Overview of life
Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger (/ˈʃwɔːrtsənˌɛɡər/; German: [ˈaɐ̯nɔlt ˈalɔʏs ˈʃvaɐ̯tsn̩ˌɛɡɐ]; born July 30, 1947) is an Austrian-American actor, producer, businessman, investor, author, philanthropist, activist, politician and former professional bodybuilder. He served two terms as the 38th Governor of California from 2003 until 2011.
Schwarzenegger began weight training at the age of 15. He won the Mr. Universe title at age 20 and went on to win the Mr. Olympia contest seven times. Schwarzenegger has remained a prominent presence in bodybuilding and has written many books and articles on the sport. He is widely considered to be among the greatest bodybuilders of all time as well as bodybuilding’s biggest icon. Schwarzenegger gained worldwide fame as a Hollywood action film icon. His breakthrough film was the sword-and-sorcery epic Conan the Barbarian in 1982, which was a box office hit and resulted in a sequel.
In 1984, Schwarzenegger appeared in James Cameron’s science-fiction thriller film The Terminator, which was a massive critical and commercial success. Schwarzenegger subsequently reprised the Terminator character in the franchise’s later instalments: Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003), and Terminator Genisys (2015). He has appeared in a number of successful films, such as Commando (1985), The Running Man (1987), Predator (1987), Twins (1988), Total Recall (1990), Kindergarten Cop (1990), and True Lies (1994). In 2015, it was announced that Schwarzenegger would replace Donald Trump as the host of The Celebrity Apprentice, though he left after one season due to conflicts caused by Trump’s remarks. Schwarzenegger was nicknamed “the Austrian Oak” in his bodybuilding days, “Arnie” during his acting career, and “The Governator” (a portmanteau of “Governor” and “The Terminator”) during his political career.
As a Republican, Schwarzenegger was first elected on October 7, 2003, in a special recall election to replace then-Governor Gray Davis. He was sworn in on November 17, to serve the remainder of Davis’ term. He was then re-elected on November 7, 2006, in the 2006 California gubernatorial election, to serve a full term as governor, defeating Democrat Phil Angelides, who was California State Treasurer at the time. Schwarzenegger was sworn in for his second term on January 5, 2007. In 2011, he completed his second term as governor and returned to acting.
Schwarzenegger was born on July 30, 1947 in Thal, Styria, and christened Arnold Alois. His parents were Gustav Schwarzenegger (August 17, 1907 – December 13, 1972) and Aurelia Schwarzenegger (née Jadrny; July 29, 1922 – August 2, 1998). Gustav was the local chief of police, and had served in World War II as a Hauptfeldwebel after voluntarily joining the Nazi Party in 1938, though he was discharged in 1943 following a bout of malaria. He married Aurelia on October 20, 1945; he was 38, and she was 23. According to Schwarzenegger, both of his parents were very strict: “Back then in Austria it was a very different world … if we did something bad or we disobeyed our parents, the rod was not spared.” Schwarzenegger grew up in a Roman Catholic family who attended Mass every Sunday.
Gustav had a preference for his elder son, Meinhard (July 17, 1946 – May 20, 1971), over Arnold. His favoritism was “strong and blatant”, which stemmed from unfounded suspicion that Arnold was not his biological child. Schwarzenegger has said his father had “no patience for listening or understanding your problems”. He had a good relationship with his mother and kept in touch with her until her death. In later life, Schwarzenegger commissioned the Simon Wiesenthal Center to research his father’s wartime record, which came up with no evidence of Gustav’s being involved in atrocities, despite his membership in the Nazi Party and SA. Gustav’s background received wide press attention during the 2003 California recall campaign. At school, Schwarzenegger was reportedly academically average, but stood out for his “cheerful, good-humored, and exuberant” character. Money was a problem in their household; Schwarzenegger recalled that one of the highlights of his youth was when the family bought a refrigerator.
As a boy, Schwarzenegger played several sports, heavily influenced by his father. He picked up his first barbell in 1960, when his soccer coach took his team to a local gym. At the age of 14, he chose bodybuilding over soccer as a career. Schwarzenegger has responded to a question asking if he was 13 when he started weightlifting: “I actually started weight training when I was 15, but I’d been participating in sports, like soccer, for years, so I felt that although I was slim, I was well-developed, at least enough so that I could start going to the gym and start Olympic lifting.” However, his official website biography claims: “At 14, he started an intensive training program with Dan Farmer, studied psychology at 15 (to learn more about the power of mind over body) and at 17, officially started his competitive career.” During a speech in 2001, he said, “My own plan formed when I was 14 years old. My father had wanted me to be a police officer like he was. My mother wanted me to go to trade school.”
Schwarzenegger took to visiting a gym in Graz, where he also frequented the local movie theaters to see bodybuilding idols such as Reg Park, Steve Reeves, and Johnny Weissmuller on the big screen. When Reeves died in 2000, Schwarzenegger fondly remembered him: “As a teenager, I grew up with Steve Reeves. His remarkable accomplishments allowed me a sense of what was possible, when others around me didn’t always understand my dreams. Steve Reeves has been part of everything I’ve ever been fortunate enough to achieve.” In 1961, Schwarzenegger met former Mr. Austria Kurt Marnul, who invited him to train at the gym in Graz. He was so dedicated as a youngster that he broke into the local gym on weekends, when it was usually closed, so that he could train. “It would make me sick to miss a workout… I knew I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror the next morning if I didn’t do it.” When Schwarzenegger was asked about his first movie experience as a boy, he replied: “I was very young, but I remember my father taking me to the Austrian theaters and seeing some newsreels. The first real movie I saw, that I distinctly remember, was a John Wayne movie.”
Schwarzenegger’s brother, Meinhard, died in a car crash on May 20, 1971. He was driving drunk and died instantly. Schwarzenegger did not attend his funeral. Meinhard was engaged to Erika Knapp, and they had a three-year-old son named Patrick. Schwarzenegger paid for Patrick’s education and helped him to move to the U.S. Gustav died on December 13, 1972, from a stroke. In Pumping Iron, Schwarzenegger claimed that he did not attend his father’s funeral because he was training for a bodybuilding contest. Later, he and the film’s producer said this story was taken from another bodybuilder to show the extremes that some would go to for their sport and to make Schwarzenegger’s image more cold and robotic to create controversy for the film. Barbara Baker, his first serious girlfriend, recalled that he informed her of his father’s death without emotion and that he never spoke of his brother. Over time, he has given at least three versions of why he was absent from his father’s funeral.
