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Arnold Schwarzenegger

Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger (born July 30, 1947) is an Austrian-American actor, politician, bodybuilder, and businessman, currently serving as the 38th Governor of California. He was elected on October 7, 2003 in a special recall election which removed sitting Governor Gray Davis from office. Schwarzenegger was sworn-in on November 17, 2003 to serve the remainder of Davis' term which lasts until January 2007.

Nicknamed the Austrian Oak — and more recently The Governator and Conan the Republican — Schwarzenegger as a young man gained widespread attention as a highly successful bodybuilder, and later gained worldwide fame as a Hollywood action film star. His most famous films include The Terminator (and its sequels), Predator, Conan the Barbarian, and Total Recall.


Personal background

Schwarzenegger was born in Thal, Austria, four miles (6 km) from Graz, to a Gendarmerie-Kommandant policeman, Gustav Schwarzenegger (1907-1972) and his wife Aurelia Jadrny (1922-1998). His parents were enthusiastic national socialists.

With 20 dollars in his pocket, and not fluent in English, he moved to the U.S. in 1968. He became a U.S. citizen in 1983, although he has also retained his Austrian nationality. During this time, he earned a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin, Superior where he graduated with a major in international marketing of fitness and business administration in 1979.

In 1971 Schwarzenegger's brother Meinhard was killed in an automobile accident, and his father died the following year. In 1977 his autobiography, was published. In 1986, Schwarzenegger married TV journalist Maria Shriver, niece of late President John F. Kennedy. The couple have four children: daughters Katherine and Christina, and sons Patrick and Christopher.

His distinctive and oft-imitated accent has led many entertainers and pundits to refer to him simply as "Ah-nuld".

Bodybuilding career

Schwarzenegger first gained fame as a bodybuilder. His well-developed physique earned him the moniker "The Austrian Oak" and won him the titles of Junior Mr. Europe , Mr. World , Mr. Universe (five times) and Mr. Olympia (seven times). The seven wins at Mr. Olympia was a record set in 1980, cementing him as a legend of the sport. The record would remain until Lee Haney won his eighth straight Olympia in 1991. 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 admitted to using performance-enhancing anabolic steroids, 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." However, some bodybuilders who used the same steroid cocktails as Schwarzenegger in the 1970s dispute the notion that they were used merely for "muscle maintenance." Even Schwarzenegger has called the drugs "tissue building." [1] In 1999, Schwarzenegger sued 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 20,000 DM (US$12,000) libel judgement against him in a German court. In 1999 Schwarzenegger also sued and settled with Globe Magazine , a U.S. tabloid which had made similar predictions about the bodybuilder's future health. As late as 1996, a year before open heart surgery to replace an aortic valve, Schwarzenegger publicly defended his use of anabolic steroids during his bodybuilding career.[2] (Schwarzenegger was born with a bicuspid aortic valve; a normal aortic valve is triscuspid .) According to a spokesman, Schwarzenegger has not used anabolic steroids since 1990 when they were made illegal.[3] In bodybuilder slang, steroids are sometimes called "Arnolds".[4]

Schwarzenegger has remained a prominent face in the bodybuilding sport long after his retirement, in part due to 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".

Schwarzenegger's first political appointment was to 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 called him "Conan the Republican".

Acting career

Growing bored with professional bodybuilding, which he began to view as a "go nowhere" career, Schwarzenegger began to pursue a career as an actor. His uniquely muscular appearance earned him several movie roles. His first film appearance was as Hercules in Hercules in New York (1970), credited under the name Arnold Strong, although his accent in the film was so thick that his lines were dubbed. He appeared in The Long Goodbye, and Stay Hungry. Schwarzenegger came to the attention of more people in the documentary Pumping Iron (1977), elements of which were dramatized. In 1991, Schwarzenegger purchased the rights to this film, outtakes, and associated still photography that could be embarrassing politically. Initially he had trouble breaking into films because agents disliked his surname, muscles and accent.[5]

Schwarzenegger's breakthrough film was Conan the Barbarian (1982), and this was cemented by a sequel, Conan the Destroyer (1984). As an actor, he is most well-known as the title character of James Cameron's cyborg thriller The Terminator (1984). Schwarzenegger's acting ability (described by one critic as having an emotional range that "stretches from A almost to B") has long been the butt of many jokes; he retains a strong Austrian accent in his speech even in roles which do not call for such an accent. However, few of the fans of his work seem to care. He also made a mark for injecting his films with a droll, often self-deprecating sense of humor, setting him apart from more serious action heroes such as Sylvester Stallone, his most prominent contemporary. (As an aside, his alternative-universe comedy/thriller Last Action Hero featured a poster of the movie Terminator 2: Judgment Day who in that alternate universe had Sylvester Stallone as its star; a similar in-joke in Twins suggested that the two actors might one day co-star, something which never came to pass).

