Arnold Schwarzenegger was born on July 30, 1947, near Graz, Austria. He rose to fame as the world’s top bodybuilder, launching a career that would make him a giant Hollywood star via films like Conan the Barbarian, The Terminator, and Total Recall. After years of blockbuster movie roles, Schwarzenegger went into politics, becoming governor of California in 2003. He returned to the big screen after leaving office in 2011, finding success with The Expendables franchise and a return to the Terminator series.

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Early Years

Arnold Schwarzenegger was born on July 30, 1947, near Graz, Austria. Schwarzenegger’s childhood was far from ideal. His father, Gustav, was an alcoholic police chief and one-time member of the Nazi Party, who clearly favored Arnold’s brother over his gangly, seemingly less athletic younger son.

Gustav is reported to have beaten and intimidated Arnold and, when he could, pitted his two boys against one another. He also ridiculed Schwarzenegger’s early dreams of becoming a bodybuilder. “It was a very uptight feeling at home,” Schwarzenegger later recalled. So uptight and uncomfortable, in fact, that Schwarzenegger would later refuse to attend the funeral of his father, who died in 1972, or his brother, who was killed in a car crash in 1971.

Bodybuilding Career

As an escape, Arnold turned to the movies, in particular those of Reg Park, a bodybuilder, and star in B-level Hercules movies. The films also helped propel Schwarzenegger’s own obsession with America, and the future he felt awaited him there. Getting to his new country was the issue. Schwarzenegger found his answer in Joe Weider, the man behind the International Federation of Body Building, an organization that sponsored contests such as Mr. Universe and Mr. Olympia.

Weider loved Schwarzenegger’s bravado, sense of humor, and the potential he saw in the young bodybuilder. Weider’s instincts couldn’t have been more dead-on. In all, Schwarzenegger would win an unprecedented five Mr. Universe titles and six Mr. Olympia crowns during his bodybuilding career.

‘Conan,’ ‘The Terminator,’ ‘Total Recall’ and Beyond

With his ascension to the top of the bodybuilding world, it was only a matter of time before Schwarzenegger would move over to the big screen. After a few small parts, Schwarzenegger received a Golden Globe Award for Best Newcomer for his performance in Stay Hungry (1976).

With his immense physical strength and size, Schwarzenegger was natural for action films. He became a leading figure in several popular 1980s action movies, including Conan the Barbarian (1982) and its sequel, Conan the Destroyer (1984). Schwarzenegger also starred as a deadly machine from the future in The Terminator (1984), and later reprised the role for Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) and Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003).

Additional action flicks from the actor’s heyday include Commando (1985), Predator (1987), The Running Man (1987), Total Recall (1990), and True Lies (1994). He also used his oversized physique to comedic effect in Twins (1988) and Kindergarten Cop (1990).

Personal Life

Off-screen Schwarzenegger continued his remarkable story, marrying into the Kennedy family in 1986 by tying the knot with Maria Owings Shriver, daughter of Eunice Kennedy Shriver and her husband R. Sargent Shriver. The couple announced their decision to separate in May 2011, after Schwarzenegger’s acknowledgment that he’d fathered a baby with a member of the family’s household staff.


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