In an interview with Fortune in 2004, Schwarzenegger told how he suffered what “would now be called child abuse” at the hands of his father: “My hair was pulled. I was hit with belts. So was the kid next door. It was just the way it was. Many of the children I’ve seen were broken by their parents, which was the German-Austrian mentality. They didn’t want to create an individual. It was all about conforming. I was one who did not conform, and whose will could not be broken. Therefore, I became a rebel. Every time I got hit, and every time someone said, ‘You can’t do this,’ I said, ‘This is not going to be for much longer, because I’m going to move out of here. I want to be rich. I want to be somebody.'”
Schwarzenegger served in the Austrian Army in 1965 to fulfill the one year of service required at the time of all 18-year-old Austrian males. During his army service, he won the Junior Mr. Europe contest. He went AWOL during basic training so he could take part in the competition and spent a week in military prison: “Participating in the competition meant so much to me that I didn’t carefully think through the consequences.” He won another bodybuilding contest in Graz, at Steirerhof Hotel (where he placed second). He was voted best built man of Europe, which made him famous. “The Mr. Universe title was my ticket to America – the land of opportunity, where I could become a star and get rich.” Schwarzenegger made his first plane trip in 1966, attending the NABBA Mr. Universe competition in London. He would come in second in the Mr. Universe competition, not having the muscle definition of American winner Chester Yorton.
Charles “Wag” Bennett, one of the judges at the 1966 competition, was impressed with Schwarzenegger and he offered to coach him. As Schwarzenegger had little money, Bennett invited him to stay in his crowded family home above one of his two gyms in Forest Gate, London, England. Yorton’s leg definition had been judged superior, and Schwarzenegger, under a training program devised by Bennett, concentrated on improving the muscle definition and power in his legs. Staying in the East End of London helped Schwarzenegger improve his rudimentary grasp of the English language. Living with the Bennetts also changed him as a person: “Being with them made me so much more sophisticated. When you’re the age I was then, you’re always looking for approval, for love, for attention and also for guidance. At the time, I wasn’t really aware of that. But now, looking back, I see that the Bennett family fulfilled all those needs. Especially my need to be the best in the world. To be recognized and to feel unique and special. They saw that I needed that care and attention and love.” Also in 1966, while at the Bennett’s home, Schwarzenegger had the opportunity to meet childhood idol Reg Park, who became his friend and mentor. The training paid off and, in 1967, Schwarzenegger won the title for the first time, becoming the youngest ever Mr. Universe at the age of 20. He would go on to win the title a further three times. Schwarzenegger then flew back to Munich, where he attended a business school and worked in a health club (Rolf Putziger’s gym where he worked and trained from 1966–1968), returning in 1968 to London to win his next Mr. Universe title. He frequently told Roger C. Field, his English coach and friend in Munich at that time, “I’m going to become the greatest actor!”
Move to the U.S.
Schwarzenegger with President Ronald Reagan in 1984
Schwarzenegger, who dreamed of moving to the U.S. since the age of 10, and saw bodybuilding as the avenue through which to do so, realized his dream by moving to the United States in September 1968 at the age of 21, speaking little English. There he trained at Gold’s Gym in Venice, Los Angeles, California, under Joe Weider. From 1970 to 1974, one of Schwarzenegger’s weight training partners was Ric Drasin, a professional wrestler who designed the original Gold’s Gym logo in 1973. Schwarzenegger also became good friends with professional wrestler Superstar Billy Graham. In 1970, at age 23, he captured his first Mr. Olympia title in New York, and would go on to win the title a total of seven times.
The immigration law firm Siskind & Susser has stated that Schwarzenegger may have been an illegal immigrant at some point in the late 1960s or early 1970s because of violations in the terms of his visa. LA Weekly would later say in 2002 that Schwarzenegger is the most famous immigrant in America, who “overcame a thick Austrian accent and transcended the unlikely background of bodybuilding to become the biggest movie star in the world in the 1990s”.
In 1977, Schwarzenegger’s autobiography/weight-training guide Arnold: The Education of a Bodybuilder was published and became a huge success. In 1977 he posed nude for the gay magazine After Dark. After taking English classes at Santa Monica College in California, he earned a BA by correspondence from the University of Wisconsin–Superior, in international marketing of fitness and business administration in 1979. He got his American citizenship in 1983.
He tells that during this time he ran into a friend who told him that he was teaching Transcendental Meditation (TM), which prompted Schwarzenegger to reveal he had been struggling with anxiety for the first time in his life: “Even today, I still benefit from [the year of TM] because I don’t merge and bring things together and see everything as one big problem.”
Body building career
Schwarzenegger is considered among the most important figures in the history of bodybuilding, and his legacy is commemorated in the Arnold Classic annual bodybuilding competition. He has remained a prominent face in bodybuilding long after his retirement, in part because of his ownership of gyms and fitness magazines. He has presided over numerous contests and awards shows.
For many years, he wrote a monthly column for the bodybuilding magazines Muscle & Fitness and Flex. Shortly after being elected Governor, he was appointed executive editor of both magazines, in a largely symbolic capacity. The magazines agreed to donate $250,000 a year to the Governor’s various physical fitness initiatives. When the deal, including the contract that gave Schwarzenegger at least $1 million a year, was made public in 2005, many criticized it as being a conflict of interest since the governor’s office made decisions concerning regulation of dietary supplements in California. Consequently, Schwarzenegger relinquished the executive editor role in 2005. American Media Inc., which owns Muscle & Fitness and Flex, announced in March 2013 that Schwarzenegger had accepted their renewed offer to be executive editor of the magazines.
The magazine MuscleMag International has a monthly two-page article on him, and refers to him as “The King”.
One of the first competitions he won was the Junior Mr. Europe contest in 1965. He won Mr. Europe the following year, at age 19. He would go on to compete in, and win, many bodybuilding contests. His bodybuilding victories included five Mr. Universe (4 – NABBA [England], 1 – IFBB [USA]) wins, and seven Mr. Olympia wins, a record which would stand until Lee Haney won his eighth consecutive Mr. Olympia title in 1991.
