Clint Eastwood has stayed silent and taken his lumps for over 60 years. Finally, he has decided to reveal the truth.
Clint Eastwood is a well-known icon of American entertainment, but the Hollywood legend has an incredible story that most people don’t know. The veteran actor and filmmaker who has risen to international fame was born in 1930 during the Great Depression to a modest background. His father was a migrant worker while his mother worked in a factory. But, there’s so much more to his story.
Eastwood weighed in at an astonishing 11.59 pounds at birth, which was considered a medical anomaly back then. He eventually grew to be 6 feet 2 inches tall and was drafted into the United States Army during the Korean War, according to Wikipedia. But, what many don’t know is that, at 21 years old, Eastwood was a passenger on a World War II-era Naval aircraft that crashed in the Pacific.
“I was catching a free ride from Seattle down to Almeda,” Eastwood said of the flight. “It was stormy and we went down off of Point Reyes, California, in the Pacific. I found myself in the water swimming a few miles towards the shore. I remember thinking, ‘well, 21 is not as long as a person wants to live.'”
The award-winning actor and director spent several hours in the Pacific, where he swam his way through beds of kelp before reaching shore and climbing up a cliff to radio for help. The experience may have prepared him to direct his film, “Sully: Miracle on the Hudson,” which chronicles the final moments of US Airways Flight 1549 and the dramatic aftermath, according to The Telegraph.
“Though he says that these events didn’t particularly figure in his decision to make the film, it did give him a unique insight both into the experiences of the passengers and crew, and the vital split-second decisions of Captain Chesley ‘Sully’ Sullenberger – decisions that were later challenged by the authorities, much to Eastwood’s annoyance,” the Telegraph reported.
“I suppose having been in a similar situation as the pilot, I would have chanced a water landing rather than go someplace where there’s no runway,” Eastwood said. “And of course, Sully was familiar with that area,” he continued, speaking of the quick-thinking pilot, Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, who made an important, split-second decision to land on the Hudson.
Although the heroic pilot successfully left the 155 passengers aboard his flight virtually unscathed, thanks to his skilled yet controversial landing after a bird-strike destroyed both of the aircraft’s engines, his choice to land in the water was shockingly contested by authorities.
“He knew where the helicopter ports and ferryboats were, so he picked the right spot, where everyone could get to them fast. It wouldn’t be like being out in the middle of the ocean,” Eastwood added of Sully, who’s played by star Tom Hanks in the film. “He knew that somebody would see them.”
Although Sully’s landing was undeniably miraculous, it’s what happened to Sullenberger after the crash that truly inspired Eastwood. “Anybody who keeps their wits about them when things are going wrong, who can negotiate problems without panicking, is someone of superior character, and interesting to watch on film,” Eastwood said. “But for me, the real conflict came after, with the investigative board questioning his decisions, even though he had saved so many lives.”