Clint Eastwood shares this valuable life lesson he learned on Mister Ed

"A horse is a horse, of course, of course" holds deeper meaning for Eastwood

By 1959, Clint Eastwood was eager to take the lead on his own TV show. We’re referring to, of course, Rawhide, a Western series where Eastwood quickly went from supporting actor to star. His career has since grown beyond just acting, having starred in some of the most thrilling Westerns and dramas in the 1960s and 1970s. He then famously transitioned behind the camera to become a director, even winning Oscars for both Best Director and Best Picture.

Eastwood recently released his latest film, The 15:17 to Paris. It recounts the true story of three Americans who confront a terrorist on a train headed to France. To stay true to the source material, Eastwood took the unconventional approach of casting the actual men who lived through the event to play themselves in his movie: actor/writer/TV personality Anthony Sadler, Oregon National Guardsman Alek Skarlatos, and U.S. Air Force Airman First Class Spencer Stone. Despite Eastwood himself not appearing in the film (a usual draw for his fans), the movie released in theaters on February 8th and managed to bring in $12 million during its opening weekend, proving audiences are interested in stories told not just by skilled actors, but also by real survivors and heroes.

In an interesting twist, Eastwood credits an unlikely source for teaching him how to develop his acting so he could learn to be true to himself and ultimately guide others to do the same: Mister Ed. Appearing on the show’s second season (“Clint Eastwood Meets Mister Ed”) helped him understand how to break down his own inhibitions so he could convincingly play the most challenging role for any actor to tackle: authentically portraying himself on screen. Here’s what Eastwood told The New York Times about his experience on Mister Ed:


“That’s when I first realized it wasn’t helpful to overanalyze things — I was asking myself a bunch of questions you shouldn’t, like, ‘What would the real me do in this situation?’ The most difficult thing for a professional actor to do is to play themselves. Most actors hide behind characters and don’t truly know who they are.”

Of course, the struggle for authenticity isn’t limited to actors, and we’ve always known that if anyone on TV embodies being true to themselves, it’s Mister Ed. Let’s all join in and sing his famous motto: “A horse is a horse, of course, of course.”

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