From humble beginnings as a bodybuilder to gaining popularity and ruling California, Arnold Schwarzenegger undoubtedly represents the American Dream.
Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger was born on July 30, 1947, in Thal, an Austrian village. He was the son of Gustav, the town's police chief, a stern authoritarian who did not think Schwarzenegger was his biological child. Schwarzenegger, a mediocre student but an avid athlete, became interested in bodybuilding when he was 15 and started competing professionally when he was 17. He won his Junior "Mr Europe" title a year later while doing his mandatory service in the Austrian military, and in 1966 he moved to England to compete in his first "Mr Universe" tournament. He was inspired by the careers of former bodybuilders turned actors like Steve Reeves. Following his second-place finish, he worked hard, among others, with three-time "Mr Universe" Reg Park, who assisted Schwarzenegger in winning his first "Mr Universe" crown in 1967.
He moved to the United States the following year and began working out with the publisher of 'Muscle and Fitness' Joe Weider, who also founded the "Mr Olympia" competition, at the Gold's Gym in Venice, California. In 1969, Schwarzenegger failed in his first attempt to win that title. However, he returned the following year and won his first "Mr Olympia." From 1971 until 1974, he repeated this feat before announcing his retirement from bodybuilding.
He quickly attracted the attention of the film business with his stunning appearance. Arnold Strong (his stage name) made his acting debut in the 1969 film "Hercules in New York." He then had a breakthrough performance in the box office smash Conan the Barbarian (1982), which was followed by a sequel in 1984. Arnold then played the title role in the science fiction film The Terminator (1984) and went on to star in the sequels Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003), and Terminator: Dark Fate (2019). Along with the comedies Twins (1988), Kindergarten Cop (1990), Junior (1994), and Jingle All the Way(1996), his other notable action pictures included Commando (1985), The Running Man (1987), Predator (1987), Red Heat (1988), Total Recall (1990), and True Lies (1994). Soon after, he founded the film production company Oak Productions.
On October 7, 2003, the world saw Schwarzenegger emerge as a Republican governor of California, succeeding then-Gov. Gray Davis. He won 48.6% of the vote, 17 points more than Cruz Bustamante, the Democrat who came in second. He took office on November 17 to complete Davis’ term. Again, he was elected to a second term as governor in California's 2006 election with a vote share of 55.9%. When his governorship term expired in 2011, he returned to film. Schwarzenegger also served as Chairman of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports from January 22, 1990, to May 27, 1993.
Arnie or "Schwarzy" during his acting career, "The Governator" (a combination of "Governor" and "Terminator") during his political career, and the "Austrian Oak" during his bodybuilding days were all nicknames for Arnold Schwarzenegger. In 1986, he wed Maria Shriver, President John F. Kennedy's niece. Arnold has five children, including Katherine and Patrick, and a son-in-law - actor Chris Pratt. After he acknowledged having fathered a child with their housekeeper in 1997, he and Maria Shriver separated in 2011. Their divorce was formalised in 2021.