It was on this day, April 8, 1986 tough guy, actor/director Clint Eastwood was elected mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea, California (population 4,000), a wealthy picturesque seaside artist community on the Monterey Peninsula 80 miles south of San Francisco. He served one term. A focal point of Eastwood’s campaign was to overturn a law that banned eating ice cream in public (only in California.).
The turnout was double the norm. Residents of the Californian town voted overwhelmingly for actor Clint Eastwood as their mayor. The 55-year-old Hollywood star got nearly three-quarters of the vote. He polled 2,166 against the 799 votes cast for current mayor Charlotte Townsend, a former librarian. Two of Clint Eastwood’s supporters were also elected on to Carmel’s local council, giving him control of the five-member body.
Eastwood, a resident of Carmel for 14 years, decided to run for mayor after a series of clashes with the council. After being refused planning permission to renovate his restaurant, the movie star took legal action and had the decision overturned.
Eastwood has long shown an interest in politics. Elected mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea, California in April 1986, he was appointed to the California State Park and Recreation Commission by Governor Gray Davis in 2001. He was reappointed in 2004 by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, whom he supported in the elections of 2003 and 2006 (although Eastwood disapproved of the recall of Davis in 2003).
In 1952 Eastwood registered as a Republican in order to vote for Dwight D. Eisenhower and he passively supported Richard Nixon’s 1968 and 1972 presidential campaigns. He later criticized Nixon’s handling of the Vietnam War and his morality during Watergate.
Usually describing himself as a libertarian in interviews, fiscally conservative yet socially liberal, at times, he has supported Democrats in California, such as the liberal and environmentally concerned Representative Sam Farr in 2002. Eastwood contributed $1,000 to Farr’s successful re-election campaign that year and on May 23, 2003, he hosted a $5,000-per-ticket fundraiser for California’s Democratic governor, Gray Davis. Later that year, Eastwood offered to film a commercial in support of the embattled governor, and in 2001, the star visited Davis’ office to support an alternative energy bill written by another Democrat, California State Assemblyman Fred Keeley.
In general, Eastwood has favored less governmental interference in both the private economy and the private lives of individuals. A longtime liberal on civil rights, Eastwood has stated that he has always been pro-choice on abortion. He has also endorsed the notion of allowing gays to marry. “From a libertarian point of view, you would say, ‘Yeah? So what?’ You have to believe in total equality. People should be able to be what they want to be and do what they want – as long as they’re not harming people.”
Eastwood disapproved of America’s wars in Korea (1950–1953), Vietnam (1964–1975), and Iraq (2003–2011), believing that the United States should not be overly militaristic or play the role of global policeman.
During the 2008 United States Presidential Election, Eastwood endorsed John McCain for President; he has known McCain since 1973.
In August 2010, Eastwood wrote to the Chancellor of the Exchequer of the United Kingdom, George Osborne, to protest the decision to close the UK Film Council. Eastwood warned that the closure could result in fewer foreign production companies choosing to work in the UK.
When asked his opinion of the 2012 Republican presidential candidates in February 2012, Eastwood replied that Texas Congressman Ron Paul was “‘as good as anybody else’ in the race but that he will decide on a candidate in another month or two after ‘listening to all that crap on television (he has always called it as he see’s it.)
1892 – Mary Pickford (Gladys Louise Smith) (Academy Award-winning actress: Coquette [1928-29], Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, Stella Maris, The Taming of the Shrew, Pollyanna, A Poor Little Rich Girl; died May 29, 1979)
1923 – Edward Mulhare (actor: Megaforce, Our Man Flint, Von Ryan’s Express, Knight Rider; died May 24, 1997)
1926 – Shecky Greene (Sheldon Greenfield) (comedian, Las Vegas nightclub performer; actor: Splash, Mel Brooks’ History of the World — Part 1, Tony Rome, Laverne and Shirley, The A-Team, Northern Exposure)
1931 – John Gavin (Anthony Golenour) (actor: Psycho, Spartacus, A Time to Love & a Time to Die, Sophia Loren: Her Own Story)
1946 – Stuart Pankin (actor: The San Pedro Beach Bums, No Soap Radio, Nearly Departed, Knots Landing, Falcon Crest, Not Necessarily the News, the voice of Earl Sinclair in Dinosaurs, Father and Scout, Irreconcilable Differences, Arachnophobia, Fatal Attraction, Dirt Bike Kid)
1960 – John (Richard) Schneider (actor: Second Chances, Heaven Help Us, Grand Slam, Dukes of Hazzard, Night of the Twisters, Texas, Speed Zone, Stagecoach, Cocaine Wars, Smokey and the Bandit)
1968 – Patricia Arquette (actress: Medium, Flirting with Disaster, Holy Matrimony, True Romance, A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors; granddaughter of actor Cliff Arquette and sister of actress Roseanna Arquette)