Despite his tough characters, Clint Eastwood was surprisingly tender
The actor once refused to kill a moth.
Clint Eastwood is primarily viewed as the quintessential "tough guy" in films. He's the gun-slinger extraordinaire, the morally ambiguous protagonist in any gritty film you love to rewatch. He's an idol, and for many, the picture of what it means to be a man.
All of this considered you might be surprised that the Rawhide star is actually not so hard-hearted as his characters may have led you to believe. One Eastwood anecdote in The Toronto Star exemplifies this, and comes from his script editor Sonia Chernus, who called Eastwood "the gentlest person I know." She explained, "He can't bear to kill anything, including a moth which I asked him to get rid of in my apartment."
In fact, while he's usually one of the best shots in the West in many of his productions, Eastwood isn't too keen on violence and killing. He said of hunting, "I never liked killing things. Some people are taken by it. Maybe it's the form of masculine expression. I don't know. I'd be interested in speaking to a psychologist about that."
Even more confusingly, Eastwood, now known as the quintessential Western man, almost refused to act in his series Rawhide when the opportunity presented itself to him. His reasoning? Because it was a Western, of course.
Eastwood said, "I didn't want to do a western - westerns were dead." He said of Rawhide, "But then I recognized Yojimbo in it, and you could feel a lot of the black humor. And I thought, nobody'd ever have the nerve to do this in America."
But while Eastwood doesn't seem to agree with violence to extreme measures, he now understands the appeal of a good old-fashioned revenge plotline in a Western. He said, "Everybody has a dream about how they'd like to handle certain situations, every boy from nine to one hundred would like to take vengeance into his own hands...'The vengeance is mine.' People need to see that."