Throughout his Hollywood career that spans over 7-decades, from acting to directing, Clint Eastwood has done it all in the landscape of filmmaking. But prior to propelling into the realm of acting and becoming one of Hollywood’s biggest icons, back in the early ’50s, Eastwood served in the US military before getting honorably discharged 2-years later.
And while he was drafted to serve in the Korean War in ’51 and sent to Fort Ord, California to complete basic training, he would never actually serve in the war following a plane crash.
The Plane Crash Ended Up Becoming a Blessing in Disguise for Clint Eastwood
While returning to his hometown after visiting his parents and girlfriend in Seattle, Clint Eastwood and pilot Lt. Francis Coleman Anderson found themselves in a plane crash in the Pacific Ocean. Although luckily they had access to a life raft, their journey back to safety was by no means easy, as they had to swim through the cold and rough waters of the shark-infested ocean. However, this crash ended up being a blessing in disguise, as the stand-by hearing that was supposed to happen on the incident, never took place, leading to Eastwood not being sent to the War.
He said (via NPR),
“Yeah. So, the Navy asked if I’d stand by for a hearing on the circumstances. And so what happened is the Army, of course, said, sure, we’ll keep him standing by for a hearing. Well, to make a long story short, the hearing never came, and so I’m sitting there waiting and all of a sudden my two years are up and the hearing never happened.” He said. “I don’t think anybody was really too happy to go over there. Korea was a rough war. It’s kind of – a lot of people call it the forgotten war now.”
And although Eastwood never got sent into the rough war, as fate has it, he did end up playing a Korean War veteran in one of his most acclaimed films of this century, Gran Torino.
Clint Eastwood Stood by Gran Torino Amidst Criticisms
Although Clint Eastwood’s Gran Torino was a box-office success and scored high among critics, the film was criticized for its portrayal of Asian individuals and the use of racial slurs. The actor did come forward to defend his film, stating,
“When I grew up, those things weren’t called racist. And then when I did Gran Torino, even my associate said, ‘This is a really good script, but it’s politically incorrect.’ And I said, ‘Good. Let me read it tonight.’ The next morning, I came in and I threw it on his desk and I said, ‘We’re starting this immediately.’ All these people that say, ‘Oh, you can’t do that, and you can’t do this, and you can’t say that.’ I guess it’s just the times.”
Even at the age of 93, Clint Eastwood is once again set to steer the wheel of most probably his final film, Juror No. 2, following the underwhelming reception to his last feature, Cry Macho.
Gran Torino is available to stream on Max.