Edward Aiona, a Hollywood prop master with close ties to Clint Eastwood, died of lung cancer compounded by heart trouble. Eastwood is reportedly devastated by the loss of his dear friend.
Aiona made his debut in Hollywood on the Dirty Harry film “Magnum Force” in 1973. After that, he worked on every one of Eastwood’s films until he retired. The two were very close.
Aiona’s assistant Mike Sexton reportedly said of the prop master, “He was extreme in getting what was required for the screenplay. If the sewing needle for ‘Unforgiven’ indicated the year was 1898, Eddie wouldn’t accept a needle from 1899. No one would know the difference except Eddie, who would track it down through a whole network of resources until he had it absolutely right, and this was in the era before access to the Internet.”
Sexton is now prop master at Eastwood’s production company, Malpaso.
Sexton continued, “It was the scene where Morgan Freeman darns Clint’s face. Eddie went from references he had for antique markets, period collectors and museums until he had the needle for that year and then put it together with a little kit that was period exact.”
After studying props for each movie, Aiona would show Eastwood how everything worked. Sextons aid, “Eddie showed Clint how to use all that stuff. That’s the property master’s job, too, to teach the actor how to handle these things, every single prop.”
Although he was a well-rounded prop master, Aiona’s specialty was weapons.
The prop master is survived by two sons and two daughters from his first marriage. He also has seven grandchildren.