Following his arrival as a Hollywood superstar, he made a number of commercially successful films: Commando (1985), Raw Deal (1986), The Running Man (1987), and Red Heat (1988). In Predator (1987), another commercially successful film, Schwarzenegger led a cast which included future Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura (Ventura also appears in Running Man) and future Kentucky Gubernatorial Candidate Sonny Landham. Twins, (1988) a comedy with Danny DeVito, was a change of pace. Total Recall (1990), at that time the most expensive film ever, netted Schwarzenegger $10 millon and 15% of the gross, and was a widely praised, thought-provoking science-fiction script behind his usual violent action. Kindergarten Cop (1990) was another comedy.

Schwarzenegger's critical and commercial high-water mark was Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991). His next film project, the self-aware action comedy Last Action Hero, (1993), had the misfortune to be released opposite Jurassic Park, and suffered accordingly. Schwarzenegger's career never again achieved quite the same prominence, his aura of box-office invincibility suffering. True Lies (1994) was a popular sendup of spy films, and saw Schwarzenegger reunited with director James Cameron, whose own career had taken off with The Terminator. It was followed by the popular, albeit by-the-numbers Eraser (1996), and Batman & Robin (1997), his final film before taking time to recuperate from a back injury. Although Batman & Robin was a famous disaster, Schwarzenegger emerged largely unscathed. Several film projects were announced with Schwarzenegger attached to star including the remake of The Planet of the Apes, a new film of I am Legend and a World War II film scripted by Quentin Tarrantino that would have seen Schwarzenegger finally play an Austrian. Instead he returned with End of Days (1999) - an unsuccessful and atypically dark attempt to broaden his acting range - The 6th Day (2000) and Collateral Damage (2002), none of which came close to recapturing his former prominence. Harry Knowles stated that by this stage Schwarzenegger appeared to be indifferent to his fans and was mostly doing the films for the upfront paycheck he could command in order to support his political ambitions. He starred in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003) and was slated to star in a possible True Lies 2 and Conan the King, but his duties as California governor have likely put his movie career on hold until at least 2007, though producers repeatedly claim he will make a small appearance in a fourth Terminator film. His last film appearance to date was a cameo in the 2004 remake of Around the World in 80 Days.


Political career

Schwarzenegger and son Patrick at , in December 2002.
Schwarzenegger and son Patrick at Edwards Air Force Base, California in December 2002.

Political affiliation

Schwarzenegger is a Republican, unusual among the often heavily Democratic Hollywood community. He describes himself as fiscally conservative and socially moderate. Schwarzenegger backed Republican President Ronald Reagan, whose footsteps he's following--movie star turned politician--while Reagan was in office, but chastised fellow Republicans during the impeachment of Bill Clinton. Sensing an opportunity to affect the outcome of the 2004 Presidential race, Schwarzenegger campaigned in Ohio for Republican George W. Bush in the closing days of the campaign.

In an interview on October 29, 2002, with MSNBC's Chris Matthews at Chapman University, Schwarzenegger explained why he is a Republican:

Well, I think because a lot of people don't know why I'm a Republican, I came first of all from a socialistic country which is Austria and when I came over here in 1968 with the presidential elections coming up in November, I came over in October, I heard a lot of the press conferences from both of the candidates Humphrey and Nixon, and Humphrey was talking about more government is the solution, protectionism, and everything he said about government involvement sounded to me more like Austrian socialism.
Then when I heard Nixon talk about it, he said open up the borders, the consumers should be represented there ultimately and strengthen the military and get the government off our backs. I said to myself, what is this guy's party affiliation? I didn't know anything at that point. So I asked my friend, what is Nixon? He's a Republican. And I said, I am a Republican. That's how I became a Republican.

It had been known since the 1990s that Schwarzenegger was interested in public office; this was jokingly referenced in a Sylvester Stallone film, Demolition Man, where a future America passed a constitutional amendment to allow foreign-born Americans like Schwarzenegger to become President.

Regarding a run for public office, in 1999, he told Talk magazine that "I think about it many times." He said, "The possibility is there because I feel it inside. I feel there are a lot of people standing still and not doing enough. And there's a vacuum."

