Born: July 30, 1947 Thal, Styria, Austria
Arnold Schwarzenegger has played everything from a loin-cloth clad barbarian to a pregnant man. He also served as governor of California. If that’s not a varied career, what is?
Born in Austria on July 30, 1947, Arnold is so gung-ho on the American Dream that even with his accent you can easily forget that he wasn’t born in the States. Working hard to achieve his goals is something that Schwarzenegger really puts his mind to. Though his father was a police chief, the family lived in impoverished conditions. Training for the local soccer team, Arnold began lifting weights and soon began to dream of winning the Mr. Universe contest.
While serving his then mandatory year in the Austrian Army, Arnold skipped base to compete in the Mr. Junior Europe contest. Unfortunately, this not only won him the title, but also several days in army prison for going AWOL. When he was released, he resumed his body-building ambitions and won the Mr. Universe title by 1967. Though he was second in 1968, he worked hard and won Mr. Universe another four times and Mr. Olympia six times in a row. He then retired to focus his attention on his new goals.
One of those goals was acting, and though his voice had to be dubbed, he won a role in 1970’s Hercules Goes to New York. His performance didn’t have people lined up around the block and except for some small parts here and there, his acting career was stagnant. Rather than mope, Schwarzenegger realized he needed to have something behind him while he worked on his acting. He started a mail-order business, bought some real estate, and received his bachelor’s degree in business and international economics.
In 1975, Schwarzenegger managed to snare the Best New Actor Golden Globe for Stay Hungry, a fitting title considering Arnold’s drive. He became famous when Pumping Iron brought him to national attention in 1977. He played Jayne Mansfield’s husband in a 1980 TV movie, but acheived his cinematic breakthrough when his was cast as Conan in the 1982 action hit Conan the Barbarian. Critics hated the film and Schwarzenegger’s performance, but the film was popular with audiences.
Two years later, playing a character with few lines, he teamed up with director James Cameron in The Terminator which reaped huge rewards at the box office. He cranked out other action flicks like Commando, Predator and The Running Man. Then in 1988, he surprised people when he tried his hand at comedy, starring opposite Danny DeVito in Twins. 1990 saw him do an action film and a comedy, releasing both Total Recall and Kindergarten Cop in the same year.
Schwarzenegger’s cyborg character minted gold in 1991 when he appeared in his most successful film, Terminator 2. Of course, even a guy who plays superhumans has to stumble a bit and when Schwarzenegger made The Last Action Hero and Junior audiences didn’t really care. That trend was stopped when Arnold once again teamed up with James Cameron and made True Lies in 1994. Audiences loved the action-filled story of a spy and his wife (Jamie Lee Curtis).
End of Days was Arnold’s first film since his role in 1997’s Batman & Robin. The buzz was that Schwarzenegger seemed rested after his absence from the screen.
In 2000, Arnie appeared in The 6th Day and released Collateral Damage in 2002.
Arnold returned to his most famous role in 2003’s T3: Rise of the Machines. It apparently took a $30 million payday for him to play the Terminator again.
Deciding he wanted to change his focus to politics, Arnold ran as a Republican for the Governor of California in the special recall election. He was elected governor on October 7th, 2003 and served out the rest of the term of recalled governor Gray Davis. He was re-elected on November 7, 2006, defeating Democrat Phil Angelides. He left the office on January 3rd, 2011.
Offscreen, the Republican was married to Maria Shriver, JFK’s niece. Despite being married into America’s most famous Democratic family, the two appeared to have a great marriage and had four children. The marriage came crumbling down after 25 years when, in the spring of 2011, it was revealed that Arnold had a son, now 14, with the family’s long-time housekeeper Mildred Baena. Shriver filed for divorce.
In 2010, Arnold had a brief appearance in The Expendables, which featured a cast of action stars like Sylvester Stallone and Jet Li. He expanded his role in 2012’s The Expendables 2 and made his lead role return to the screen as a sheriff in 2013’s The Last Stand.
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