No one can doubt that Arnold Schwarzenegger has led an interesting, and incredibly successful life. From his humble beginnings in a small Austrian town he has become not only the World’s best known and most iconic body-builder, but also one of the most sought after Hollywood stars since the early nineteen eighties. Those achievements alone would be more than enough for most people, but Arnold has followed those formidable accomplishments with a successful political career and achieved high political office.
He has weathered negative media attention for his extra-marital affair and overcome a difficult and violent childhood to remain as one of the most high-profile and popular celebrities of our age, but what is the big man from Austria doing now in 2018? Read on to find out.
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Early Life and Childhood
Born in the small Austrian village of Thal in Austria on July 30th 1947, Arnold was the second son of Gustav and Aurelia Schwarzenegger. His father Gustav was the local police chief and also a former Nazi Party member who had volunteered to join the party in 1938. The experience of children growing up in Austria during that time was far removed from the ideals of modern day parenting, with physical punishment being meted out for the slightest transgression, and Arnold’s early life was more violent than most. His father Gustav showed a strong and blatant favoritism towards Arnold’s older brother Meinhard, due to his unfounded suspicions that Arnold was not his biological child, and as a result Arnold suffered the most at his hands.
Despite his turbulent home life Arnold became well known at school for his good humor, cheerfulness and exuberant character, although he was only considered average academically. He was encouraged to play sports by his father and took an early liking to soccer, where he showed great promise, but after his coach had taken the school team to a local gym he discovered the joys of weightlifting and it wasn’t too long before that became his main passion.
By the age of fourteen Arnold was tall and thin, and fond of watching his body-building heroes on the big screen. He was a keen fan of Reg Park but he was most inspired by Montana born body-building star Steve Reeves, who had embarked on a Hollywood career in the early nineteen fifties before moving to Italy where he achieved enormous success with a series of blockbusters, eventually becoming the highest paid actor in Europe at the time. The youngster became so committed to his training regime that he would frequently break into the gym at weekends while it was closed so that he never missed a days training.
In 1965 at the age of Eighteen Arnold served one year of national service in the Austrian Army but he was so committed to body building during his military service that he ended up taking an authorised leave in order to take part in a body-building competition, he got into trouble for the decision but ultimately won the competition. After his military service his extreme dedication and commitment began to pay off. Arnold met former Mr Austria Kurt Marnul, who decided to mentor the young body-builder and invited him to train at his gym in Graz. Arnold excelled even more with the advanced equipment now at his disposal and won the international power-lifting championships in 1966, followed by the amateur Mr Universe title in 1967 at the age of just 20, thereby becoming the youngest Mr Universe winner ever. He became a professional body-builder, and due to the help of one of his former childhood idols, Reg Park, he won a second Mr Universe title the following year.
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Move to America and Body-Building Career
In 1968 Arnold moved to Los Angeles, California where he trained at Gold’s Gym in Venice. He trained with professional wrestlers including Superstar Billy Graham and in 1970 he won the Mr Olympia title for the first time, the youngest ever holder of the title at the age of 23. Unfortunately for his opponents it was a long time before anyone other than Arnold would have a shot at the title, he continued to be crowned Mr Olympia every year from then until 1975. Arnold announced his retirement from body-building after so long at the top and moved his attention to his other childhood dream, that of making it big in the movies. He had already appeared in the 1970 film ‘Hercules in New York’ under the name ‘Arnold Strong’, but the film had not been a great success, his physique was hugely impressive at the time, but his accent was so strong that his lines had to be dubbed in post production.
‘Pumping Iron’ was released in 1977, it was a dramatised documentary that followed the rivalry between Arnold and the future Incredible Hulk, Lou Ferrigno, for the 1975 Mr Olympia title. Although release of the film had been delayed by two years due to lack of funding, it became a box-office success when it was finally released and hugely increased Schwarzenegger’s public profile. He make the occasional guest appearance in sitcoms and auditioned for the part of the Incredible Hulk, but his old adversary Ferrigno won that one as Arnold was far too tall to play the big green alter ego of Bill Bixby’s character Dr David Banner. He had a few other film roles, most notably appearing with Kirk Douglas in the 1979 comedy-drama ‘The Villain’, but his first big break was still a few years in the future.