Venturing into politics

Schwarzenegger was appointed Chairman of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports in the administration of George H. W. Bush from 1990 to 1993. During that time, Schwarzenegger traveled across the U.S. promoting physical fitness to kids and lobbying all 50 governors in support of school fitness programs. "He would hit sometimes two or three governors in a day in his own airplane, at his own expense, somewhere around $4,000 an hour," said George Otott, his chief of staff at the time. "When he walked in, it wasn't about the governor, it was about Arnold," said Otott, a retired Marine. "He has what we in the military call a command presence . He becomes the number one attention-getter."

He later served as Chairman for the California Governor's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports under Governor Pete Wilson.

Schwarzenegger scored his first real political success on November 5, 2002 when Californians approved his personally crafted and sponsored Proposition 49, the "After School Education and Safety Program Act of 2002", an initiative to make state grants available for after-school programs.

2003 California recall

In the 2003 California recall, Schwarzenegger was widely rumored to be considering a run at becoming Governor of California. In the July 2003 issue of Esquire magazine, he said, "Yes, I would love to be governor of California ... If the state needs me, and if there's no one I think is better, then I will run." When a petition to recall Democratic governor Gray Davis qualified for the ballot on July 24, Schwarzenegger left many wondering whether he would jump into the contest. Schwarzenegger was just wrapping up a promotional tour for Terminator 3 and said he would announce his decision on whether to run on August 6 on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

Crowd watching Schwarzenegger inauguration
Crowd watching Schwarzenegger inauguration

In the days and even hours leading up to the show's taping, political experts and insiders concluded that Schwarzenegger was leaning against running in California's October 7 recall election. Even his closest advisors said he was probably not going to run. Rumors leading up to the announcement said that his wife, Maria Shriver, a Kennedy family Democrat, was against his running, and he wanted her approval in order to run. When announcing his candidacy on the Tonight Show, he joked, "It's the most difficult [decision] I've made in my entire life, except the one I made in 1978 when I decided to get a bikini wax." Ultimately, Shriver said she would support Schwarzenegger no matter what he chose, so he decided to run. Schwarzenegger told Leno, "The politicians are fiddling, fumbling and failing. The man that is failing the people more than anyone is Gray Davis. He is failing them terribly, and this is why he needs to be recalled and this is why I am going to run for governor."

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 was immediate 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 of his movies), and calling the recall election "Total Recall" (ditto) and "Terminator 4: Rise of the Candidate" (referring to his movie Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines). Schwarzenegger was quick to make use of his well-known one-liners, promising to "pump up Sacramento" (the state capital) and tell Gray Davis "hasta la vista." At the end of his first press conference, he told the audience "I'll be back." Schwarzenegger looked to follow in the footsteps of former California governor and one-time movie star Ronald Reagan. However, due to his status as a naturalized citizen, he would not be eligible to seek the Presidency (unless the Constitution were to be amended, which has been proposed in 2000 by Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA), and in July 2003 (the Equal Opportunity to Govern Amendment) by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT). Among his campaign team were Rob Lowe, Warren Buffett, and George Shultz.

Sexual harassment protesters
Sexual harassment protesters

During the campaign, allegations of sexual and personal misconduct were raised against Schwarzenegger. 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, sixteen of whom eventually came forward with their personal stories. Chronologically, they ranged from Elaine Stockton, who claimed that Schwarzenegger groped her breast at a Gold's Gym in 1975 (she was 19 at the time), to a 51-year-old woman who said that he pinned her to his chest and spanked her shortly after she met him in connection with production of his film, "The Sixth Day," in 2000. 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 a magazine interview from the same era (1975) surfaced in which Schwarzenegger discussed attending sexual orgies and indulging in drugs like marijuana and cocaine. [6] [7] [8]

Allegations, based on selective quotation, were also made that he at one time admired Adolf Hitler and had praised him as a great propagandist. However the full text of the statement from which the quotation was taken significantly reduces the credibility of the allegations. Although Schwarzenegger's father was in fact a member of the Nazi party, Schwarzenegger has been a strong supporter of various Jewish groups, and has denounced the principles of the fascist German regime, saying "I have always despised everything that Hitler stands for."

These allegations were brought up mainly in the context of his campaign, but they continue to be occasionally used by some critics. Garry Trudeau, the cartoonist behind the comic strip Doonesbury, combined the allegations by nicknaming Schwarzenegger "Herr Gröpenführer" and depicting Schwarzenegger as a huge, groping hand in his artwork.

On October 7, 2003, the 2003 California recall resulted in Governor Gray Davis being recalled with 55.4% of the Yes vote. Schwarzenegger was elected Governor of California on the second ballot with 48.6% of the vote, defeating Democrat Cruz Bustamante, fellow Republican Tom McClintock and others. In total, Arnold won the election by about 1.3 million votes.

