a heart attack in 1972.
Written by openly gay Oscar winner Dustin Lance Black (Best Original Screenplay for Milk, 2008), J. Edgar shows Hoover (Leonardo DiCaprio) having an intimate relationship with his right-hand man – and, by some accounts, lover – Clyde Tolson (Best Supporting Actor SAG Award nominee Armie Hammer).
But despite the gay-curious J. Edgar and the filmmaker’s public declarations of what some have mistakenly understood as support for gay marriage, Eastwood’s reactionary credentials remain intact.
Clint Eastwood support for gay marriage?
“These people who are making a big deal about gay marriage? I don’t give a fuck about who wants to get married to anybody else! Why not?! We’re making a big deal out of things we shouldn’t be making a deal out of. They go on and on with all this bullshit about ‘sanctity’ – don’t give me that sanctity crap! Just give everybody the chance to have the life they want.”
Those who have chosen to interpret Eastwood’s anti-“sanctity of marriage” rant as support for same-sex marriage are apparently unaware that in the real world there is a major difference between supporting the rights of gays to get married and not giving a fuck either way.
In fact, just recently Clint Eastwood openly declared his enthusiasm for a trio of hardcore Republicans:
- Herman Cain (“I love Cain’s story. He’s a guy who came from nowhere and did well, obviously against heavy odds. He’s a doer and a straight-talker”).
- Chris Christie (“I’m a Chris Christie fan, but that didn’t work out”).
- Newt Gingrich (“I think Newt Gingrich is still the smartest guy in the room”).
All three of them have come out (no pun intended) strongly against gay marriage.
Clint Eastwood & Sondra Locke
In-between his two marriages (and a number of reported extramarital affairs), from the mid-1970s to the late 1980s Clint Eastwood was in a 14-year relationship with actress Sondra Locke – married since 1967 to a reportedly gay buddy, sculptor Gordon Leigh Anderson.
A Best Supporting Actress Oscar nominee for Robert Ellis Miller’s moving sociopsychological drama The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (1968), Locke was Eastwood’s leading lady in six movies, most notably two directed by Eastwood himself:
- The Western The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976), which offers a sympathetic portrayal of a Confederate fighter. The film was based on a novel by former Ku Klux Klan leader Asa Earl Carter (as Forrest Carter).
- The populist revenge thriller Sudden Impact (1983), with Locke as a rape victim turned Dirty Harriet.
Eastwood himself directed The Outlaw Josey Wales, Sudden Impact, and two other collaborations, The Gauntlet (1977) and Bronco Billy (1980).
The other two Clint Eastwood-Sondra Locke movies, Every Which Way But Loose (1978) and Any Which Way You Can (1980), were directed by, respectively, James Fargo and Buddy Van Horn.
The off-screen Eastwood-Locke relationship ended in a nasty, tabloid-friendly uproar after it was revealed that Eastwood had secretly fathered two children with another woman in the late 1980s.
‘The Unfightable One’
More ugly battles ensued in the mid-1990s, when Locke accused Eastwood of using his power at his longtime studio Warner Bros. to sabotage her movie projects.
The case was ultimately settled out of court for an undisclosed sum, with Locke telling the media that the outcome had sent a “loud and clear” message to Hollywood “that people cannot get away with whatever they want to, just because they’re powerful.”
Throughout the trial, she had referred to Clint Eastwood as “The Unfightable One.”
Locke wrote about her experiences in the 1997 tell-all autobiography The Good, the Bad, and the Very Ugly – A Hollywood Journey.
Clint Eastwood & gay director Arthur Lubin
 Also worth noting is that Clint Eastwood got his first big break in Hollywood thanks to gay filmmaker Arthur Lubin, who put the former gas station attendant – “so tall and slim and very handsome looking” – under personal contract.
Lubin, then in his mid-50s and in the business (initially as an actor) since the mid-1920s, directed the young newcomer in the following big-screen releases:
- The Francis franchise entry Francis in the Navy (1955), notable in that its titular character, Francis the Talking Mule, later evolved into the star of the early 1960s television series Mister Ed, directed and produced by Arthur Lubin himself. (More on Mister Ed further below.)
- The period comedy Lady Godiva of Coventry (1955), starring Maureen O’Hara in the title role and (gay actor) George Nader as Lord Leofric.
- The female-centered, pro-women’s rights comedy Western The First Traveling Saleslady (1956), in which a youthful, good-looking, and surprisingly affable Eastwood is Carol Channing’s lust interest. Ginger Rogers and Barry Nelson starred.
- Escapade in Japan (1957), featuring Teresa Wright and Cameron Mitchell, and with Eastwood in a brief role as a pilot.
More Arthur Lubin movies & ‘Mister Ed’
Among Arthur Lubin’s notable Universal movies were the following:
- The Abbott and Costello comedy blockbuster Buck Privates (1941).
- The Technicolor slice of exotica White Savage (1943), featuring Maria Montez, Jon Hall, Sabu, and Turhan Bey.
- The film noir Impact (1949), with Brian Donlevy and Ella Raines.
Arthur Lubin’s best-known effort, however, is not one of his features. That honor belongs to the Lubin-directed and -produced television series Mister Ed (1961–1966), clearly inspired by Universal’s Francis the Talking Mule movies of the 1950s (themselves based/inspired on David Stern’s novel) – e.g., Francis, Francis Covers the Big Town, Francis Joins the WACS – which Lubin himself had directed with Donald O’Connor as the nominal lead.
Alan Young and the titular talking horse were Mister Ed‘s stars; Clint Eastwood made a guest appearance as himself in a 1962 episode.
On TV, Lubin also directed Eastwood in a 1959 episode of the Western hit series Maverick, starring James Garner and Jack Kelly.
Arthur Lubin quote: Patrick McGilligan’s 1999 Clint Eastwood biography Clint: The Life and Legend.
Clint Eastwood, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Dustin Lance Black J. Edgar image: Warner Bros.
Sondra Locke and Clint Eastwood The Gauntlet image: Warner Bros.
“Clint Eastwood: Cameos in Family Reality Show & What Gay Marriage Support?” last updated in June 2018.