Arnold Schwarzenegger is a former professional bodybuilder who later became a household name across the world as a result of his career as an action movie star. Not only did he go-ahead to establish himself as an icon in front of the camera, but he also went on to have a successful career as a businessman and politician; maintaining a net worth that has been estimated to be in hundreds of millions of dollars and serving as the 38th Governor of California.
Having started weightlifting in his teen years, Schwarzenegger became a force to reckon with in the sport from the late 1960s till his retirement in 1980. He claimed several accolades, including becoming a 7-time Mr. Olympia and 5-time Mr. Universe. He equally set a record as the bodybuilder with the most wins in major bodybuilding events in the annals of the sports. What followed next for him was an acting career that saw him play some of the most iconic action film characters ever created, like The Terminator and Commando.
With the urge to bring about positive change in society, the movie star took to the path of politics in 2003. He completed two terms as governor before returning back to acting and running his businesses.
A Walk Through Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Childhood
Schwarzenegger was born in the village of Thal in the Austrian state of Styria on July 30th, 1947. He is the second son of Gustav and Aurelia Schwarzenegger who have been described as strict parents. According to the actor, his police chief father and homemaker mother never spared the rod whenever he or his brother Meinhard did something bad.
Meinhard was said to be their father’s favorite child due to unfounded suspicion that Arnold wasn’t his biological child. As such, he showed strong and blatant favoritism to his older child, which left Arnold with no option but to gravitate towards his mother who he maintained a very close relationship with until her death.
As a schoolboy, Arnold Schwarzenegger played several sports, particularly soccer. By the time he turned 14, he was said to have lifted his first piece of weight after his coach took the team to a local gym. He subsequently chose to pursue a career as a bodybuilder after that, abandoning his ambitions to make it as a soccer player to start weight training and Olympic lifting when he was 15.
Unknown Details About His Bodybuilding Career
In his early teens, Arnold Schwarzenegger became so obsessed with bodybuilding that he would break into the local gym to workout on the weekends and would feel sick if he missed a session. He also hung pictures of bodybuilders on his bedroom walls as he started working towards his dream of being a bodybuilder despite the fact that his father urged him to be a police officer like he was and his mother persuading him to attend a trade school.
By the time he turned 18, Arnold began his professional bodybuilding career. This came around the same time he was required to serve in the Austrian Army to fulfill the then mandatory one year of service required by all 18-year-old Austrian males. While he was on military service, he went AWOL in order to participate in the Junior Mr. Europe competition, which he won.
Through his participation in the bodybuilding contest, Arnold Schwarzenegger had the opportunity to visit London where he briefly resided before realizing his childhood dream of moving to the United States in 1968. During his time in the UK, however, he managed to win the Mr. Universe competition twice, in 1967 and 1968, becoming the youngest ever to win the title at the age of 20.
In 1970, after having moved to California and trained under some of the most famous bodybuilders in the country, Schwarzenegger claimed his first Mr. Olympia title which marked the start of a legendary bodybuilding career. He went on to nab six more Mr. Olympia titles as well as an additional two Mr. Universe titles to be forever regarded as one of the most prominent personalities in bodybuilding.
Other competitions that he won include the 1966 Best Built Man of Europe, 1966 Mr. Europe, 1966 International Powerlifting Championship, 1968 German Powerlifting Championship, and 1970 AAU Mr. World prior to his retirement in 1980. At the peak of his career, his body measurements were mind-blowing as it read; Height – 6 feet 2 inches (1.88m), Chest – 57 inches, Waist – 34 inches, Biceps – 22 inches, Thigh – 28.5 inches, Calves – 20 inches, and Weight – 107 kg (235 lbs).
How Arnold Schwarzenegger Became One of the Biggest Hollywood Stars
While still a professional bodybuilder, Arnold Schwarzenegger harbored a strong desire to switch to acting. He eventually achieved his dream in 1969 when he scored the titular role in Hercules in New York. Four years later, he was cast in The Long Goodbye, before he appeared in Stay Hungry in 1976 where his performance earned him a Golden Globe Award. He garnered more popularity in 1977 as a result of his appearance in the bodybuilding docudrama film, Pumping Iron.
In 1982, the Austrian starred in Conan the Barbarian which became his first box office hit movie. He achieved much more success two years later after signing on to play the lead role in the first of the James Cameron-directed sci-fi thriller movie series, The Terminator. With the success he had enjoyed by playing action roles, Schwarzenegger stuck with this winning formula and appeared in various other action movies in the 1980s that were very successful. They include Commando, Raw Deal, The Running Man, Predator, and Red Heat.