He was sworn into office on November 17, 2003. Schwarzenegger's inauguration was opened by Vanessa Williams, his co-star from Eraser singing the National Anthem. His children joined others in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, then Maria Shriver spoke and held the Bible while Schwarzenegger was sworn into the office of Governor. He spoke briefly: "Today is a new day in California. I did not seek this office to do things the way they've always been done. What I care about is restoring your confidence in your government... This election was not about replacing one man. It was not replacing one party. It was about changing the entire political climate of our state."


Arnold Schwarzenegger, , and speak to firefighters on , .
Arnold Schwarzenegger, President George W. Bush, and Gray Davis speak to firefighters on November 4, 2003.

In his first few hours in office Schwarzenegger fulfilled his campaign promise to repeal a 200% increase in vehicle license fees undertaken by Gov. Davis's administration. On his first full day in office, Schwarzenegger proposed a three-point plan to address the budget woes. First, Schwarzenegger proposed floating $15 billion in bonds. Second, he urged voters to pass a constitutional amendment to limit state spending. Third, he sought an overhaul of workers' compensation. Schwarzenegger also called the state legislature into a special session and said that spending cuts would also be necessary. He initiated the cuts by agreeing to serve as governor with no salary, a savings of $175,000.

To fulfill the first two points, he urged California voters to pass Proposition 57 and Proposition 58 in the March 2, 2004 election, which authorized the sale of $15 billion in bonds and mandated balanced budgets, respectively. Despite initially tepid support from the public, the combination of heavy campaigning by Schwarzenegger, endorsements from a number of leading Democrats, and warnings about the dire consequences should the propositions fail to pass, led to overwhelming votes in favor of the two propositions. Prop. 57 passed with 63.3% of the votes in favor and Prop. 58 passed with 71.0% in favor. He accomplished the third point when he signed a workers' compensation reform bill on April 19, 2004. Schwarzenegger convinced the Democratic-controlled state legislature to approve the package by threatening to take the issue directly to state voters in a November ballot initiative if the legislature did not act.

Schwarzenegger was later criticized for reneging on his campaign pledges not to take money from special interests and for failing to answer directly the sexual harassment allegations raised by the Los Angeles Times immediately preceding the recall election. However, Schwarzenegger made a point shortly after becoming governor of voluntarily attending a training course conducted by the state Attorney General's office on preventing sexual harassment (along with several members of his senior staff).

In February 2004, he declined amnesty to convicted murderer Kevin Cooper who had asked him for clemency in his death penalty sentence. Nevertheless, Cooper's planned execution was stayed by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals pending a revisiting of evidence. Austrian Green Party spokesman Peter Pilz later called for Schwarzenegger to be stripped of his Austrian citizenship. Pilz claimed that Austrian law forbids any Austrian citizen from taking part in or ordering executions.

The Governor has granted clemency or early release to quite a surprising number of convicted felons serving time in state prisons, leading some to believe that he is less "tough on crime" than his Democratic predecessor, who presided over numerous executions.

Despite expectations that Schwarzenegger would be vulnerable to opposition critics once taking office, his early governorship showed some successes. He has dealt successfully with California politicians as diverse as John Burton on the left to Tom McClintock on the right. At the end of May, 2004 the Field poll put his popularity at 65%, the highest for a California governor in 45 years, including 41% of Democrats, party adherents of his opposition. By comparison, former United States President Ronald Reagan, known as "the Great Communicator," never hit 60% approval while serving as California governor.[9] In March, 2004 Libertarian policy research foundation The Cato Institute rated him 1st in their fiscal policy report card of the nation's governors.

In July 2004, however, Schwarzenegger and the state legislature deadlocked, failing to approve the state budget on time. Trying to rouse public support for his position, he compared lawmakers to kindergartners who need a "timeout," and in a rally of supporters called his budget opponents "girlie men" (a reference to a long-running Saturday Night Live skit parodying Schwarzenegger). The remark became national news and was not received well by his opponents, including gay advocacy and feminist groups who labeled it homophobic and sexist, not to mention the legislators themselves. His supporters made "girly men" T-shirts and the Governor continued to use the term, including when he addressed the Republican National Convention, calling critics of the current U.S. economic situation "economic girlie men".

Despite what some viewed as political snags during the summer, the Field polls released in August and October 2004 showed that Schwarzenegger's approval rating remained at 65%. Additionally, in October, for the first time in four years a plurality of Californians felt the state was "on the right track". When asked if they would support Schwarzenegger if he could run for president, 50% said they would oppose while only 26% said they would support the governor in a presidential bid. (Field poll (PDF))


While Arnold Schwarzenegger's height was always believed to be 6 feet, 2 inches (1.88 m), a July 2002 article in US Weekly magazine speculated that Schwarzenegger was actually closer to 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m). During his campaign for governorship it was noted that Schwarzenegger was considerably shorter than many expected, with others putting his height at around 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m), exactly as reported in US Weekly. His spokespeople now give his height as 6 ft even (1.83 m).

