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Clint Eastwood calls the role that saved his career a “fluke”

Clint Eastwood has been a Hollywood icon for longer than many of us have been alive, but he believes an important TV series really happened out of luck.

Clint Eastwood in A Fistful of Dollars

When you’ve a career like Clint Eastwood, there are up and downs. Early on, the icon-to-be didn’t have the easiest time in Hollywood, and well before he made his best movies, he was struggling to get steady work. Clint Eastwood himself puts an early break down to luck more than anything else.

“I was visiting a friend at CBS,” Eastwood told Rex reed in the book Clint Eastwood: Interviews. “And an executive saw me drinking coffee in the cafeteria and came over and asked me to test. It was a fluke.”

That audition led to Rawhide, a TV series that ran from the late ’50s into the ’60s. Eastwood starred in all eight seasons of the drama series, and doing so allowed him the freedom to look into doing some of the best Wasterns of all time.

“In the sixth year, I had exhausted everything I could do on a horse, so I took a hiatus and went to Spain to make Fistful of Dollars,” Eastwood says. “I had nothing to lose. I had a job waiting in TV, and I knew if it was a flop, nobody would ever see it anyway.”

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The rest is history – Eastwood became known for doing the best thriller movies, gradually becoming a household name. Rawhide’s faded from the public consciousness over the years, but you can see the overall influence in franchises like Yellowstone that are still finding inventive ways to use Western tropes. You can catch up on Yellowstone using our Paramoutn Plus free trial below.

Now, check out our list of the best Clint Eastwood movies for more of his highlights.