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Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold-schwarzenegger
Background information
Born Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger
July 30, 1947 (age 66)
Thal, Styria, Austria
Died
Cause of death
Relatives
Alternate names Arnold Strong, Arnie
Occupation(s) Former professional bodybuilder, actor, businessman, investor, and politician
Years active 1969-2004, 2010-present
Spouse(s) Maria Shriver (1986-2011)
Partner(s)
Children Katherine Eunice Shriver Schwarzenegger
Christina Maria Aurelia Shriver Schwarzenegger
Patrick Arnold Shriver Schwarzenegger
Christopher Sargent Shriver Schwarzenegger
Joseph Baena Shriver Schwarzenegger
Notable contributions
Film Conan the Barbarian in Conan the Barbarian
The Terminator in the Terminator franchise
Major Alan "Dutch" Schaefer in Predator
Douglas Quaid in Total Recall
Detective John Kimble in Kindergarten Cop
Harry Tasker in True Lies
Trench Mauser in The Expendables
Television
Music
Others 38th Governor of California

Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger (born July 30, 1947) is an Austrian-born American former professional bodybuilder, actor, businessman, investor, and politician. Schwarzenegger 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. Schwarzenegger gained worldwide fame as a Hollywood action film icon. He was nicknamed the "Austrian Oak" and the "Styrian Oak" in his bodybuilding days, "Arnie" during his acting career and more recently "The Governator" (a portmanteau of "Governor" and "The Terminator" - one of his best-known movie 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 his second term on January 5, 2007. In 2011, Schwarzenegger completed his second term as governor, and it was announced that he had separated from Maria Shriver, his wife for the last 25 years, and a member of the influential Kennedy family, as a niece of the late Democratic US President John F. Kennedy and former senators Robert F. Kennedy and Ted Kennedy.

Early lifeEdit

Schwarzenegger was born on July 30, 1947 in Thal, Austria, 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 Aurelia (née Jadrny; 1922-1998). Gustav served in World War II, after he voluntarily applied to join the Nazi Party in 1938. Gustav served with the German Army as a Hauptfeldwebel of the Feldgendarmerie and was discharged in 1943 after contracting malaria. They were married on October 20, 1945 - Gustav was 38, and Aurelia was 23-years-old. 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 Mass every Sunday.

Gustav had a preference for his older son, Meinhard, 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." 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 Gustav's being involved in atrocities, despite Gustav's membership in the Nazi Party and SA. Schwarzenegger's father's background received wide press attention during the 2003 California recall campaign. At school, Schwarzenegger was apparently in the middle 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 football (soccer) coach took his team to a local gym. At the age of 14, he chose bodybuilding over football 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."

In 1971, his brother, Meinhard, died in a car accident. Meinhard had been drinking and was killed instantly. Schwarzenegger did not attend his funeral. Meinhard was due to marry Erika Knapp, and the couple had a three-year-old son, Patrick. Schwarzenegger would pay for Patrick's education and help him to immigrate to 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 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 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, 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.

Acting careerEdit

Early rolesEdit

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 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 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.

Action superstarEdit

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 his roles from more serious action hero films. The alternative-universe comedy thriller Last Action Hero featured a poster of the movie Terminator 2: Judgment Day, which, in the alternate universe, starred Stallone. He made a number of successful films, such as Commando (1985), Raw Deal (1986), The Running Man (1987), Predator (1987), and Red Heat (1988).

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." {[W|Kindergarten Cop}} (1990) reunited him with director Ivan Reitman, who also directed 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 reprised his role as the Terminator 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 ft) tall Terminator statue in a park in central Graz, Austria. Schwarzenegger reportedly said he was flattered, but thought the money would be better spent on social projects and the Special Olympics.

RetirementEdit

His film appearances when becoming Governor of California included a three-second cameo appearance in The Rundown, and the 2004 remake of Disney's 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 it was later revealed that he would 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 actingEdit

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 Marvel Comics creator 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." However, the Daily Star reported on May 29 that Schwarzenegger had been offered $40 million to star in two Terminator films. 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). He will reprise his role as Conan the Barbarian in the 2014 film The Legend of Conan and is set to star in a fifth Terminator film.

External linksEdit

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