Movie legend Clint Eastwood turned real-life hero at a golf club gala on Wednesday (05Feb14) after saving a choking tournament director's life.

The actor/director jumped into action when Steve John began choking on a piece of cheese at an At&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am party, held at the Monterey Conference Center in California, and performed the Heimlich manoeuvre on him.

The Dirty Harry star, 83, tells the Carmel Pine Cone newspaper, "I looked in his eyes and saw that look of panic people have when they see their life passing before their eyes. It looked bad."

A relieved John adds, "I was drinking water and eating these little appetisers, threw down a piece of cheese and it just didn't work. I was looking at him and couldn't breathe. He recognised it immediately and saved my life."