Schwarzenegger continues to work out even today. When asked about his personal training during the 2011 Arnold Classic he said that he was still working out a half an hour with weights every day.
Competition weight: 235 lb (107 kg)
Off-season weight: 260 lb (120 kg)
During Schwarzenegger’s early years in bodybuilding, he also competed in several Olympic weightlifting and powerlifting contests. Schwarzenegger won two weightlifting contests in 1964 and 1965, as well as two powerlifting contests in 1966 and 1968.
In 1967, Schwarzenegger won the Munich stone-lifting contest, in which a stone weighing 508 German pounds (254 kg/560 lbs.) is lifted between the legs while standing on two foot rests.
Clean and press – 264 lb (120 kg)
Snatch – 243 lb (110 kg)
Clean and jerk – 298 lb (135 kg)
Squat – 545 lb (247 kg)
Bench press – 520 lb (240 kg)
Deadlift – 710 lb (320 kg)
Schwarzenegger, pictured with 1987 world champion American Karyn Marshall, presenting awards at the USA Weightlifting Hall of Fame in 2011 in Columbus, Ohio
Schwarzenegger’s goal was to become the greatest bodybuilder in the world, which meant becoming Mr. Olympia. His first attempt was in 1969, when he lost to three-time champion Sergio Oliva. However, Schwarzenegger came back in 1970 and won the competition, making him the youngest ever Mr. Olympia at the age of 23, a record he still holds to this day.
He continued his winning streak in the 1971–74 competitions. In 1975, Schwarzenegger was once again in top form, and won the title for the sixth consecutive time, beating Franco Columbu. After the 1975 Mr. Olympia contest, Schwarzenegger announced his retirement from professional bodybuilding.
Months before the 1975 Mr. Olympia contest, filmmakers George Butler and Robert Fiore persuaded Schwarzenegger to compete, in order to film his training in the bodybuilding documentary called Pumping Iron. Schwarzenegger had only three months to prepare for the competition, after losing significant weight to appear in the film Stay Hungry with Jeff Bridges. Lou Ferrigno proved not to be a threat, and a lighter-than-usual Schwarzenegger convincingly won the 1975 Mr. Olympia.
Schwarzenegger came out of retirement, however, to compete in the 1980 Mr. Olympia. Schwarzenegger was training for his role in Conan, and he got into such good shape because of the running, horseback riding and sword training, that he decided he wanted to win the Mr. Olympia contest one last time. He kept this plan a secret, in the event that a training accident would prevent his entry and cause him to lose face. Schwarzenegger had been hired to provide color commentary for network television, when he announced at the eleventh hour that while he was there: “Why not compete?” Schwarzenegger ended up winning the event with only seven weeks of preparation. After being declared Mr. Olympia for a seventh time, Schwarzenegger then officially retired from competition.
Schwarzenegger has admitted to using performance-enhancing anabolic steroids while they were legal, writing in 1977 that “steroids were helpful to me in maintaining muscle size while on a strict diet in preparation for a contest. I did not use them for muscle growth, but rather for muscle maintenance when cutting up.” He has called the drugs “tissue building”.
In 1999, Schwarzenegger sued Dr. Willi Heepe, a German doctor who publicly predicted his early death on the basis of a link between his steroid use and his later heart problems. As the doctor had never examined him personally, Schwarzenegger collected a US$10,000 libel judgment against him in a German court. In 1999, Schwarzenegger also sued and settled with the Globe, a U.S. tabloid which had made similar predictions about the bodybuilder’s future health.
List of competitions
Year Competition Location Result and notes
1965 Junior Mr. Europe Germany 1st
1966 Best Built Man of Europe Germany 1st
1966 Mr. Europe Germany 1st
1966 International Powerlifting Championship Germany 1st
1966 NABBA Mr. Universe amateur London 2nd to Chet Yorton
1967 NABBA Mr. Universe amateur London 1st
1968 NABBA Mr. Universe professional London 1st
1968 German Powerlifting Championship Germany 1st
1968 IFBB Mr. International Mexico 1st
1968 IFBB Mr. Universe Florida 2nd to Frank Zane
1969 IFBB Mr. Universe amateur New York 1st
1969 NABBA Mr. Universe professional London 1st
1969 Mr. Olympia New York 2nd to Sergio Oliva
1970 NABBA Mr. Universe professional London 1st. Defeated his idol Reg Park
1970 Mr. World Columbus, Ohio 1st. Defeated Sergio Oliva for the first time
1970 Mr. Olympia New York 1st
1971 Mr. Olympia Paris 1st
1972 Mr. Olympia Essen, Germany 1st
1973 Mr. Olympia New York 1st
1974 Mr. Olympia New York 1st
1975 Mr. Olympia Pretoria, South Africa 1st. Subject of the documentary Pumping Iron
1980 Mr. Olympia Sydney, Australia 1st
Height: 6’2″ (188 cm)
Contest weight: 235 lb (107 kg)
Off-season weight: 260 lb (120 kg)
Arms: 22 in (56 cm)
Chest: 57 in (140 cm)
Waist: 34 in (86 cm)
Thighs: 28.5 in (72 cm)
Calves: 20 in (51 cm)
Schwarzenegger wanted to move from bodybuilding into acting, finally achieving it when he was chosen to play the role of Hercules in 1970’s Hercules in New York. Credited under the stage name “Arnold Strong”, his accent in the film was so thick that his lines were dubbed after production. His second film appearance was as a deaf-mute mob hitman in The Long Goodbye (1973), which was followed by a much more significant part in the film Stay Hungry (1976), for which he was awarded a Golden Globe for New Male Star of the Year. Schwarzenegger has discussed his early struggles in developing his acting career: “It was very difficult for me in the beginning – I was told by agents and casting people that my body was ‘too weird’, that I had a funny accent, and that my name was too long. You name it, and they told me I had to change it. Basically, everywhere I turned, I was told that I had no chance.”
