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Clint Eastwood

Lucille Ball Wanted Clint Eastwood to Star as Her Love Interest in This Musical

Lucille Ball loved the look of Clint Eastwood. It’s why the beloved redheaded comedian often called the movie star a “big hunk.”

In fact, when Lucille Ball stepped away from her acting comfort zone, she wanted Eastwood to play her love interest. That was back in 1960, when Ball’s production company, Desilu, decided to finance the Broadway play, Wildcat. Ball played its star, Wildy. The part originally was written for a woman in her late 20s. Ball was pushing 50 when the play started its run.

Because Ball’s company helped finance the play, she also got to choose who would play her romantic interest. She had several ideas, including Eastwood, who was 30. Eastwood was two years into playing Rowdy Yates on Rawhide, the TV western running on CBS.

Lucille Ball also considered Kirk Douglas (he was too expensive to cast) and Gordon MacRae, who was in the musicals Oklahoma and Carousel. Others under consideration were Gene Barry, who starred in the TV show Bat Masterson and Jock Mohoney, who, in 1962, became the 13th actor to play Tarzan.

Keith Andes eventually won the part. He once played Marilyn Monroe’s love interest and, at the time of the play, starred in the TV series This Man Dawson.

Lucille Ball and Wildcat were on Broadway for 175 performances. And on stage, Ball made Hey, Look Me Over into a very popular song.

Lucille Ball Liked to Name Drop Clint Eastwood in Her TV Show

However, just because Eastwood wasn’t in Ball’s play didn’t mean she’d stop name dropping him. In 1972 and 73, Lucille Ball twice mentioned Eastwood during her series, Here’s Lucy. Ball said that if she was stranded on a desert island, she’d want Eastwood to be there with her. And in another episode, she wanted guys who looked like Eastwood to rent from her.

So, by 1986, Lucille Ball was a hostess of the Variety Club’s TV salute to Eastwood. The show, which was a combo tribute and roast, featured a ton of stars. Ball, wearing a lavender gown, was one of the last stars to speak about Eastwood. She said:

“So far, nobody has mentioned the real reason why Clint is so popular. Ask any woman. She’ll tell you. Clint, you’re such a big star because you’re such a big hunk. These Variety Club parties have always been a gathering place for the stars — real big shot parties. Unless you’re a Variety VIP or a celebrity, there’s no way to get in. I sent out invitations and I ought to know.

“Well, this morning, some friends called to invite Gary (Morton, her husband) and me to dinner tonight. I said thanks, but why don’t you join us for dinner with Clint Eastwood. Well, they were thrilled, so as a courtesy I called the party office and said I’m bring an extra couple. They said no way, there isn’t an empty seat in the house. “

The place was packed because Eastwood invited all the folks who worked with him behind the scenes for the past two decades.

Lucille Ball said: “That says a whole lot about you Clint, a whole lot.”

Then Ball called Eastwood up to the stage, saying “come on up here where I can get a better look at you, you big hunk. “

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Clint Eastwood

On This Day: Clint Eastwood Film ‘Honkytonk Man’ Loosely Based on Jimmie Rodgers Hits Theaters in 1982

Clint Eastwood is a honkey tonk man. It’s been years since the legendary actor starred in the country music pilgrimage “Honkeytonk Man.”

The film released on Dec. 15, 1982, and starred both Eastwood and his son Kyle. Eastwood plays Red Stovall, a famous if reckless musician determined to secure his legacy. His character is based upon famed musician Jimmie Rodgers. Red teams up with his nephew, played by Eastwood’s son, for a road trip odyssey to the Grand Ole Opry.

Clint Eastwood Stars as a Famous Country Musician

The film is a poignant look at the legacy of the musician as much as it is a coming of age story. For all of Red’s gruffness and swagger, there’s a vulnerability to him and a fear. The country singer has tuberculosis, a death sentence back during the Great Depression. So, he must confront his mortality head-on through his music and the relationships he leaves behind. But, Red’s relationship with his nephew is the heart of the film.

The character is helped by Clint Eastwood’s own legacy. The actor’s name is forever ingrained with the Western films he made as a young man. Eastwood helped create the stereotype of the hardened gunslinger and later the hardened detective with the “Dirty Harry” franchise. But later in his career, he dismantled these archetypes, giving performances filled with emotion and vulnerability. And in “Honkeytonk Man,” Eastwood examines the life of a performer.

The film featured the last appearance by legend Marty Robbins, who appears as the guitarist Smokey. Robbins died that December before the film’s release.

