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Eastwood saves tournament director from choking

Director Clint Eastwood is interviewed at the opening night gala for AFI Fest 2011 with the premiere of Eastwood's film "J. Edgar" in Hollyw
Director Clint Eastwood is interviewed at the opening night gala for AFI Fest 2011 with the premiere of Eastwood's film "J. Edgar" in Hollyw

(Reuters) - Hollywood actor-director Clint Eastwood delivered an unexpected star turn when he saved the tournament director of this week's AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am from choking during a dinner on the eve of the golf event.

Eastwood, 83, noticed a "look of panic" on the face of tournament official Steve John as he tried to swallow a piece of cheese during a function for tournament volunteers at the Monterey Conference Center in California on Wednesday night.

Immediately, Eastwood stepped in and performed the Heimlich maneuver, the Carmel Pine Cone reported in Friday's edition.

"I looked in his eyes and saw that look of panic people have when they see their life passing before their eyes," Eastwood told the newspaper. "It looked bad.

"The look on Steve's face was different than when somebody is just coughing or joking around.

"I gave him three good jolts, and that got it out. And then I made him drink a big glass of water with a bunch of lemon squeezed in it."

Eastwood, a prominent figure at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am where he used to compete as an amateur, said it was the first time he had used the Heimlich maneuver.

"We were just talking," John said. "A piece of cheese went in my mouth, and suddenly I couldn't breathe. It was as bad as it could have been.

"Clint came up behind me, and he knew exactly what to do. He lifted me right off the ground. He's strong! The cheese popped out, and I was fine. Clint saved my life."

Eastwood performs an official role at the tournament as chairman of the Monterey Peninsula Foundation and presents the trophy to the winner on Sunday. Previous recipients include Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.

(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Gene Cherry)

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