Clint Eastwood

Who Mentored Clint Eastwood?

Watch a public service announcement featuring Clint Eastwood in support of National Mentoring Month.


Clint Eastwood is an iconic American actor, film producer, composer, and Academy Award-winning film director (Unforgiven and Million Dollar Baby). He is famous for his tough guy roles, including Inspector ‘Dirty’ Harry Callahan in the Dirty Harry series. His most recent directorial works include Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima (to be released in early 2007).

I’ve had many mentors in my life, I suppose starting with my parents. MY grandmother on my mother’s side was very – she always loved me.  Out of all the grandchildren, I think I was certainly one of her favorites.  And she was always encouraging.  She always thought I was going to be something, when nobody else, including myself, thought I was going to amount to anything.  And a business manager named Irving Leonard, he was a mentor to me.  He was sort of like a father to all of us. There was a group of kids, who were young kids at that time, James Garner and people like that, that were all in his office.  And he had a lot of unknown actors at that time, but he took care of us.  He would always encourage you to go on.  He believed when nobody else believed.

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Older people do have a lot to contribute.  You just never know what you have to offer until you start offering it.  And I’ve had the very good fortune to go around and speak to cinema groups, all around the country, at different universities.  And I must say I’ve always enjoyed it, because you always learn something, not only about younger people and what they’re asking today, but you learn something about yourself too.  If you start talking and bringing up recollections without you going too much into, “That’s the way we did it in the good ol’ days,” you can learn a lot about yourself, about what you have to offer.  A lot of people don’t take credit in their being as to what they might have to offer for younger people.  And when you start talking to classes of younger people, you find out they are very, very interested and they ask questions that are good, sometimes much better than other adults do.What I think the mentor gets is the great satisfaction of helping somebody along, helping somebody take advantage of an opportunity that maybe he or she did not have.