ALSO: See how Conan fared in our Badass Bracket!
It's the stuff of legends and fantasy. A destitute child in a foreign land rises to physical perfection to enjoy the fruits of luxury. But a greater calling of service and duty turns this prince into a leader of lost peoples. While this is the basic story of Conan, it also parallels the fable of his portrayer, the one with the praenomen Arnold and the current agnomen of governor. He was a destitute child in Austria who rose to superpower heights with what the Guinness Book of World Records dubbed “the most perfectly developed man in the history of the world.” In the decade of the 1970s at his bodybuilding peak, he was surrounded by a hedonistic lifestyle. Fusing his physique with comparable movie roles a decade later brought him international fame, culminating in his victory in the 2003 California gubernatorial election. Arnold Schwarzenegger had his eyes on America his whole life. In his governor office in Sacramento, it seemed the prince had finally come home.
The Austrian Oak made his movie debut as a dubbed Hercules in 1970 in “Hercules in New York.” In it, he is credited with the name Arnold Strong with the powers that be fearing Schwarzenegger’s last name and his thick Austrian accent would keep audiences away. While the movie did that to itself, it would be more than a decade before Schwarzenegger would find suitable movie work to match his prowess. But when “Conan the Barbarian” emerged in 1982, the gates flew open. “The Terminator” followed in 1984, and James Cameron knew Arnold was one of a kind. The two would later collaborate on “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” and “True Lies.” Meanwhile, Arnold was basking in such films as “Commando,” “Predator” and “The Running Man.” To showcase his range – or more aptly, his willingness at risk taking and believing in following his own vision – he often pursued comedy as “Twins,” “Kindergarten Cop,” and “Junior” showed. In the last part of his career, with movies like “The 6th Day” and “Collateral Damage,” it seemed Arnold was not only just going through the motions, but that he had other things on his mind. In October 2003, Arnold succeeded Gray Davis to become the 38th Governor of California, and only the second governor in the state’s history who was born in a foreign country.
Reflecting on Arnold as a youth, childhood friends claim that among Arnold’s goals were those of living in America, being an actor, and marrying a Kennedy. By the mid 1980s, he accomplished all three, marrying Maria Shriver in 1986. The two had four children, and by transforming his image into a family man while utilizing his overwhelming popularity from the big screen, Arnold was easily re-elected to the governor’s chair in 2006. He has readily claimed time and time again that not only would he love to be the first foreign-born President of the United States (if Congress should amend the Constitution), but he would gladly return for a fourth “Terminator.” As outlandish as one seems, in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s case, nothing is outlandish. Everything is possible. For someone to go from Austria to playing Hercules as a movie debut to 30 plus years later assuming the duties of governor, becoming president seems like the natural progression of things. So natural, in fact, that it’s referenced in “Demolition Man” how he became the nation’s leader.
Arnold on the Web
Epic database encompassing the breadth of Arnold’s career.
TV Guide: Arnold Schwarzenegger
Photos, bio and news of Arnold.
Huge bio of Arnold covering every aspect of his life.
Arnold’s official site “spanning the globe.”
Office of the Governor: Arnold Schwarzenegger
Official government website tracking all of Arnold’s policies.
Photo gallery of Arnold during his bodybuilding days.
The Arnold Fans
“The Strongest Community of Arnold Fans” on the Web.
About.com: Political Humor
Links to various Arnold humor and jokes.
Lengthy interview with Arnold on “T3.”
Arnold and Roger Spottiswoode on “The 6th Day.”
Arnold on the Screen
He started under the name Arnold Strong in “Hercules in New York” and opposite Sally Field and Jeff Bridges in “Stay Hungry,” but it was 1982 in which he found success with “Conan the Barbarian,” co-written by Oliver Stone and director John Milius. “Destoyer” followed in 1984. That same year, he played the title character for James Cameron in “The Terminator.” 1985 saw Arnold as John Matrix in “Commando,” as well as Kalidor in “Red Sonja,” while 1987 brought films like “Raw Deal,” “Predator” and “The Running Man.” He plays a Russian cop named Ivan Danko in “Red Heat” in 1988, and teams with Danny DeVito as the Benedict brothers in “Twins.” The two would also reunite six years later in “Junior.”
“Total Recall” and “Kindergarten Cop” were both released in 1990, followed by the epic “T2” in 1991. He tried his hand at directing in 1992 with the TV movie “Christmas in Connecticut,” starring Richard Roundtree. He’s Jack Slater in “Last Action Hero" and John “The Eraser” Kruger in “Eraser” in 1996. That same year, he teamed with Sinbad in “Jingle All the Way.” After his performance as Mr. Freeze in “Batman & Robin,” Arnold took two years off before returning with the apocalyptic “End of Days” in 1999. He’s Adam Gibson in “The 6th Day,” and Gordy Brewer in “Collateral Damage.” A third appearance as the Terminator in “T3: Rise of the Machines” was followed by his election as governor. Now that his political career is over, Arnie has made a brisk return to the big screen, with small roles in both "Expendables" films and Kim Jee-woon's U.S. debut, "The Last Stand."
On the USA:
“Everything I have, my career, my success, my family, I owe to America.”
“Modesty is not a word that applies to me in any way - I hope it never will.”
On success in California:
“My own dreams fortunately came true in this great state. I became Mr. Universe; I became a successful businessman. And even though some people say I still speak with a slight accent, I have reached the top of the acting profession.”