Schwarzenegger drew attention and boosted his profile in the bodybuilding film Pumping Iron (1977), elements of which were dramatized; in 1991, he purchased the rights to the film, its outtakes, and associated still photography. In 1977, he made guest appearances in single episodes of the ABC sitcom The San Pedro Beach Bums and the ABC police procedural The Streets of San Francisco. Schwarzenegger auditioned for the title role of The Incredible Hulk, but did not win the role because of his height. Later, Lou Ferrigno got the part of Dr. David Banner’s alter ego. Schwarzenegger appeared with Kirk Douglas and Ann-Margret in the 1979 comedy The Villain. In 1980, he starred in a biographical film of the 1950s actress Jayne Mansfield as Mansfield’s husband, Mickey Hargitay.
Schwarzenegger’s breakthrough film was the sword-and-sorcery epic Conan the Barbarian in 1982, which was a box-office hit. This was followed by a sequel, Conan the Destroyer, in 1984, although it was not as successful as its predecessor. In 1983, Schwarzenegger starred in the promotional video, Carnival in Rio. In 1984, he made his first appearance as the eponymous character, and what some would say was his acting career’s signature role, in James Cameron’s science fiction thriller film The Terminator. Following this, Schwarzenegger made Red Sonja in 1985.
During the 1980s, audiences had an appetite for action films, with both Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone becoming international stars. Schwarzenegger’s roles reflected his sense of humor, separating him from more serious action hero films, such as the alternative universe poster for Terminator 2: Judgment Day starring Stallone in the comedy thriller Last Action Hero. He made a number of successful films, such as Commando (1985), Raw Deal (1986), The Running Man (1987), Predator (1987), and Red Heat (1988).
Footprints and handprints of Arnold Schwarzenegger in front of the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, with his famous catchphrase “I’ll be back” written in.
Twins (1988), a comedy with Danny DeVito, also proved successful. Total Recall (1990) netted Schwarzenegger $10 million and 15% of the film’s gross. A science fiction script, the film was based on the Philip K. Dick short story “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale”. Kindergarten Cop (1990) reunited him with director Ivan Reitman, who directed him in Twins. Schwarzenegger had a brief foray into directing, first with a 1990 episode of the TV series Tales from the Crypt, entitled “The Switch”, and then with the 1992 telemovie Christmas in Connecticut. He has not directed since.
Schwarzenegger’s commercial peak was his return as the title character in 1991’s Terminator 2: Judgment Day, which was the highest-grossing film of 1991. In 1993, the National Association of Theatre Owners named him the “International Star of the Decade”. His next film project, the 1993 self-aware action comedy spoof Last Action Hero, was released opposite Jurassic Park, and did not do well at the box office. His next film, the comedy drama True Lies (1994), was a popular spy film, and saw Schwarzenegger reunited with James Cameron.
That same year, the comedy Junior was released, the last of Schwarzenegger’s three collaborations with Ivan Reitman and again co-starring Danny DeVito. This film brought him his second Golden Globe nomination, this time for Best Actor – Musical or Comedy. It was followed by the action thriller Eraser (1996), the Christmas comedy Jingle All The Way (1996), and the comic book-based Batman & Robin (1997), in which he played the villain Mr. Freeze. This was his final film before taking time to recuperate from a back injury. Following the critical failure of Batman & Robin, his film career and box office prominence went into decline. He returned with the supernatural thriller End of Days (1999), later followed by the action films The 6th Day (2000) and Collateral Damage (2002), both of which failed to do well at the box office. In 2003, he made his third appearance as the title character in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, which went on to earn over $150 million domestically.
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
In tribute to Schwarzenegger in 2002, Forum Stadtpark, a local cultural association, proposed plans to build a 25-meter (82 ft) tall Terminator statue in a park in central Graz. Schwarzenegger reportedly said he was flattered, but thought the money would be better spent on social projects and the Special Olympics.
His film appearances after becoming Governor of California included a three-second cameo appearance in The Rundown, and the 2004 remake of Around the World in 80 Days. In 2005, he appeared as himself in the film The Kid & I. He voiced Baron von Steuben in the Liberty’s Kids episode “Valley Forge”. He had been rumored to be appearing in Terminator Salvation as the original T-800; he denied his involvement, but he ultimately did appear briefly via his image being inserted into the movie from stock footage of the first Terminator movie. Schwarzenegger appeared in Sylvester Stallone’s The Expendables, where he made a cameo appearance.
Return to acting
In January 2011, just weeks after leaving office in California, Schwarzenegger announced that he was reading several new scripts for future films, one of them being the World War II action drama With Wings as Eagles, written by Randall Wallace, based on a true story. On March 6, 2011, at the Arnold Seminar of the Arnold Classic, Schwarzenegger revealed that he was being considered for several films, including sequels to The Terminator and remakes of Predator and The Running Man, and that he was “packaging” a comic book character. The character was later revealed to be the Governator, star of the comic book and animated series of the same name. Schwarzenegger inspired the character and co-developed it with Stan Lee, who would have produced the series. Schwarzenegger would have voiced the Governator.
On May 20, 2011, Schwarzenegger’s entertainment counsel announced that all movie projects currently in development were being halted: “Schwarzenegger is focusing on personal matters and is not willing to commit to any production schedules or timelines”. On July 11, 2011, it was announced that Schwarzenegger was considering a comeback film despite his legal problems. He appeared in The Expendables 2 (2012), and starred in The Last Stand (2013), his first leading role in 10 years, and Escape Plan (2013), his first co-starring role alongside Sylvester Stallone. He starred in Sabotage, released in March 2014, and appeared in The Expendables 3, released in August 2014. He starred in the fifth Terminator movie Terminator Genisys in 2015 and will reprise his role as Conan the Barbarian in The Legend of Conan, later renamed Conan the Conqueror.
In August 2016, his filming of action-comedy Why We’re Killing Gunther was temporarily interrupted by bank robbers near filming location in Surrey, British Columbia. He was announced to star and produce in a film about the ruins of Sanxingdui called The Guest of Sanxingdui, as an ambassador.
The Celebrity Apprentice
In September 2015, it was announced Schwarzenegger would replace Donald Trump as host of The New Celebrity Apprentice. This show, the 15th season of The Apprentice, aired during the 2016–2017 TV season. In the show, he used the phrases “you’re terminated” and “get to the choppa”, which are quotes from some of his famous roles, when firing the contestants.
