Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger (born July 30, 1947) is an Austrian-American actor, businessman, former politician and professional bodybuilder.
He served as the 38th Governor of California from 2003 to 2011. As of 2020, he is the most recent Republican governor of California.
Schwarzenegger began lifting weights at the age of 15, and went on to win the Mr. Universe title at age 20 before winning the Mr. Olympia contest seven times; he remains a prominent presence in bodybuilding and has written many books and articles on the sport.
The Arnold Sports Festival, considered the second most important bodybuilding event after Mr. Olympia, is named after him. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest bodybuilders of all time, as well as the sport's most charismatic and famous ambassador.
Schwarzenegger gained worldwide fame as a Hollywood action film icon. His breakthrough film was the sword-and-sorcery epic Conan the Barbarian (1982), a box-office hit that resulted in a sequel in 1984.
He appeared as the title character in James Cameron's critically and commercially successful sci-fi action film The Terminator (1984), and subsequently played similar characters in the films Terminator 2: Judgment Day(1991), Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003), Terminator Genisys(2015), and Terminator: Dark Fate(2019).
He also starred in other successful action films such as Commando (1985), The Running Man(1987), Predator (1987), Total Recall(1990), and True Lies (1994), in addition to comedy films such as Twins (1988), Kindergarten Cop (1990), Junior (1994), and Jingle All The Way (1996).
A Republican, Schwarzenegger was first elected on October 7, 2003, in a special recall election to replace then-Governor Gray Davis. He was sworn in on November 17, to serve the remainder of Davis' term.
He was then re-elected in the 2006 California gubernatorial election, to serve a full term as governor. In 2011, he completed his second term as governor and returned to acting.
Schwarzenegger was nicknamed the "Austrian Oak" in his bodybuilding days, "Arnie" or "Schwarzy" during his acting career, and "The Governator" (a portmanteau of "Governor" and "Terminator") during his political career.
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He married Maria Shriver, the niece of 35th U.S. President John F. Kennedy, in 1986. They separated in 2011. Their divorce was finalized in 2017.
Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger was born on July 30, 1947 in Thal, Styria, the second son of Aurelia (née Jadrny) and Gustav Schwarzenegger. His father was the local chief of police and had served in World War II as a Hauptfeldwebel after voluntarily joining the Nazi Party in 1938.
He was wounded in the Battle of Stalingrad, but was discharged in 1943 following a bout of malaria. He married Aurelia on October 20, 1945; he was 38 and she was 23. According to Schwarzenegger, his parents were very strict: "Back then in Austria it was a very different world ... if we did something bad or we disobeyed our parents, the rod was not spared."
He grew up in a Catholic family who attended Massevery Sunday. Gustav had a preference for his elder son, Meinhard, over Arnold. His favoritism was "strong and blatant", which stemmed from unfounded suspicion that Arnold was not his biological child.
Schwarzenegger has said that his father had "no patience for listening or understanding your problems". He had a good relationship with his mother, with whom he kept in touch until her death.
In later life, he commissioned the Simon Wiesenthal Center to research his father's wartime record, which came up with no evidence of Gustav being involved in atrocities despite his membership in the Nazi Party and Sturmabteilung (SA).
Gustav's background received wide press attention during the 2003 California recall campaign.
Early education and bodybuilding beginnings
At school, Schwarzenegger was reportedly academically average, but stood out for his "cheerful, good-humored, and exuberant" character.
Money was a problem in their household; Schwarzenegger recalled that one of the highlights of his youth was when the family bought a refrigerator.
Heavily influenced by his father, he played several sports as a boy. He began weight training in 1960, when his soccer coach took his team to a local gym.
At the age of 14, he chose bodybuilding over soccer as a career. He later said, "I actually started weight training when I was 15, but I'd been participating in sports, like soccer, for years, so I felt that although I was slim, I was well-developed, at least enough so that I could start going to the gym and start Olympic lifting."
However, his official website biography claims that "at 14, he started an intensive training program with Dan Farmer, studied psychology at 15 (to learn more about the power of mind over body) and at 17, officially started his competitive career."
During a speech in 2001, he said, "My own plan formed when I was 14 years old. My father had wanted me to be a police officer like he was. My mother wanted me to go to trade school."
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