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Successful Acting Career
In 1982 Arnold played the titular role in ‘Conan the Barbarian’, which took more than $100 million at the box-office. He performed most of his own stunts, and although his acting abilities were criticized by some, and the film was interpreted as promoting fascist themes by others, Arnold was hugely popular, particularly with the young male demographic. The success of the film led to a sequel in 1984 called ‘Conan the Destroyer’, but it was the other film he starred in that year that propelled him to superstar status. The Sci-Fi action adventure ‘The Terminator’, in which Arnold played a time-travelling killing machine sent from the future to kill the savior of the human race was a hit at the box office, but the films cultural influence since then cannot be underestimated. The iconic status of the film has forever made Arnold Schwarzenegger ‘The Terminator’, regardless of all of his other many and varied achievements. Arnold’s physical training regime for the first Conan film had left him in such great shape that he came out of body-building retirement and entered the Mr Omlypia competition one final time in 1980, needless to say he was a clear winner.
Arnold’s acting career has largely been characterised by the tough guy characters that he is perfectly suited for, with starring roles in ‘Predator’ (1987), Total Recall (1990) and ‘The Expendables 2’ (2012), but as his accent became less pronounced and he became more familiar to audiences, he showed a natural ability to perform superbly in comedy films, his performance in Twins (1988) alongside Danny DeVito was magical. Merely to mention in passing all of the successful blockbusters that Arnold Schwarzenegger has starred in or been involved with would require another article, but his contribution to the popularity of Hollywood films in general, and action films in particular since the 1980’s cannot be underestimated.
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Political Career
In 1986 Arnold Schwarzenegger married into one of the most influential families in the United States, when he tied the knot with the niece of President John F. Kennedy, Maria Shriver. The union was all the more surprising considering Arnold’s long-standing support of the Republican party, he was vocal in his admiration of former President Ronald Reagan and had accompanied then Vice President George H.W. Bush during the 1988 presidential election campaign trail. In 2003 he announced he would run for the office of Governor of California.
With newspapers around the World quickly and gleefully coining the phrase ‘The Governator’ Arnold began his campaign, and despite having no previous experience of high office, and no clear indication of his policies he eventually succeeded in the election and became only the second foreign-born governor of California. He won many popular victories, including preventing driver’s licences being provided to illegal immigrants, but he later came under pressure from state unions who banded together to defeat his proposed initiatives.
Arnold later adopted a more moderate political stance, with some suggesting that he was taking a far more central, and maybe even a left-wing stance on controversial issues. He appointed a Democrat, Susan Kennedy as his chief of staff and successfully ran for re-election in 2006, eventually winning by a margin of over one million votes.
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s tenure as Governor of California ended with him having a record low approval rating of just 23%, compared to the 89% approval rating he had enjoyed during the beginning of his term, this drop was in part to his opposition to Proposition 66, a proposed amendment to the Californian Three Strikes Law, but after his term as Governor he would soon experience more upheaval in his personal life.
In May 2011 Arnold and his wife Maria Shriver announced their intention to divorce and a week later the Los Angeles Times revealed that Arnold had been involved in an extra-marital affair with a member of his household staff, and that he had fathered a son with her. Arnold confessed to the affair but it soon became clear that he had only admitted to it originally after his wife had confronted him about it. Allegations of groping that had first been levelled at Arnold during his first run for Governor of California once again led to him receiving negative publicity in the press. Arnold admitted that he had not always acted entirely appropriately during his youth, but categorically denied any seriously improper conduct.
What’s Arnold Schwarzenegger Doing Now in 2018 – Recent Updates
After such a varied career in which he has excelled in a variety of areas Arnold Schwarzenegger is still involved in many causes now in 2018. His body-building career saw him win The Amateur Body Building Championship once, Mr Olympia seven times and Mr Universe Four times. His acting career has seen him become the recipient of a Golden Globe, a star on the Hollywood walk of fame and a variety of other awards. His popularity as one of the A-list of Hollywood icons is undiminished by the controversy over his political career and personal life and he is as busy professionally as he has ever been. He is due to appear in four big budget films to be released in 2017 and sequels to Twins, Conan and The Expendables are all in the pipeline for him in the near future.
In late 2016 Arnold took over the role of the host for the eighth series of ‘The Celebrity Apprentice’, now renamed ‘The New Celebrity Apprentice’. He has also publicly remarked on his lack of support for his predecessor in the role, President Donald Trump, notable due to his unanimous support for all other republican presidential candidates in the past.
Arnold Schwarzenegger these days is keen to promote clean environmental policies and businesses and frequently highlights environmentally friendly business innovations to his millions of followers on his social media accounts. His committed support of environmentally friendly policies has been a long-standing position that dates back to before his time as the Governor of California, but recently he has began to urge Americans to stand together in the current political debates that have seen such polarization of opinion. He recently uploaded a video to twitter where he paraphrased President Lincoln with a quote that he felt was particularly apt, ‘We are not enemies, We are all Americans’. As the big man who was originally from Austria likes to say, ‘I told you I’d be back’.