In March 2017, following repeated criticisms from Donald Trump, Schwarzenegger announced that he would not return for another season on the show.
Main article: Arnold Schwarzenegger filmography
Selected notable roles:
Hercules in New York as Hercules (1970)
Stay Hungry as Joe Santo (1976)
Pumping Iron as himself (1977)
The Villain as Handsome Stranger (1979)
The Jayne Mansfield Story as Mickey Hargitay (1980)
Conan the Barbarian as Conan (1982)
Conan the Destroyer as Conan (1984)
The Terminator as The Terminator/T-800 Model 101 (1984)
Red Sonja as Kalidor (1985)
Commando as John Matrix (1985)
Raw Deal as Mark Kaminsky, a.k.a. Joseph P. Brenner (1986)
Predator as Major Alan “Dutch” Schaeffer (1987)
The Running Man as Ben Richards (1987)
Red Heat as Captain Ivan Danko (1988)
Twins as Julius Benedict (1988)
Total Recall as Douglas Quaid/Hauser (1990)
Kindergarten Cop as Detective John Kimble (1990)
Terminator 2: Judgment Day as The Terminator/T-800 Model 101 (1991)
Last Action Hero as Jack Slater / Himself (1993)
True Lies as Harry Tasker (1994)
Junior as Dr. Alex Hesse (1994)
Eraser as U.S. Marshal John Kruger (1996)
Jingle All the Way as Howard Langston (1996)
Batman and Robin as Mr. Freeze (1997)
End of Days as Jericho Cane (1999)
The 6th Day as Adam Gibson / Adam Gibson Clone (2000)
Collateral Damage as Gordy Brewer (2002)
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines as The Terminator/T-850 Model 101 (2003)
Around the World in 80 Days as Prince Hapi (2004)
The Expendables as Trench (2010)
The Expendables 2 as Trench (2012)
The Last Stand as Sheriff Ray Owens (2013)
Escape Plan as Rottmayer (2013)
Sabotage as John ‘Breacher’ Wharton (2014)
The Expendables 3 as Trench (2014)
Maggie as Wade Vogel (2015)
Terminator Genisys as The Terminator/T-800 Model 101/ The Guardian (2015)
Aftermath as Victor (2017)
Why We’re Killing Gunther as Gunther (2017)
Journey to China: The Mystery of Iron Mask (2017)
Blanco as Nathan Brand (2017)
The Expendables 4 as Trench (2018)
Vice President Dick Cheney meets with Schwarzenegger for the first time at the White House
Schwarzenegger has been a registered Republican for many years. As an actor, his political views were always well known as they contrasted with those of many other prominent Hollywood stars, who are generally considered to be a liberal and Democratic-leaning community. At the 2004 Republican National Convention, Schwarzenegger gave a speech and explained he was a Republican because the Democrats of the 1960s sounded too much like Austrian socialists.
I finally arrived here in 1968. What a special day it was. I remember I arrived here with empty pockets but full of dreams, full of determination, full of desire. The presidential campaign was in full swing. I remember watching the Nixon–Humphrey presidential race on TV. A friend of mine who spoke German and English translated for me. I heard Humphrey saying things that sounded like socialism, which I had just left.
But then I heard Nixon speak. He was talking about free enterprise, getting the government off your back, lowering the taxes and strengthening the military. Listening to Nixon speak sounded more like a breath of fresh air. I said to my friend, I said, “What party is he?” My friend said, “He’s a Republican.” I said, “Then I am a Republican.” And I have been a Republican ever since.
Arnold Schwarzenegger on Capitol Hill for an event related to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports
In 1985, Schwarzenegger appeared in “Stop the Madness”, an anti-drug music video sponsored by the Reagan administration. He first came to wide public notice as a Republican during the 1988 presidential election, accompanying then-Vice President George H. W. Bush at a campaign rally.
Schwarzenegger’s first political appointment was as chairman of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, on which he served from 1990 to 1993. He was nominated by George H. W. Bush, who dubbed him “Conan the Republican”. He later served as Chairman for the California Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports under Governor Pete Wilson.
Between 1993 and 1994, Schwarzenegger was a Red Cross ambassador (a ceremonial role fulfilled by celebrities), recording several television/radio public service announcements to donate blood.
In an interview with Talk magazine in late 1999, Schwarzenegger was asked if he thought of running for office. He replied, “I think about it many times. The possibility is there, because I feel it inside.” The Hollywood Reporter claimed shortly after that Schwarzenegger sought to end speculation that he might run for governor of California. Following his initial comments, Schwarzenegger said, “I’m in show business – I am in the middle of my career. Why would I go away from that and jump into something else?”
Governor of California
Schwarzenegger announced his candidacy in the 2003 California recall election for Governor of California on the August 6, 2003, episode of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Schwarzenegger had the most name recognition in a crowded field of candidates, but he had never held public office and his political views were unknown to most Californians. His candidacy immediately became national and international news, with media outlets dubbing him the “Governator” (referring to The Terminator movies, see above) and “The Running Man” (the name of another one of his films), and calling the recall election “Total Recall” (yet another movie starring Schwarzenegger). Schwarzenegger declined to participate in several debates with other recall replacement candidates, and appeared in only one debate on September 24, 2003.
President George W. Bush meets with Schwarzenegger after his successful election to the California Governorship.
On October 7, 2003, the recall election resulted in Governor Gray Davis being removed from office with 55.4% of the Yes vote in favor of a recall. Schwarzenegger was elected Governor of California under the second question on the ballot with 48.6% of the vote to choose a successor to Davis. Schwarzenegger defeated Democrat Cruz Bustamante, fellow Republican Tom McClintock, and others. His nearest rival, Bustamante, received 31% of the vote. In total, Schwarzenegger won the election by about 1.3 million votes. Under the regulations of the California Constitution, no runoff election was required. Schwarzenegger was the second foreign-born governor of California after Irish-born Governor John G. Downey in 1862.
Schwarzenegger was entrenched in what he considered to be his mandate in cleaning up gridlock. Building on a catchphrase from the sketch “Hans and Franz” from Saturday Night Live (which partly parodied his bodybuilding career), Schwarzenegger called the Democratic State politicians “girlie men”.