In the 1990s, Schwarzenegger starred in other films like Total Recall, Kindergarten Cop, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, True Lies, Junior, and Collateral Damage before retiring to launch his political career.
After serving as Governor of California from 2003 to 2011, he promptly returned to acting. During his time in office, however, he made cameo appearances in movies such as The Kid & I, The Rundown, Around the World in 80 Days, and The Expendables.
Highlights of the second phase of his acting career include his roles in films and TV series like The Expendables 2, The Last Stand, Escape Plan, Sabotage, The Expendables 3, Maggie, Terminator Genisys, Aftermath, and Killing Gunther. In the 2016-2017 season of The New Celebrity Apprentice, the actor hosted the reality TV show, serving as a replacement for former host Donald Trump who became president of the United States.
Beyond being an actor, Schwarzenegger is also a filmmaker. He served as the director of the TV film Christmas in Connecticut as well as an episode of Tales from the Crypt. He has further produced projects like Last Action Hero, The 6th Day, Maggie, Aftermath, Killing Gunther, and Wonders of the Sea 3D among others.
Things To Know About His Political Career
Arnold Schwarzenegger became an American citizen in the year 1983. As such, he became eligible to contest in gubernatorial elections in the country but is exempted from running for the presidency. In August 2003, the Terminator actor announced on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno that he would be contesting for Governor of California in the 2003 California recall election. Following his victory in the recall election, he was sworn in on November 17th, 2003.
Prior to contesting for the California governor’s seat, however, the actor had been active in the political scene. He was spotted at a campaign rally alongside then-Vice President George H. W. Bush during the 1988 presidential election, as he had been a Republican for many years. From 1990 to 1993, he served as the chairman of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports following his appointment by George H. W. Bush.
Schwarzenegger served the remaining three years of his predecessor Gray Davis’ term before running for re-election and beginning his own full term as a governor in 2007. After completing two terms in office during which he chose not to take a salary, he stepped down on January 3rd, 2011 and handed over to successor Jerry Brown.
Some of the major talking points of the actor turned politician’s time in office include his implementation of the California Global Warming Solutions Acts of 2006 which created the nation’s first cap on greenhouse gas emissions. He also opposed the proposed amendment to the Three Strikes Law or Habitual Offender Law called Proposition 66, which would have mandated the 25 years to life sentence for convicts with a third felony charge that was either violent or serious. He stated that the proposed amendment would grant freedom to thousands of menacing criminals and rapists.
What are The Accomplishments of The Movie Star?
In addition to winning the Golden Globes Award, Arnold Schwarzenegger has claimed several other accolades. In 1987, he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and then became the winner of the Life Career Award in 1992. In 2014, he won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Documentary or Non-Fiction Series due to his role in Years of Living Dangerously.
Other awards he has won include the Bambi Awards, World Artist Award, Maverick Tribute Award, Action Hero Award, Golden Apple Award for Male Star of the Year, Golden Icon Award, Taurus Honorary Award, Lifetime Achievement Award by the Publicists Guild of America, MTV Movie Award, and Golden Camera for Lifetime Achievement.
Following his groundbreaking exploits as an actor, businessman, politician, and philanthropist, Arnold Schwarzenegger was honored in his hometown in 2011. The house his family owned in Thal, Austria was named in his honor – The Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Museum. Similarly in 2012, he was recognized with the Horizon Award from the United States Congress and the Congressional Award Board of Directors, in recognition for his personal contributions that have impacted many lives.
Schwarzenegger was further bestowed with the Medal of Humanitarian Merit of the Austrian Albert Schweitzer Society in 2011. In the same year, he was decorated as a Cavalier in the French Legion of Honor before receiving the status of Commander six years later.
The action film hero was inaugurated into the National Fitness Hall of Fame in 2005; the International Sports Hall of Fame in 2012; and World Wrestling Entertainment Hall of Fame three years later. In June 2017, he received an Honorary Ring of the Federal State of Styria, Austria.
Interesting Tidbits About His Other Sources of Income
It’s apparent that Arnold Schwarzenegger is a multi-millionaire who has done quite well for himself in many career fields. Asides the wealth he has made from his contributions in the movie industry and bodybuilding career, the former Governor of California has been very successful as a businessman.
It is said that the bodybuilder had become a millionaire long before he launched his acting career. In 1968, Schwarzenegger co-founded a bricklaying business alongside his fellow bodybuilder Franco Columbo. Following the San Fernando earthquake in 1971, the business blossomed and allowed him to spread his tentacles elsewhere. This includes the selling of fitness tutorial tapes, bodybuilding, and fitness-related equipment, as well as a mail-order business.
