In his lifetime, Arnold Schwarzenegger has worn many shoes. A former champion builder to a Hollywood action icon to a politician, Schwarzenegger has been them all, and more.
He has won several titles from Mr. Universe to Mr. Olympia during his bodybuilding years. He enjoyed an even massive amount of fame as an action star in Hollywood.
Schwarzenegger had starred in some of the most iconic action films globally, such as Conan the Barbarian and The Terminator films. After dominating the American show business, Schwarzenegger served as the Governor of California.
Born in Austria on July 30, 1947, Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger is the youngest child of Aurelia and Gustav. Schwarzenegger has an older brother named Meinhard, and they grew up in a rigorous home. 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.”
The Schwarzeneggers were devout Catholics who always attended the Sunday mass. While Schwarzenegger was very close to his mother, his father had always favored his older son.
Schwarzenegger began weight training in 1960 when his football coach took his team to a local gym. At the age of 14, he chose bodybuilding over football 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.”
Arnold, who dreamed of moving to the U.S. since the age of 10, and saw bodybuilding as the avenue through which to do so, realized his dream by moving to the United States in October 1968 at the age of 21, speaking little English. There he trained at Gold’s Gym in Venice, Los Angeles, California, under Joe Weider’s supervision.
Schwarzenegger’s goal was to become the greatest bodybuilder in the world, which meant becoming Mr. Olympia. His first attempt was in 1969 when he lost to three-time champion Sergio Oliva.
However, Schwarzenegger came back in 1970 and won the competition, making him the youngest ever Mr. Olympia at the age of 23, a record he still holds to this day.
He continued his winning streak in the 1971–74 competitions. Schwarzenegger is often referred to as one of the most influential figures in bodybuilding history even after he retired from the sport.
Schwarzenegger’s official height of 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) has been brought into question by several articles. During his bodybuilding days in the late 1960s, it was claimed that he measured 6 ft 1.5 in (1.867 m).
However, in 1988, both the Daily Mail and Time Out magazine mentioned that Schwarzenegger appeared noticeably shorter. As governor, Schwarzenegger engaged in a light-hearted exchange with Assemblyman Herb Wesson over their heights.
At one point, Wesson made an unsuccessful attempt to, in his own words, “settle this once and for all and find out how tall he is” by using a tailor’s tape measure on the Governor.
Schwarzenegger retaliated by placing a pillow stitched with the words “Need a lift?” on the five-foot-five-inch (1.65 m) Wesson’s chair before a negotiating session in his office.
Democrat Bob Mulholland also claimed Schwarzenegger was 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m) and that he wore risers in his boots. In 1999, Men’s Health magazine stated his height was 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m).
In 1970, Schwarzenegger crossed the line between the sports and movie industries. His film debut was in the movie Hercules in New York, but in the 1982 film Conan the Barbarian, he was able to break through the film industry.
The movie spawned a sequel, and Schwarzenegger went on to star in the James Cameron movie The terminator, which catapulted him into an international action film icon.
The actor starred in many box-office action movies before entered in politics. In 2003, Schwarzenegger formally announced his candidacy as Governor of California. He defeated political rivals Cruz Bustamante and Tom McClintock, and Schwarzenegger served as the 38th Governor of California.
Bodybuilder, movie star, and politician are words that don’t even scratch the surface of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s life. A young boy from a poor Austrian family climbed mountains and crossed seas to make his dreams come true. He had endured great pains on his journey to the top, but it was all worth it.
(Photo credit: Wikimedia / Arnold Schwarzenegger: A Short Unauthorized Biography by Fame Life Bios).