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Clint Eastwood Ruined Movie Career of Former Girlfriend, Court Is Told

September 12, 1996

Movie star Clint Eastwood ruined the career of his former girlfriend, actress Sondra Locke, by getting her a movie development deal in return for calling off a palimony suit, and then using his influence to block her from actually making any films, Locke's attorney contended Wednesday.

"This deal with Warner Bros. was a sham. It was not real," attorney Peggy Garrity told jurors during her opening arguments in Locke's $2-million civil suit against Eastwood for fraud and contractual interference in Burbank Superior Court.

"She [Locke] has not done any work as a film director since she made that deal with Warner Bros.," Garrity said. "It caused her serious harm and destroyed her directorial career."

As a director at Warner Bros. from 1990-93, Locke proposed 30 films to the studio's producers, all of which were rejected, Garrity said.

Eastwood's attorney, Raymond C. Fisher, said in his opening remarks Wednesday that Locke will not be able to prove that Eastwood knowingly and intentionally defrauded her. In fact, he said, Eastwood believed Locke was a talented filmmaker and had hoped to "help her directorial career."

Locke, 49, met Eastwood on a movie set in 1975 and had a 13-year relationship with him. They co-starred in several films.

Locke filed a palimony suit against Eastwood in 1989, but she dropped the case when Eastwood agreed to help her get a deal with Warner Bros.

He helped negotiate a $1.5-million three-year deal that gave the studio first right of refusal for any movie that Locke wanted to develop or direct. Eastwood also paid Locke $450,000 and gave her title to a Hollywood Hills home appraised at $650,000, according to court records.

But Garrity said Eastwood did not tell Locke about a "secret reimbursement agreement," in which the actor agreed to repay the studio any expenses it incurred as a result of the Locke deal.

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