Schwarzenegger’s early victories included repealing an unpopular increase in the vehicle registration fee as well as preventing driver’s licenses being given out to illegal immigrants, but later he began to feel the backlash when powerful state unions began to oppose his various initiatives. Key among his reckoning with political realities was a special election he called in November 2005, in which four ballot measures he sponsored were defeated. Schwarzenegger accepted personal responsibility for the defeats and vowed to continue to seek consensus for the people of California. He would later comment that “no one could win if the opposition raised 160 million dollars to defeat you”. The U.S. Supreme Court later found the public employee unions’ use of compulsory fundraising during the campaign had been illegal in Knox v. Service Employees International Union, Local 1000.
Schwarzenegger then went against the advice of fellow Republican strategists and appointed a Democrat, Susan Kennedy, as his Chief of Staff. Schwarzenegger gradually moved towards a more politically moderate position, determined to build a winning legacy with only a short time to go until the next gubernatorial election.
Schwarzenegger ran for re-election against Democrat Phil Angelides, the California State Treasurer, in the 2006 elections, held on November 7, 2006. Despite a poor year nationally for the Republican party, Schwarzenegger won re-election with 56.0% of the vote compared with 38.9% for Angelides, a margin of well over one million votes. In recent years, many commentators have seen Schwarzenegger as moving away from the right and towards the center of the political spectrum. After hearing a speech by Schwarzenegger at the 2006 Martin Luther King Jr. breakfast, San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom said that, “[H]e’s becoming a Democrat [… H]e’s running back, not even to the center. I would say center-left”.
It was rumored that Schwarzenegger might run for the United States Senate in 2010, as his governorship would be term-limited by that time. This turned out to be false.
With Schwarzenegger and Senator Dianne Feinstein behind him, President George W. Bush comments on wildfires and firefighting efforts in California, October 2007.
Wendy Leigh, who wrote an unofficial biography on Schwarzenegger, claims he plotted his political rise from an early age using the movie business and bodybuilding as building blocks to escape a depressing home. Leigh portrays Schwarzenegger as obsessed with power and quotes him as saying, “I wanted to be part of the small percentage of people who were leaders, not the large mass of followers. I think it is because I saw leaders use 100% of their potential – I was always fascinated by people in control of other people.” Schwarzenegger has said that it was never his intention to enter politics, but he says, “I married into a political family. You get together with them and you hear about policy, about reaching out to help people. I was exposed to the idea of being a public servant and Eunice and Sargent Shriver became my heroes.” Eunice Kennedy Shriver was sister of John F. Kennedy, and mother-in-law to Schwarzenegger; Sargent Shriver is husband to Eunice and father-in-law to Schwarzenegger.
Schwarzenegger cannot run for president as he is not a natural born citizen of the United States. In The Simpsons Movie (2007), he is portrayed as the president, and in the Sylvester Stallone movie, Demolition Man (1993, ten years before his first run for political office), it is revealed that a constitutional amendment passed which allowed Schwarzenegger to become president. Schwarzenegger is a dual Austrian/United States citizen. He has held Austrian citizenship since birth and U.S. citizenship since becoming naturalized in 1983. Being Austrian and thus European, he was able to win the 2007 European Voice campaigner of the year award for taking action against climate change with the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 and plans to introduce an emissions trading scheme with other US states and possibly with the EU.
Governor Schwarzenegger during his visit to Naval Medical Center in San Diego, July 2010.
Because of his personal wealth from his acting career, Schwarzenegger did not accept his governor’s salary of $175,000 per year.
Schwarzenegger’s endorsement in the Republican primary of the 2008 U.S. presidential election was highly sought; despite being good friends with candidates Rudy Giuliani and Senator John McCain, Schwarzenegger remained neutral throughout 2007 and early 2008. Giuliani dropped out of the presidential race on January 30, 2008, largely because of a poor showing in Florida, and endorsed McCain. Later that night, Schwarzenegger was in the audience at a Republican debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California. The following day, he endorsed McCain, joking, “It’s Rudy’s fault!” (in reference to his friendships with both candidates and that he could not make up his mind). Schwarzenegger’s endorsement was thought to be a boost for Senator McCain’s campaign; both spoke about their concerns for the environment and economy.
In its April 2010 report, Progressive ethics watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington named Schwarzenegger one of 11 “worst governors” in the United States because of various ethics issues throughout Schwarzenegger’s term as governor.
Governor Schwarzenegger played a significant role in opposing Proposition 66, a proposed amendment of the Californian Three Strikes Law, in November 2004. This amendment would have required the third felony to be either violent or serious to mandate a 25-years-to-life sentence. In the last week before the ballot, Schwarzenegger launched an intensive campaign against Proposition 66. He stated that “it would release 26,000 dangerous criminals and rapists”.
Although he began his tenure as governor with record high approval ratings (as high as 89% in December 2003), he left office with a record low 23%, only one percent higher than that of Gray Davis, when he was recalled in October 2003.
Death of Louis Santos
Main article: Death of Louis Santos
In May 2010, Esteban Núñez pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced to 16 years in prison for the death of Louis Santos. Núñez is the son of Fabian Núñez, then California Assembly Speaker of the House and a close friend and staunch political ally of then governor Schwarzenegger.
As a personal favor to “a friend”, just hours before he left office, and as one of his last official acts, Schwarzenegger commuted Núñez’s sentence by more than half, to seven years. Against protocol, Schwarzenegger did not inform Santos’ family or the San Diego County prosecutors about the commutation. They learned about it in a call from a reporter.
The Santos family, along with the San Diego district attorney, sued to stop the commutation, claiming that it violated Marsy’s Law. In September 2012, Sacramento County superior court judge Lloyd Connelly stated, “Based on the evidentiary records before this court involving this case, there was an abuse of discretion…This was a distasteful commutation. It was repugnant to the bulk of the citizenry of this state.” However, Connelly ruled that Schwarzenegger remained within his executive powers as governor. Subsequently, as a direct result of the way the commutation was handled, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bipartisan bill that allows offender’s victims and their families to be notified at least 10 days notice for any commutations. Núñez was released from prison after serving less than six years.
