There is a reason that actor and director Clint Eastwood tends to gravitate toward playing the hero — it’s because he is also a hero in real life. Back in 1966, production began for what is now considered the definitive example of a spaghetti Western film, called The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Eastwood starred as Blondie, or “The Good,” alongside Lee Van Cleef as Angel Eyes, or “The Bad,” and Eli Wallach as Tuco Benedicto Pacífico Juan María Ramírez, or “The Ugly” (per Mental Floss).
Throughout the filming of the movie, each actor was involved in several risky stunts. According to Outsider, Eastwood and Wallach’s characters were supposed to blow up a bridge to separate the Union and Confederate armies. At some point during that scene, the film’s director, Sergio Leone, was supposed to signal the pyrotechnics crew to blow up the bridge. However, due to a misunderstanding of sorts, the pyrotechnics crew blew up the bridge prematurely — within close range of where Eastwood and Wallach had been standing just seconds before the start of the scene.
Fortunately for Wallach (who might have been seriously hurt or even killed by the premature explosion), Eastwood had the foresight to lead his co-star to a safer location after his intuition told him that they might be in danger. Eastwood also had his own brush with near-death after another explosion caused a large rock to launch across the set, coming only inches away from hitting Eastwood in the head.
Eastwood saved another life during a golf tournament
Back in 2014, then-83-year-old Clint Eastwood proved yet again that he is a hero off the set as well. While attending an event for volunteers at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am golf tournament, Eastwood performed the Heimlich maneuver on tournament director Steve John, who was choking on a piece of cheese. The actor happened to lock eyes with John and took action immediately (per Vanity Fair).
“I was drinking water and eating these little appetizers, threw down a piece of cheese and it just didn’t work,” John told The Associated Press at the time. “I was looking at [Eastwood] and couldn’t breathe. He recognized it immediately and saved my life. I can’t believe I’m 202 pounds and he threw me up in the air three times.”
In an interview with The Carmel Pine Cone, Eastwood admitted that the entire situation was frightening. “I looked in his eyes and saw that look of panic people have when they see their life passing before their eyes,” Eastwood told the outlet. “It looked bad.” According to the weekly, this was the first time that Eastwood had ever used the Heimlich maneuver. Here’s hoping that Eastwood is around for your next near-death accident.
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