Old School Americana & Nostalgia


How Clint Eastwood Survived a Plane Crash… Then Nearly Drowned

How Clint Eastwood Survived a Plane Crash… Then Nearly Drowned

Clint Eastwood has had a reputation for being a ladies man but that trait almost cost him his life in a plane crash. The Dirty Harry actor developed quite a fascination with a woman in Seattle, where his parents lived back in 1950.

Eastwood, who was living and working in California, definitely had the hots and found a way to get to her. He found a ride on a naval plane headed to Seattle. Well, this would have been a good idea but the naval plane had no seats. It was not equipped for passengers.

“It was a naval torpedo bomber – there were no seats – and I had to squeeze into the radar compartment on the plane,” Eastwood said in an interview with The Telegraph. Suddenly, an already precarious situation turned life-threatening – the plane door flew open. At this time, the plane was way, way up in the air.

Clint Eastwood Narrowly Survived Plane Crash

Clint Eastwood, according to his story, found himself stuck minus a working radio. He had no way to contact the cockpit or an airport tower. “I nearly fell out,” he said. “I was a mile up holding on for dear life.”

The plane itself started rising into the sky, the actor’s oxygen rapidly depleting. The lack of oxygen rendered the actor unconscious just before the plane began a nosedive toward the Pacific Ocean, having run out of gas.

The plane crash happened, forcing Clint Eastwood to get out of the plane and swim against the current. Eventually, he reached the beach land and collapsed. “I don’t recall how long it took to get out, but as I’ve said, it was an ordeal I never want to repeat,” Eastwood said. “I collapsed on the beach.”

All of this happened over the Man With No Name’s fascination with women. “I think I became hooked on girls at a fairly early age,” he explained.

Well, the story ends on a cliffhanger. Eastwood never revealed if he made it up to Seattle at all. One might presume that he just went back to his life, saving up to go visit his folks at another time.

There appears to be some confusion about what in the world Clint Eastwood was doing in the early 1950s. While this story somewhat makes it sound like Eastwood was in the Armed Forces, there is a counter-story. It’s possible that Eastwood was simply a lifeguard for the swimming pool at Fort Ord in northern California and not in the military at all.

Universal Studios Scout Discovers Future Actor

So, Clint Eastwood either left the military or was discharged in 1953. He then was spotted by a scout for Universal Pictures, and this led to him getting into acting. The actor picked up work in some movies and a couple of television spots, but nothing seemed to stick. Universal eventually let him go, putting him back out on the market of actors.

Longtime Clint Eastwood fans know that he got his big break on Rawhide. Playing “Rowdy” Yates, he was a side character for a few seasons before the show made him its principal lead actor. The show did quite well in the ratings for CBS yet eventually saw those numbers go down.

Eastwood reportedly was not happy with the role, plus he had to deal with people’s opinions of his work. He got a reputation for being lazy, despite working on Rawhide six days per week and even 12-hour days.

But he eventually found his way into the successful world of movies. Clint Eastwood also really never lost the twinkle in his eyes for the ladies, either.