In honor of its most famous son, Schwarzenegger's home town of Graz named its new football stadium after him. The Arnold Schwarzenegger Stadion, which is the home of both Grazer AK and Sturm Graz and has a capacity of 15,400, cost €20.5 million, and opened on July 9, 1997.

In 2005 Peter Pilz from the Austrian Green Party in parliament demanded to revoke Schwarzenegger's Austrian citizenship because of his involvement in the exercise of the death penalty in California. 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". The European Convention on Human Rights, that bans the death penalty, is part of the Austrian constitution. Therefore the argument by Peter Pilz, Schwarzeneger damaged the interests of the Austrian Republic, had some credibility. Schwarzenegger justified his actions by referring to the fact that his only duty as Governor of California was to prevent an error in the judicial system.


  • "I'll be back." — his catch phrase as an actor; it or some variation appears in many of his movies
  • "Bodybuilders party a lot, and once, in Gold's - the gym in Venice, California, where all the top guys train - there was a black girl who came out naked. Everybody jumped on her and took her upstairs, where we all got together." — promoting bodybuilding in a 1977 interview with Oui magazine
  • "They cannot have the guts to come out there in front of you and say 'I don't want to represent you. I want to represent those special interests: the unions, the trade lawyers' … I call them girlie men. They should get back to the table, and they should finish the budget." — delivered to a rally of supporters, regarding an impass with state Democratic lawmakers which prevented the passing of the state budget on time, July 17, 2004
  • "When I was on my way to the podium a gentleman stopped me and said I was as good a politician as I was an actor. What a cheap shot!" — At the 2004 Republican National Convention, August 31, 2004
  • "Everything I have — my career, my success, my family — I owe to America." — At the 2004 Republican National Convention, August 31, 2004
  • "To those critics who are so pessimistic about our country, I say: Don't be economic girly men." — At the 2004 Republican National Convention, August 31, 2004
  • "Hasta la vista, Baby" — Terminator 2: Judgment Day
  • "It is as satisfying to me as coming is — you know, as having sex with a woman and coming. So can you believe how much I am in heaven?. I am, like, getting the feeling of coming in the gym. I'm getting the feeling of coming at home. I'm getting the feeling of coming backstage when I pump up. When I pose out in front of 5.000 people I get the same feeling. So I'm coming day and night." — regarding the feeling associated with bodybuilding, from the movie Pumping Iron.
  • "I propose that a teacher's pay be tied to merit, not tenure. And I propose that a teacher's employment be tied to performance, not just showing up." January 5, 2005

External links

Official websites

Unofficial links


  • Arnold Schwarzenegger, Arnold: Developing a Mr Universe Physique, 1977
  • ---- Interview in Oui magazine, August 1977
  • ---- Excerpts from Time Out (London) interview, 1977
  • ---- Arnold: The Education of a Bodybuilder, 1983, Simon & Schuster, Reprint edition, 1993, ISBN 06717974841983. autobiography
  • ---- Arnold's Body Building for Men, Simon & Schuster, Reprint edition, 1984, ISBN 0671531638
  • ---- The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding : The Bible of Bodybuilding, 1985, Fully Updated and Revised, Simon & Schuster, 1999, ISBN 0684857219
  • Nigel Andrews, True Myths of Arnold Schwarzenegger : The Life and Times of Arnold Schwarzenegger, from Pumping Iron to Governor of California, Bloomsbury USA, Revised edition, 2004, ISBN 1582344655
  • Michael Blitz, Why Arnold Matters: The Rise of a Cultural Icon
  • Karen Brandon, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
  • Colleen A. Sexton, Arnold Schwarzenegger (A&E Biography), Lerner Publications, 2004, ISBN 0822522233
  • Susan Zannos, Arnold Schwarzenegger (Real-Life Reader Biography)
  • Andy Borowitz, Governor Arnold : A Photodiary of His First 100 Days in Office, Simon & Schuster, 2004, ISBN 0743262662
  • "Arnold Schwarzenegger - Hollywood Hero" DVD ~ Todd Baker
  • "Pumping Iron" (25th Anniversary Special Edition) DVD ~ George Butler
  • Cinemovie.Info: Arnold Schwarzenegger

Last updated: 07-30-2005 16:44:42
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