Fact Check

Clint Eastwood's 'Twilight Years'

Ruminations attributed to actor Clint Eastwood address the finality of one's "twilight years" — and, of course, politics.

Published Mar 3, 2014

 (Denis Makarenko / Shutterstock.com)
Image Via Denis Makarenko / Shutterstock.com
An item variously titled "Clint Eastwood's Twilight Years" and "Preparing to Say Goodbye ... a message from Clint Eastwood" records words expressed by the actor.

Anyone who has viewed Clint Eastwood's infamous "empty chair" monologue at the 2012 Republican National Convention likely has no illusions that the Academy Award-winning actor/director was a fan of President Barack Obama. However, a much-circulated piece about the realizations of one's "twilight years" which ends with a castigation of President Obama was not a reproduction of anything Clint Eastwood said or wrote:

Clint Eastwood's Twilight Years

Let there be no doubt!

As I enjoy my twilight years, I am often struck by the inevitability that the party must end.

There will be a clear, cold morning when there isn't any "more."

No more hugs, no more special moments to celebrate together, no more phone calls just to chat.

It seems to me that one of the important things to do before that morning comes, is to let every one of your family and friends know that you care for them by finding simple ways to let them know your heartfelt beliefs and the guiding principles of your life so they can always say, "He was my friend, and I know where he stood."

So, just in case I'm gone tomorrow, please know this ...

I voted against that incompetent, lying, flip-flopping, insincere, double-talking, radical socialist, terrorist excusing, bleeding heart, narcissistic, scientific and economic moron currently in the White House!

In typical urban legend-like fashion, the earliest appearances of this item (from September and October 2013) are simply postings of untitled and uncredited e-mails that made no mention of Clint Eastwood; not until about three months later did versions identifying this piece as "Clint Eastwood's Twilight Years" begin to appear. (A representative for Eastwood also told us that he had nothing to do with this item.)

Clint Eastwood did express some thoughts on pending mortality during a January 2011 interview:

Eastwood is 80, with a good head of steel-grey hair and a tanned, lined face, but he still works like a man half his age. Although, he admits, thoughts of mortality are never far away these days. Indeed, his latest film as director, Hereafter, tackles head-on the subject of life after death.

"You're forced to think about death a lot at this age," he says, "because you've lost a lot of people. Let's put it this way, there wouldn't be much point in me attending a high-school reunion now because there wouldn't be anybody there. We'd struggle to raise a quorum. I picked up the paper the other day and another two were gone — people I'd grown up with.

"Whether you like it or not, you're forced to come to the realisation that death is out there. But I don't fear death, I'm a fatalist. I believe when it's your time, that's it. It's the hand you're dealt. And I don't feel any different to how I did when I was 60 or 70. I felt good then, and I feel good now."

He also offered some political comments in that interview which included a brief critical remark about President Obama, although one far less caustic in tone than the item reproduced above:

In the last U.S. election he voted for the Republican candidate John McCain rather than Barack Obama.

"The first time I voted I was in the army. It was during the Korean War and I voted Republican because it was Eisenhower and he was somewhat heroic to all of us from World War II. So I became a Republican, but I've supported Democrats at times, and I don't necessarily adhere to one line. Sometimes parties make mistakes — they both have. And our parties are in terrible shape — these days we don't know where the hell they are.

"I voted for McCain, not because he was a Republican, but because he had been through war (in Vietnam) and I thought he might understand the war in Iraq better than somebody who hadn't. I didn't agree with him on a lot of stuff.

"I loved the fact that Obama is multi-racial. I thought that was terrific, as my wife is the same racial make-up. But I felt he was a greenhorn, and it turned out he didn't have experience in decision-making."

A slightly revised version of the faux Eastwood essay made the social media rounds toward the end of the 2020 presidential campaign season, this time with Democratic nominee Joe Biden's name inserted into the text as the object of derision: