Arnold Schwarzenegger Biography
Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger (German IPA: [ˌaɐnɔlt aloʏs ˈʃvaɐtsənɛɡɐ]) is an American and Austrian bodybuilder, actor, businessman, and politician, currently serving as the 38th Governor of the state of California.
Schwarzenegger began weight-training at 15 and is considered to be one of the most important figures in the history of bodybuilding, becoming the youngest Mr. Universe at age 20 and going on to win Mr. Olympia a total of seven times. Schwarzenegger has remained a prominent face in the bodybuilding sport long after his retirement, and has written several books and numerous articles on the sport.
Schwarzenegger gained worldwide fame as a Hollywood action film icon, noted for his lead role in films such as Conan the Barbarian and The Terminator. He was nicknamed the "Austrian Oak" and the "Styrian Oak" in his bodybuilding days, "Arnold Strong" and "Arnie" during his acting career, and more recently the "Governator" (a portmanteau of Governor and the Terminator, one of his film roles)
As a Republican, he was first elected on October 7, 2003, in a special recall election to replace then-Governor Gray Davis. Schwarzenegger was sworn in on November 17, 2003, to serve the remainder of Davis's term. Schwarzenegger was then re-elected on November 7, 2006, in California's 2006 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 a second term on January 5, 2007. In May 2004 and 2007, he was named as one of the Time 100 people who help shape the world.
Schwarzenegger is married to Maria Shriver and has four children.
Schwarzenegger was born in Thal, Austria (German: Thal bei Graz), a small village bordering the Styrian capital Graz, and was christened Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger. His parents were the local police chief Gustav Schwarzenegger (1907 – 1972), and his wife, Aurelia Jadrny (1922 – 1998). They were married on October 20, 1945 – Gustav was 38, and Aurelia was a 23-year-old widow with a son named Meinhard. 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." He grew up in a Roman Catholic family who attended church service every Sunday.
Gustav had a preference for Meinhard, the elder of the two sons. His favoritism was "strong and blatant," which stemmed from unfounded suspicion that Arnold was not his child. Schwarzenegger has said his father had "no patience for listening or understanding your problems… there was a wall; a real wall." Schwarzenegger 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 atrocities despite Gustav's membership in the Nazi Party and SA. At school, Schwarzenegger was apparently in the middle, but stood out for his "cheerful, good-humored and exuberant" character. Money was a problem in the household; Schwarzenegger has recalled that one of the highlights of his youth was when the family bought a refrigerator.
As a boy, Schwarzenegger played many sports—heavily influenced by his father. He picked up his first barbell in 1960, when his football coach took his team to a local gym. At the age of 14, Schwarzenegger chose bodybuilding over football (soccer) as a career. Schwarzenegger has responded to a question asking if he was age 13 when he started weightlifting: "I actually started weight training when I was fifteen, 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. "I was inspired by individuals like Reg Park and Steve Reeves." When Reeves passed away 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 was known to break 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."
In 1971, his brother Meinhard died in a car accident. Meinhard had been drinking and was killed instantly, and Schwarzenegger did not attend his funeral. Meinhard was due to marry Erika Knapp, and the couple shared a three-year-old son Patrick. Schwarzenegger would pay for Patrick's education and a life in the United States. Gustav died the following year 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 both said this story was taken from another bodybuilder for the purpose of showing the extremes that some would go to for their sport, and to make Schwarzenegger's image more cold and machine-like in order to fan controversy for the film. Barbara Baker, his first serious girlfriend, has said 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 did not attend his father's funeral.
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. Schwarzenegger has remained a prominent face in the bodybuilding sport 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. 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, as well as some powerlifting contests, including 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.
In 1967, Schwarzenegger competed in and 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. Schwarzenegger has said the following on his size: "During the peak of my career, my calves were 20 inches, thighs 28.5 inches, waist 34 inches, chest 57 inches, and 22-inch arms."
In a full squat (buttocks close to ground) Schwarzenegger had a personal record of 181 kg/400lbs, for twelve repetitions.
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 holds to this day.
He continued his winning streak in the 1971 – 1974 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 officially retired from competition.
Schwarzenegger has admitted to using performance-enhancing anabolic steroids while they were legal, writing in 1967 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 an early death for the bodybuilder, based on a link between steroid use and later heart problems. Because the doctor had never examined him personally, Schwarzenegger collected a DM20,000 ($12,000 USD) 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. Schwarzenegger was born with a bicuspid aortic valve, an aortic valve with only two leaflets (a normal aortic valve has three leaflets). As late as 1996, a year before Schwarzenegger's open heart surgery to replace this aortic valve with a human homograft valve, Schwarzenegger publicly defended his use of anabolic steroids during his bodybuilding career.
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 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 and mute hit-man for the mob in director Robert Altman's 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, Schwarzenegger purchased the rights to the film, its outtakes, and associated still photography. Schwarzenegger auditioned for the title role of The Incredible Hulk, but did not win the role due to 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 biopic 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 its box-office performance was disappointing In 1983, Schwarzenegger starred in the promotional video "Carnival in Rio".
In 1984, he made the first of three appearances as the titular character and what some would say was the signature role in his acting career in director James Cameron's science-fiction thriller film The Terminator Following The Terminator, Schwarzenegger made Red Sonja in 1985, which "sank without a trace."
During the 1980s, audiences had a large appetite for action films, with both Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone becoming international stars. Schwarzenegger's roles reflected his droll, often self-deprecating sense of humor (including sometimes famously bad puns), separating his roles from more serious action hero fare. His alternative-universe comedy/thriller Last Action Hero featured a poster of the movie Terminator 2: Judgment Day which, in the fictional alternate universe, had Sylvester Stallone as its star.
Following his arrival as a Hollywood superstar, he made a number of successful films: Commando (1985), Raw Deal (1986), The Running Man (1987), and Red Heat (1988). In Predator (1987), another successful film, Schwarzenegger led a cast which included future Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura (Ventura also appeared in The Running Man and Batman & Robin with Schwarzenegger) and future Kentucky Gubernatorial candidate Sonny Landham.
Twins (1988), a comedy with Danny DeVito, was a change of pace, and also proved successful. Total Recall (1990) netted Schwarzenegger $10 million and 15% of the gross, and was a widely praised, science-fiction script directed by Paul Verhoeven, 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 high-water mark 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, with the box office suffering accordingly. His next film, the action comedy True Lies (1994) was a highly popular send-up of spy films, and saw Schwarzenegger, reunited with The Terminator director James Cameron, appearing opposite Jamie Lee Curtis.
Shortly thereafter came the comedy Junior (1994), the last of his three collaborations with Ivan Reitman and again co-starring Danny DeVito. This film brought Schwarzenegger his second Golden Globe nomination, this time for Best Actor – Musical or Comedy. It was followed by the action thriller Eraser (1996) and the comic book-based Batman & Robin (1997), where he played the villain Mr. Freeze. This was his final film before taking time to recuperate from a back injury. Following the failure of Batman & Robin, Schwarzenegger's film career and box office prominence went into decline.
Several film projects were announced with Schwarzenegger attached to star, including the remake of Planet of the Apes, a new film version of I Am Legend, and a World War II film scripted by Quentin Tarantino that would have seen Schwarzenegger play an Austrian.
Instead, he returned after a hiatus with the supernatural thriller End of Days (1999), later followed by the action films The 6th Day (2000) and Collateral Damage (2002) all 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.
In tribute to Schwarzenegger in 2002, Forum Stadtpark, a local cultural association, proposed plans to build a 25-meter (82-foot) 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 latest film appearances included a 3-second cameo appearance in The Rundown (AKA, Welcome to the Jungle) with The Rock, and the 2004 remake of Around the World in 80 Days, where he appeared onscreen with action star Jackie Chan for the first time.
Schwarzenegger voiced Baron von Steuben in Episode 24 ("Valley Forge") of Liberty's Kids. In 2005 he appeared as himself in the film The Kid & I.
Schwarzenegger had been rumored to be appearing in the upcoming film, Terminator Salvation as the original T-800 model, alongside Roland Kickinger. But in an interview, Schwarzenegger denied his involvement.
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.
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. As a candidate in the recall election, 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 Schwarzenegger starrer). Schwarzenegger declined to participate in several debates with other recall replacement candidates, and appeared in only one debate on September 24, 2003.
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 less than 32% 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 first foreign-born governor of California since Irish-born Governor John G. Downey in 1862.
As soon as Schwarzenegger was elected governor, Willie Brown said he would start a drive to recall the governor. Schwarzenegger was equally entrenched in what he considered to be his mandate in cleaning up gridlock. Building on a catchphrase from a sketch partly parodying his bodybuilding career, Schwarzenegger called the Democratic State politicians "girlie men," (a reference from a Saturday Night Live sketch called "Hans and Franz").
In 1977, Schwarzenegger's autobiography/weight-training guide Arnold: The Education of a Bodybuilder was published and became a huge success. After taking English classes at Santa Monica College in Santa Monica, California, he earned a B.A. by correspondence from the University of Wisconsin-Superior, where he graduated Business and International Economics, in 1979.
On April 26, 1986, Schwarzenegger married television journalist Maria Shriver, niece of the past President of the United States John F. Kennedy, in Hyannis, Massachusetts. The Rev. John Baptist Riordan performed the ceremony at St. Francis Xavier Roman Catholic Church. They have four children: Katherine Eunice Shriver Schwarzenegger (born December 13, 1989 in Los Angeles, California); Christina Maria Aurelia Schwarzenegger (born July 23, 1991 in Los Angeles, California); Patrick Arnold Schwarzenegger (born September 18, 1993 in Los Angeles, California); and Christopher Sargent Shriver Schwarzenegger (born September 27, 1997 in Los Angeles, California)
Schwarzenegger and his family currently live in their 11,000-square-foot (1 022 m²) home in Brentwood. They used to own a home in the Pacific Palisades. The family owns vacation homes in Sun Valley, Idaho and Hyannis Port, Massachusetts. Schwarzenegger does not have a home in Sacramento. However, whenever he is in the state capital, he lives in the Hyatt Regency hotel suite. The suite costs about $65,000 a year.
On Sundays, the family attends Mass at St. Monica's Catholic Church.
Schwarzenegger has said he believes the secret of a good marriage is love and respect. "If you have the ultimate love for your wife and she has it for you, I think you have a great head start … That's not to say it won't be difficult sometimes. You go through your ups and downs but you work through it." Schwarzenegger has talked about parenthood in 2000: "One of the best things you can do with your children is play with them. At the same time, I act very silly. Many times I do a lot of sports with them. I play games with them. Act out parts. We do little plays, sometimes."
His official height of 6'2" (188 cm) has been brought into question by several articles. In his bodybuilding days in the late 1960s, he was measured to be 6'1.5", a height confirmed by his fellow bodybuilders.] In 1988 both the Daily Mail and Time Out magazine mentioned that Schwarzenegger appeared noticeably shorter than this publicised figure. More recently, before running for Governor, Schwarzenegger's height was once again questioned in an article by the Chicago Reader. As Governor, Schwarzenegger engaged in a light-hearted exchange with Assemblyman Herb Wesson over their heights. At one point Wesson made an unsuccessful attempt to, in his own words, "settle this once and for all and find out how tall he is." by using a tailor's tape measure on the Governor. Schwarzenegger later retaliated by placing a pillow stitched with the words "Need a lift?" on the five-foot-five (165 cm) Wesson’s chair before a negotiating session in his office. Bob Mulholland also claimed Arnold was 5'10" and that he wore risers in his boots. The debate on Schwarzenegger's height has spawned a website solely dedicated to it, and his page remains one of the most active on CelebHeights.com, a website which discusses the heights of celebrities.
In 2005, Peter Pilz, from the Austrian Green Party, demanded that parliament revoke Schwarzenegger's Austrian citizenship. This demand was based on Article 33 of the Austrian Citizenship Act that 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 indeed done damage to Austria's reputation. Schwarzenegger explained his actions by referring to the fact that his only duty as Governor of California was to prevent an error in the judicial system.
In honor of its most famous son, Schwarzenegger's home town of Graz had its soccer stadium named The Arnold Schwarzenegger Stadium. It is the home of both Grazer AK and Sturm Graz. Following the Stanley Williams execution and after street protests in his hometown, several local politicians began a campaign to remove Schwarzenegger's name from the stadium. Schwarzenegger responded, saying that "to spare the responsible politicians of the city of Graz further concern, I withdraw from them as of this day the right to use my name in association with the Liebenau Stadium," and set a tight deadline of just a couple of days to remove his name. Graz officials removed Schwarzenegger's name from the stadium in December 2005. It is now officially titled UPC-Arena.
The Sun Valley Resort has a short ski trail called Arnold's Run, named after Schwarzenegger (It was named after him in 2001). The trail is categorized as a black diamond, or most difficult, for its terrain.
He bought the first Hummer manufactured for civilian use in 1992, a model so large, 6,300 lb (2900 kg) and 7 feet (2.1 m) wide, that it is classified as a large truck and U.S. fuel economy regulations do not apply to it. During the Gubernatorial Recall campaign he announced that he would convert one of his Hummers to burn hydrogen. The conversion was reported to have cost about US$21,000. After the election, he signed an executive order to jump-start the building of hydrogen refueling plants called the California Hydrogen Highway Network, and gained a U.S. Department of Energy grant to help pay for its projected US$91,000,000 cost. California took delivery of the first H2H (Hydrogen Hummer) in October 2004.
People in Thal bei Graz celebrated Schwarzenegger's 60th birthday by throwing a party. Officials proclaimed A Day for Arnold on July 30, 2007. Thal 145, the number of the house where Schwarzenegger was born, belonged to Schwarzenegger and nobody will ever be assigned to that number.