Allegations of sexual misconduct
Code Pink protesting against Schwarzenegger
During his initial campaign for governor, allegations of sexual and personal misconduct were raised against Schwarzenegger, dubbed “Gropegate”. Within the last five days before the election, news reports appeared in the Los Angeles Times recounting allegations of sexual misconduct from several individual women, six of whom eventually came forward with their personal stories.
Three of the women claimed he had grabbed their breasts, a fourth said he placed his hand under her skirt on her buttock. A fifth woman claimed Schwarzenegger tried to take off her bathing suit in a hotel elevator, and the last said he pulled her onto his lap and asked her about a sex act.
Schwarzenegger admitted that he has “behaved badly sometimes” and apologized, but also stated that “a lot of [what] you see in the stories is not true”. This came after an interview in adult magazine Oui from 1977 surfaced, in which Schwarzenegger discussed attending sexual orgies and using substances such as marijuana. Schwarzenegger is shown smoking a marijuana joint after winning Mr. Olympia in the 1975 documentary film Pumping Iron. In an interview with GQ magazine in October 2007, Schwarzenegger said, “[Marijuana] is not a drug. It’s a leaf. My drug was pumping iron, trust me.” His spokesperson later said the comment was meant to be a joke.
British television personality Anna Richardson settled a libel lawsuit in August 2006 against Schwarzenegger, his top aide, Sean Walsh, and his publicist, Sheryl Main. A joint statement read: “The parties are content to put this matter behind them and are pleased that this legal dispute has now been settled.” Richardson claimed they tried to tarnish her reputation by dismissing her allegations that Schwarzenegger touched her breast during a press event for The 6th Day in London. She claimed Walsh and Main libeled her in a Los Angeles Times article when they contended she encouraged his behavior.
Schwarzenegger in 2004
Schwarzenegger became a naturalized U.S. citizen on September 17, 1983. Shortly before he gained his citizenship, he asked the Austrian authorities for the right to keep his Austrian citizenship, as Austria does not usually allow dual citizenship. His request was granted, and he retained his Austrian citizenship. In 2005, Peter Pilz, a member of the Austrian Parliament from the Austrian Green Party, unsuccessfully advocated for Parliament to revoke Schwarzenegger’s Austrian citizenship due to his decision not to prevent the executions of Donald Beardslee and Stanley Williams. Pilz argued that Schwarzenegger caused damage to Austria’s reputation in the international community, because Austria abolished the death penalty in 1968. Pilz based his argument on Article 33 of the Austrian Citizenship Act, which states: “A citizen, who is in the public service of a foreign country, shall be deprived of his citizenship, if he heavily damages the reputation or the interests of the Austrian Republic.” Pilz claimed that Schwarzenegger’s actions in support of the death penalty (prohibited in Austria under Protocol 13 of the European Convention on Human Rights) had damaged Austria’s reputation. Schwarzenegger explained his actions by pointing out that his only duty as Governor of California with respect to the death penalty was to correct an error by the justice system by pardon or clemency, if such an error had occurred.
On September 27, 2006, Schwarzenegger signed the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, creating the nation’s first cap on greenhouse gas emissions. The law set new regulations on the amount of emissions utilities, refineries and manufacturing plants are allowed to release into the atmosphere. Schwarzenegger also signed a second global warming bill that prohibits large utilities and corporations in California from making long-term contracts with suppliers who do not meet the state’s greenhouse gas emission standards. The two bills are part of a plan to reduce California’s emissions by 25 percent to 1990s levels by 2020. In 2005, Schwarzenegger issued an executive order calling to reduce greenhouse gases to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.
Schwarzenegger signed another executive order on October 17, 2006, allowing California to work with the Northeast’s Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. They plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by issuing a limited amount of carbon credits to each power plant in participating states. Any power plants that exceed emissions for the amount of carbon credits will have to purchase more credits to cover the difference. The plan took effect in 2009. In addition to using his political power to fight global warming, the governor has taken steps at his home to reduce his personal carbon footprint. Schwarzenegger has adapted one of his Hummers to run on hydrogen and another to run on biofuels. He has also installed solar panels to heat his home.
In respect of his contribution to the direction of the US motor industry, Schwarzenegger was invited to open the 2009 SAE World Congress in Detroit, on April 20, 2009.
In 2011, Schwarzenegger founded the R20 Regions of Climate Action to develop a sustainable, low carbon economy.
|Green||Peter Miguel Camejo||242,247||2.8|
|Republican||Arnold Schwarzenegger (incumbent)||4,850,157||55.9||+7.3|
|Green||Peter Miguel Camejo||205,995||2.3||−0.5|
The Equal Opportunity to Govern Amendment in 2003 was widely accredited as the “Amend for Arnold” bill, which would have removed language from the U.S. Constitution prohibiting his run, having been born in Austria. In 2004, the “Amend for Arnold” campaign was launched, featuring a website and TV advertising promotion.
In June 2007, Schwarzenegger was featured on the cover of TIME magazine with Michael Bloomberg, and subsequently the two joked about a Presidential ticket together.
In October 2013, the New York Post reported that Schwarzenegger was exploring a future run for president. The former California governor would face a constitutional hurdle; Article II, Section I, Clause V nominally prevents individuals who are not natural-born citizens of the United States from assuming the office. He has reportedly been lobbying legislators about a possible constitutional change, or filing a legal challenge to the provision. Columbia University law professor Michael Dorf observed that Schwarzenegger’s possible lawsuit could ultimately win him the right to run for the office, noting, “The law is very clear, but it’s not 100 percent clear that the courts would enforce that law rather than leave it to the political process.”
Schwarzenegger has had a highly successful business career. Following his move to the United States, Schwarzenegger became a “prolific goal setter” and would write his objectives at the start of the year on index cards, like starting a mail order business or buying a new car – and succeed in doing so. By the age of 30, Schwarzenegger was a millionaire, well before his career in Hollywood. His financial independence came from his success as a budding entrepreneur with a series of successful business ventures and investments.
In 1968, Schwarzenegger and fellow bodybuilder Franco Columbu started a bricklaying business. The business flourished thanks to the pair’s marketing savvy and an increased demand following the 1971 San Fernando earthquake. Schwarzenegger and Columbu used profits from their bricklaying venture to start a mail order business, selling bodybuilding and fitness-related equipment and instructional tapes.