Afterwards, the actor made an investment in Planet Hollywood International Inc., a theme restaurant owned by Earl Enterprise Corporation. In the early 2000s, however, he ended his business deal with the company. He also has a major stake in an investment firm called Dimensional Find Advisors and owns a film production company called Oak Productions Inc.
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Having invented the Arnold’s Sports Festival in 1989, the action film superstar has been earning tremendously from the sporting event ever since. He has also signed some endorsement deals with brands such as Nissin’s Cup of Noodles, Bud Light, Direct TV, and Machine Zone’s Mobile Strike. Furthermore, his investments in real estate are said to be worth over $100 million, as he owns a vast number of commercial properties in Southern California.
Schwarzenegger has also made some money from authoring a number of books on fitness and bodybuilding. Some of his publications include Arnold: Developing a Mr. Universe Physique, Arnold’s Bodybuilding for Men, The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding, and Arnold’s Bodyshaping for Women.
Revelations About Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Extramarital Affair That Led to The Collapse of His Marriage
After getting romantically involved with the likes of Barbara Outland and Sue Moray, Arnold Schwarzenegger tied the knot with Maria Shriver, the daughter of politician Sargent Shriver and activist Eunice Kennedy Shriver. Maria, who is an award-winning journalist, is also the niece of the former U.S. President John F. Kennedy and former U.S. Senators; Robert F. Kennedy and Ted Kennedy.
Following their marriage in 1986, the couple became proud parents of four children: Katherine (born in December 1989), Christina (born in July 1991), Patrick (born in September 1993), and Christopher (born in September 1997). In 2011, however, the couple’s marriage that had lasted for twenty-five years came to an end after Arnold confessed to his wife about his extramarital affair with their longtime family housekeeper, Mildred Patricia Baena.
The actor had fathered a son named Joseph Baena Schwarzenegger (born in October 1997) with her. He, however, claimed that he never knew about the child until when the boy was about seven or eight years old and had a striking resemblance to him. He subsequently took full responsibility for his son and began providing support for his mother who continued to work at the Schwarzeneggers residence until retiring in January 2011. Baena was married to Rogelio de Jesus at the time of the affair but eventually divorced him in 2008. They had originally separated a few months after the child’s birth.
As a result of this, Maria Shriver filed for divorce on July 1st, 2011 and it was finalized a couple of years later in 2017. Arnold and his ex-wife have however maintained a cordial relationship as she purchased a new home nearby the family’s Brentwood mansion so that the children could easily travel between their parents’ homes.
Schwarzenegger has further established a good relationship with Joseph, who is following in his footsteps and has taken to bodybuilding as a career. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration from Pepperdine University.
Amazingly, the actor’s other kids are also making him and their mother proud. His eldest child Katherine is an author and a graduate of the University of Southern California. She married actor Chris Pratt in 2019. The second child Christina works as a film producer and author. She made her film production debut in the 2018 Netflix documentary film, Take Your Pills. She also works as an assistant editor at Goop and graduated from Georgetown University in 2013.
Patrick, who is the most famous of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s kids, is an actor, model and entrepreneur. He attended the University of Southern California and has a clothing line and a Pizza franchise. He is associated with LA Models and as an actor has acting credits in films like The Benchwarmers, Grown Ups 2, Stuck in Love, and Midnight Sun. Arnold’s fourth child, Christopher, is an undergraduate at the University of Michigan.
Other Controversies Surrounding Arnold Schwarzenegger
In late 2003, when Arnold Schwarzenegger was running for the Governor of California, multiple women alleged that the actor has sexually harassed them in the past. Six of the women shared their personal stories; three alleged that he groped their breast, one accused him of grabbing her buttocks and another claimed that he tried pulling her bathing suit off her body while they were in a hotel elevator. Having recognized that he has acted inappropriately towards women in the past, Schwarzenegger rendered a thoughtful apology and equally stated that some of the stories shared by those women are falsified.
Before this, he was accused of making use of the performance-enhancing drug Dianabol while contesting in the 1970 Mr. Olympia. In the wake of the accusation, the filmmaker agreed that he made use of performance-enhancing anabolic steroids while active in bodybuilding. He stated that he used those steroids which were legalized at the time for maintenance of muscles and not for muscle growth. This statement, however, was rebuffed by many bodybuilders who made it clear that steroids are used for muscle building and not for maintenance as the actor had claimed.
Arnold Schwarzenegger has also been in legal battles with doctors who had predicted his untimely demise following his use of steroids. In 1999, he filed a libel lawsuit against German doctor Dr. Willi Heepe who had never examined his body but went on to predict his death. As a result, he was paid $12,000.