Jimmie Rodgers Also Faced His Mortality

Rodgers inspired Clint Eastwood’s film the narrative of the film. Many consider Rodgers to be the father of country music. The musician came to prominence in the 1920s and during the Great Depression. He won over audiences with his recordings, which continued after his death. Like Red, doctors diagnosed Rodgers with tuberculosis. The singer was only 27 and would fight the disease for another eight years.

Rodgers kept recording until his death in 1933, aided by a nurse in the recording studio. To bookend his career, he recorded “Years Ago,” which was one of his first songs.

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Clint Eastwood

Marty Robbins Died Today in 1982: Relive His Time on Screen with Clint Eastwood in ‘Honkytonk Man’

Marty Robbins did a lot during his time on earth. From singing, songwriting, stock car racing, playing instruments, and even acting, Robbins’ resume was impressive. It also includes stepping in for legendary actor Clint Eastwood.

Perhaps Robbins’ most memorable role was in “Honkytonk Man” alongside Eastwood. Clint Eastwood produced, directed, and starred as Red Stovall in the classic. Robbins was cast as one of Stovall’s band members named Smoky. Eastwood’s son, Kyle, also stars in the film as Stovall’s nephew, Whit.

The storyline features Stovall’s dream of making it to the Grand Ole Opry in the Great Depression era. Stovall finally arrives in Nashville after a cross-country journey with his nephew and gets his chance to perform in front of Grand Ole Opry scouts.

However, Stovall can’t escape a coughing fit that’s brought on by his tuberculosis illness. This is where Robbins, the side guitarist, steps in for Eastwood.

His true talent shines while Smoky unintentionally steals the spotlight. Watch the scene below.

“Honkytonk Man” was released on December 15, 1982. Robbins passed away seven days earlier, making this his final appearance on the silver screen. He was 57 when he died on December 8, after suffering his third serious heart attack.

More About Marty Robbins

Robbins was one of the most popular and successful country-western singers for most of his nearly four-decade career that spanned from the late 1940s to the early 1980s. 

Over the course of his career, Robbins’ resume continued to grow. Classic Country Music cites that he recorded more than 500 songs and 60 albums and won two Grammy Awards. Furthermore, he was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and was named the 1960s Artist of the Decade by the Academy of Country Music.

Robbins was obsessed with El Paso, both the name and the town grown-up. So naturally, he sang a song titled “El Paso.” The lyrics paint a vivid picture of a love s story. Robbins went on to win a Grammy Award in 1959 for his signature song.

Not only did Robbins love the sound of music but he loved the roar of a stock car machine. His success in country music allowed him to fund his NASCAR team. Robbins had 6 top-ten finishes in his career, with a personal best top 5 finish at the 1974 Motor State 360 in Michigan.

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Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood: Here’s How the Cowboy Icon Landed His First Role in a Western

Arguably one of the best actors to ever grace Western cinema, Clint Eastwood is an icon. His work in Westerns over his career has been outstanding. But, how did he get his start in that particular part of the industry?

It is fascinating how Clint Eastwood landed his first role in a Western. However, the first Western that the legendary actor was in was an uncredited role in a little-known movie. He played a ranch hand in the 1955 movie called Law Man, which is also known as Star in the Dust.

While the role was small, it got Clint Eastwood excited about the prospects of acting in Westerns. As everyone knows today, it seems that he was destined to play a cowboy in his career. As a tough-looking, tall, handsome man, he fits the role exceedingly well.

Clint Eastwood Got His First Role in a Western Almost By Accident

According to IMDb, Eastwood got into Western movies because he looks the part. Reportedly, he was visiting a friend at the CBS studio when an executive spotted him. During the exchange, Eastwood was told that he “looked like a cowboy.”

Even though this is absolutely true and fits the role to a tee, it is impressive that’s how he landed a role. The first credited movie that he was in because of this exchange was a 1959 Western television show called Rawhide.

Clint Eastwood was cast as Rowdy Yates in the show. Rawhide ran from 1959 to 1965, and Clint Eastwood was in the show for its entirety. In fact, he had the most episodes of anyone in the show. This is somewhat surprising, considering his extensive cinema work outside the show.

Rawhide essentially launched his Western movie career. The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly was filmed in 1966, certainly a direct result of his work on the television show.

So, it is safe to say that the CBS executive who pegged him as a man fit for Western’s was definitely correct. You can thank that man for the wonderful work that Clint Eastwood has done ever since.

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