Schwarzenegger rolled profits from the mail order business and his bodybuilding competition winnings into his first real estate investment venture: an apartment building he purchased for $10,000. He would later go on to invest in a number of real estate holding companies.
Schwarzenegger was a founding celebrity investor in the Planet Hollywood chain of international theme restaurants (modeled after the Hard Rock Cafe) along with Bruce Willis, Sylvester Stallone and Demi Moore. Schwarzenegger severed his financial ties with the business in early 2000. Schwarzenegger said the company had not had the success he had hoped for, claiming he wanted to focus his attention on “new US global business ventures” and his movie career.
He also invested in a shopping mall in Columbus, Ohio. He has talked about some of those who have helped him over the years in business: “I couldn’t have learned about business without a parade of teachers guiding me… from Milton Friedman to Donald Trump… and now, Les Wexner and Warren Buffett. I even learned a thing or two from Planet Hollywood, such as when to get out! And I did!” He has significant ownership in Dimensional Fund Advisors, an investment firm. Schwarzenegger is also the owner of Arnold’s Sports Festival, which he started in 1989 and is held annually in Columbus, Ohio. It is a festival that hosts thousands of international health and fitness professionals which has also expanded into a three-day expo. He also owns a movie production company called Oak Productions, Inc. and Fitness Publications, a joint publishing venture with Simon & Schuster.
In 1992, Schwarzenegger and his wife opened a restaurant in Santa Monica called Schatzi On Main. Schatzi literally means “little treasure,” colloquial for “honey” or “darling” in German. In 1998, he sold his restaurant.
See also: List of richest American politicians
Schwarzenegger’s net worth had been conservatively estimated at $100–$200 million. After separating from his wife, Maria Shriver, in 2011, it has been estimated that his net worth has been approximately $400 million, and even as high as $800 million, based on tax returns he filed in 2006.
Over the years as an investor, he invested his bodybuilding and movie earnings in an array of stocks, bonds, privately controlled companies, and real estate holdings worldwide, making his net worth as an accurate estimation difficult to calculate, particularly in light of declining real estate values owing to economic recessions in the U.S. and Europe since the late 2000s. In June 1997, Schwarzenegger spent $38 million of his own money on a private Gulfstream jet. Schwarzenegger once said of his fortune, “Money doesn’t make you happy. I now have $50 million, but I was just as happy when I had $48 million.”
He appears in a series of commercials for the Machine Zone game Mobile Strike as a military commander and spokesman.
Schwarzenegger has been involved with the Special Olympics for many years after they were founded by his ex-mother-in-law, Eunice Kennedy Shriver. In 2007, Schwarzenegger was the official spokesperson for the Special Olympics which were held in Shanghai, China. Schwarzenegger believes that quality school opportunities should be made available to children who might not normally be able to access them. In 1995, he founded the Inner City Games Foundation (ICG) which provides cultural, educational and community enrichment programming to youth. ICG is active in 15 cities around the country and serves over 250,000 children in over 400 schools countrywide. He has also been involved with After-School All-Stars, and founded the Los Angeles branch in 2002. ASAS is an after school program provider, educating youth about health, fitness and nutrition.
On February 12, 2010, Schwarzenegger took part in the Vancouver Olympic Torch relay. He handed off the flame to the next runner, Sebastian Coe.
Schwarzenegger had a collection of Marxist busts, which he requested from Russian friends at the end of the Soviet Union as they were being destroyed. In 2011, he revealed that his wife had requested they be removed, but he kept the one of Vladimir Lenin present, since “he was the first”. In 2015, he said he kept the Lenin bust to “show losers”.
Schwarzenegger is a lifelong supporter and “friend of Israel”, and has participated in L.A.’s Pro-Israel rally among other similar events.
Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy
In 2012, Schwarzenegger helped to found the Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy, which is a part of the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California. The Institute’s mission is to “[advance] post-partisanship, where leaders put people over political parties and work together to find the best ideas and solutions to benefit the people they serve” and to “seek to influence public policy and public debate in finding solutions to the serious challenges we face”. Schwarzenegger serves as chairman of the Institute.
At a 2015 security conference, Arnold Schwarzenegger called climate change the issue of our time.
2016 Presidential election
For the 2016 Republican Party presidential primaries, Schwarzenegger endorsed fellow Republican John Kasich. However, he announced in October that he would not vote for the Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in the that year’s United States presidential election, with this being the first time he did not vote for the Republican candidate since becoming a citizen in 1983.
Awards and honors
- Seven-time Mr. Olympia winner
- Four-time Mr. Universe winner
- 1969 World Amateur Bodybuilding Champion
- 1977 Golden Globe Award winner
- Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
- International Sports Hall of Fame (class of 2012)
- WWE Hall of Fame (class of 2015)
- Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy (part of the USC Sol Price
- School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California) named in his honor.
- Arnold’s Run ski trail at Sun Valley Resort named in his honor. The trail is categorized as a black diamond, or most difficult, for its terrain.
- “A Day for Arnold” on July 30, 2007 in Thal, Austria. For his 60th birthday the mayor sent Schwarzenegger the enameled address sign (Thal 145) of the house where Schwarzenegger was born, declaring “This belongs to him. No one here will ever be assigned that number again”.
- Commandeur of the French Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur (on April 28, 2017)
- Schwarzenegger, Arnold (1977). Arnold: Developing a Mr. Universe Physique. Schwarzenegger.
- Schwarzenegger, Arnold; Douglas Kent Hall (1977). Arnold: The Education of a
- Bodybuilder. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0-671-22879-8.
- Schwarzenegger, Arnold; Douglas Kent Hall (1979). Arnold’s Bodyshaping for
- Women. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0-671-24301-2.
- Schwarzenegger, Arnold; Bill Dobbins (1981). Arnold’s Bodybuilding for Men.
- New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0-671-25613-5.
- Schwarzenegger, Arnold; Bill Dobbins (1998). The New Encyclopedia of Modern
- Bodybuilding (rev. ed.). New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0-684-84374-2.
- Schwarzenegger, Arnold (2012). Total Recall. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-1-84983-971-6.