Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger (born July 30, 1947) is an Austrian-born American bodybuilder, actor, and politician currently serving as the 38th Governor of California. He gained worldwide fame as a star of Hollywood action films such as The Terminator and Total Recall.

Table of contents
1 Personal background
2 Bodybuilding career
3 Acting career
4 Political career
6 External links

Personal background

Schwarzenegger was born in Thal, Austria (four miles from Graz) to a Gendarmerie-Kommandant policeman, Gustav Schwarzenegger (1907-1972) and Aurelia Jadrny (1922-1998). He moved to the US in 1968 and became a US citizen in 1983. Meanwhile, 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. The football stadium in Graz was renamed Arnold Schwarzenegger Stadium in 1997.

In 1971 Schwarzenegger's brother Meinhard was killed in an automobile accident.

In 1986, Schwarzenegger married noted TV journalist Maria Shriver, niece of late President Kennedy. The couple have 4 children: daughters Katherine and Christina and sons Patrick and Christopher.

In April 1997 he underwent an operation to correct a congenital heart valve defect.

Bodybuilding career

Schwarzenegger first gained fame as a prominent bodybuilder. His well-developed physique revolutionized the sport, 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). He is considered one of the most important figures in the history of bodybuilding, and his legacy in the sport is commemorated in the Arnold Classic annual bodybuilding competition.

Acting career

Schwarzenegger's uniquely muscular appearance earned him several movie roles. His first credited film appearance was in Hercules in New York (1970). Under the name Arnold Strong, Schwarzenegger played the title character who travels to New York and befriends a mild-mannered man. His accent in the film was so thick that his lines were dubbedbed. Schwarzenegger came to the attention of more people in the documentary Pumping Iron (1977).

Schwarzenegger's breakthrough film was Conan the Barbarian (1982), cemented by Conan the Destroyer (1984). He is perhaps most known for his role in James Cameron's The Terminator (1984) where his deadpan acting style actually helped the film. 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 with injecting his films with a droll sense of humor, setting him apart from the more serious action heroes such as those played by Sylvester Stallone.

Following his arrival as a Hollywood superstar, he made a number of commercially successful films: Commando (1985), Raw Deal (1986), The Running Man (1987), Predator (1987) and Red Heat (1988). Twins, (1988) a comedy with Danny DeVito, was a change of pace. Total Recall (1990) got Schwarzenegger $10m and 15% of the gross, and hid a widely praised, thought-provoking science-fiction script behind his usual violent action. Kindergarten Cop (1990) was another comedy.

Schwarzenegger arguably hit his high-water mark with Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991). After the box-office failure of The Last Action Hero, (1993) Schwarzenegger's career never again achieved quite the same prominence. True Lies (1994) was a sendup of spy films. It was followed by Eraser (1996), End of Days (1999), The 6th Day (2000) and Collateral Damage (2002). He starred in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003) and was slated to star in a possible True Lies 2, but his duties as California governor have likely put his movie career on hold until at least 2007.

Political career

Political affiliation

Schwarzenegger is a registered voter of the Republican party, although he describes himself as fiscally conservative and socially moderate. He backed President Ronald Reagan while he was in office but chastised fellow Republicans during the impeachment of Bill Clinton.

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 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 (a belief jokingly referenced in a Sylvester Stallone film, Demolition Man, where a future America passed a constitutional amendment to allow foreign-born Americans, and thus 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." Some analysts suspected that it was his unofficial announcement to run in the 2002 California gubernatorial election. Ultimately, he supported his friend and fellow moderate Republican, Richard Riordan, former mayor of Los Angeles, California.

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. 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 recall campaign against 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
In the days and even hours leading up to the show's taping, political experts and insiders concluded that Schwarzenegger was leaning against running. Even his closest advisors believed he was probably not going to run. Schwarzenegger stunned the pundits when he announced that he did intend to run in the October 7 recall election. He said, "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." 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. He said, "It's the most difficult [decision] I've made in my entire life." Ultimately, Shriver said she would support Schwarzenegger no matter what he chose, so he decided to run. Schwarzenegger had the most name recognition in a crowded field of candidates for Governor, but he had never held public office and his political views were unknown to most Californians.

Schwarzenegger's 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 use 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 said "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. Among his campaign team were Rob Lowe, Warren Buffett, and George Shultz.

Sexual harassment protesters
Allegations of sexual misconduct had following Schwarzenegger throughout his film career and were furthered by interviews the actor himself gave with magazines such as Oui in which he talked about smoking marijuana and participating in an orgy. Within the last five days before the election, reports appeared in the Los Angeles Times based on allegations of sexual misconduct from several individual women, sixteen of whom eventually came forward with similar 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 an interview from the same era surfaced in which Schwarzenegger discussed attending sexual orgies and indulging in drugs like cocaine. [1] [1] [1] [1] [1]

Opponents to Schwarzenegger have pegged him as a misogynistic man with a history of mistreating women, and who sends mixed messages by participating in violent films while preaching peace and non-violence. Supporters of Schwarzenegger argued that the allegations of mistreatment to women have no merit and were only a last-minute, desperate attempt to smear his reputation. [1]

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, opponents are slow to point out that 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 did not end up hurting Schwarzenegger's campaign. 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. He was sworn into office on November 17, 2003.


Schwarzenegger's inauguration was opened by Vanessa Williams, his co-star from Eraser, with the singing of 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 then spoke a few words: "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."

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 fix 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.

However, he also violated his campaign pledges to not take money from special interests and to answer accusations that he groped or sexually harassed women. He also faced a lawsuit from Rhonda Miller, a stuntwoman who said she had been manhandled on the set of "Terminator 2." Miller sued for libel, based on an email that the actor's campaign had sent to reporters, attempting to discred Miller by falsely insinuating that she had a rap sheet for theft, forgery, drugs and prostitution.[1]


External links