Muhammad Ali, Clint Eastwood TV Appearance

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Ali and Eastwood share a light moment during their taping of The David Frost Show on October 26, 1969

Ali and Eastwood share a light moment during their taping of The David Frost Show on October 27, 1969

Legendary British television personality and interviewer David Frost regularly featured a Who’s Who from politics and entertainment on his The David Frost Show, which ran in the U.S. from 1969 to 1972. Among the regular guests that appeared: Tiny Tim (13x), Rodney Dangerfield (10x), Burt Reynolds (6x) and Joan Baez (5x).

On October 27, 1969, Muhammad Ali – who appeared on the show four times – and Clint Eastwood (a three-timer), were Frost’s guests. The then-27-year-old Ali was in the midst of being stripped of his Heavyweight boxing title due to his refusal to being drafted into U.S. military service. It was almost one year to the day before he would return to the boxing ring – on October 26, 1970 – as his comeback began against Jerry Quarry.

For his part, Eastwood was promoting his role in the musical film Paint Your Wagon. To give you a sense of where this fell in his feature film career, it was several years after his three “Spaghetti westerns” and two years before “Squint’s” initial turn as Dirty Harry. The two icons seem like strange bedfellows, given the very different stances that we associate them with today, but they sure seemed to enjoy each other’s company on this occasion.

At one point, Ali says of Eastwood: “He’s a heck of an actor.” Our Classic Video…

Ali regained the Heavyweight crown in 1974 in an epic bout against George Foreman. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Syndrome in 1984 and the world has missed his remarkable wit since he passed on June 3, 2016.

Related: Muhammad Ali – Greatest showman of a generation

Eastwood, born May 31, 1930, has been nominated for 11 Academy Awards. He’s won four, including Best Director and Best Picture for both 1993’s Unforgiven and 2005’s Million Dollar Baby.

Frost died in 2013 at age 74.

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  1. Walt Coogan
    #1 Walt Coogan 23 July, 2016, 10:36

    Eastwood did say in 1969, “I’m against the war in Vietnam.” Five years later, he would describe himself as “liberal on civil rights.” Throughout his career, he has expressed support for racial integration and and skepticism of US wars overseas.

    Additionally, Ali would support some Republicans over the years, even endorsing Ronald Reagan in the fall of 1984. Therefore, they were not opposites on social and political issues.

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    • Karl Hughes
      Karl Hughes 2 June, 2020, 09:45

      Yes, many of Clint Eastwood’s films were popular with black audiences in the 60’s&70’s, and he was quite a liberal person by all accounts, unlike John Wayne of course.

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