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Despite the novel receiving unfavorable reviews and a subject deemed potentially unsuitable for film The Bridges of Madison County was a commercial and critical success. Roger Ebert compared the nature and vulnerability of Eastwood's portrayal of Josey Wales with his Man with No Name character in the Dollars westerns and praised the film's atmosphere. Although a moderate hit with the viewing public critics had mixed feelings about the film with many believing it was overly violent.
He also served as the nonpartisan mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea California from 1986 to 1988. Eastwood first came to prominence as a supporting cast member in the TV series Rawhide (1959–1966). In 2000 he was awarded the Italian Venice Film Festival Golden Lion for lifetime achievement.