Occupation: Actor, Author, Director, Restaurateur
Date of Birth: July 30, 1947
Place of Birth: Graz, Austria
Sign: Sun in Leo, Moon in Capricorn
Relations: Father: Gustav (policeman); mother: Aurelia; brother: Meinhard (champion boxer); wife: Maria Shriver (TV journalist); kids: Katherine Eunice, Christina Maria Aurelia, Patrick, Christopher Sargent Shriver; famous in-laws: The Kennedys
Education: University of Wisconsin, BA in business, economics
WHEN ARNOLD FIRST began his career, every director in Hollywood, including some actors and actresses thought that he was one of those passing stars. But that was not to be the case with this Austrian native. From the second he hit the silver screen, Arnold kept coming back again and again.
By the time Arnold Schwarzenegger was seven years old, he knew he was going to be a world champion at something. It took him five more years to find his calling as a competitive bodybuilder; only eight years later, the dedicated young man was in the United States, being crowned Mr. Universe. At 20, Arnold was the youngest person ever to receive the title.
Schwarzenegger gained the nickname the "Austrian Oak" almost as soon as he began bodybuilding. Having conquered his first goal, Arnold turned to films, and within a year, he'd landed his first lead role (in the laughable Hercules in New York, a/k/a Hercules Goes Bananas). Then followed his stint as a real-estate mogul; correspondence classes at the University of Wisconsin (he now has a degree in business and international economics); and 1977's Pumping Iron, which made him a household name.
Born in Graz, Austria, Schwarzenegger grew up in the kind of poverty most of us can't even imagine: he was fourteen before his family could afford indoor plumbing, a refrigerator and a telephone. Every day, Arnold and his brothers rose at 6:30 a.m. to do their chores, after which they were required to complete 15 minutes of sit-ups. Although they were allowed to go out with friends on Sunday nights, the Schwarzenegger parents required each son to write a ten-page essay about his extracurricular activities… before going to bed that night. Because his family couldn't afford fresh meat, an essential staple for him as a bodybuilder, Schwarzenegger joined the Austrian army – just for the food! This guy knows something about discipline.
Though he'd made substantial money marketing fitness products and playing the real estate game, Schwarzenegger longed for box-office success. He won a 1975 Golden Globe Award for Best New Actor (Stay Hungry), but it wasn't till 1982's Conan the Barbarian that Schwarzenegger-the-actor came alive. Okay, so it was a laughable film. But it was inarguably huge, and Arnold had arrived in Hollywood. Two years later, James Cameron cast Schwarzenegger in the title role of The Terminator, and both a franchise and an action star exploded in popularity. Action was Arnold's strength, and Arnold was the action genre's strength, yielding a string of successes including Commando, Total Recall, True Lies, Last Action Hero, Eraser… and lots more Terminator films. Though Schwarzenegger's ability as a comic actor is debatable, the effect of having his name on the marquee isn't: Twins, Kindergarten Cop and Jingle All the Way were all major hits. Oddly enough, out of Arnold's 37 film appearances, eight have been as himself.
In 1986, Schwarzenegger married long-time girlfriend Maria Shriver, a member of the highbrow (and strongly Democrat) Kennedy clan. Schwarzenegger's subsequent appointment as a special advisor to President George Bush and his staunch Republican politics must have raised more than a few eyebrows on Martha's Vineyard, but the couple has remained one of the steadiest celebrity pairings in recent memory. Although being a father to four children and running a restaurant mega-empire has limited the time Schwarzenegger can spend on films, the still-buff 52-year-old is still going strong.
2000 The Sixth Day
1999 End of Days
1997 Batman & Robin
1996 Jingle All the Way
1996 T2 3-D: Battle Across Time
1994 True Lies
1994 Beretta's Island
1994 A Century of Cinema
1993 Last Action Hero
1993 The Last Party
1991 Terminator 2: Judgment Day
1990 Kindergarten Cop
1990 Total Recall
1988 Red Heat
1987 The Running Man
1986 Raw Deal
1985 Red Sonja
1984 The Terminator
1984 Conan the Destroyer
1982 Conan the Barbarian
1979 Scavenger Hunt
1979 The Villain
1977 Pumping Iron
1976 Stay Hungry
1973 The Long Goodbye
1970 Hercules in New York
1995 Sinatra: 80 Years My Way
1983 Carnival in Rio
1980 The Jayne Mansfield Story
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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