How the weightlifter went from movie star to governor and back
Arnold Schwarzenegger is one of the most recognizable celebrities on the planet and has been for several decades. But long before he was a Hollywood A-lister and governor of California, he was a successful and famous bodybuilder who made smart investments to secure his future. Schwarzenegger knew he wanted to be an actor soon after arriving in Los Angeles. He was savvy enough to realize the low success rate that most aspiring actors achieve. It didn’t matter how bad he wanted to play or how good he was — the thing is, the kind of superstardom he ends up getting is akin to lightning in a bottle and a whole lot of luck, being in the right place at the right time.
Schwarzenegger’s journey to Los Angeles began in Thal, Austria in 1947. He began lifting weights at the age of 15 in order to lift himself out of the poverty he grew up in and achieve the dream of move to the United States that he had. since he was 10 years old. Schwarzenegger’s journey from poverty in Austria to becoming one of the most famous weightlifters in history, to Hollywood A-list actor to Governor of California, and back to acting is fascinating and full of twists. To remember — he was married to a Kennedy. It’s no exaggeration to say that Schwarzenegger truly lived the American dream. Let’s dive into how he pulled it all off.
Arnold Schwarzenegger grew up in poverty
Arnold Schwarzenegger was born on July 30, 1947 in Thal, Austria to Gustav and Aurelia Schwarzenegger. His father was the local police chief and in 1938 joined the Nazi Party and the SA (the Sturmabteilung), serving as a military policeman during World War II. Schwarzenegger’s parents were very strict. He said, “At the time in Austria, it was a very different world… if we did something wrong, or if we disobeyed our parents, the rod was not spared.” The family was poor and, in the years after the end of World War II, endured food shortages and riots. The Schwarzenegger family had no electricity or hot water in their home.
In a interview with NRP, Schwarzenegger said: “And we lived in this little house, and there was no food. It was really my mother who had to go out and beg for food when she went from farm to farm and beg for food …it was really awful.” This had an impact on young Arnold and inspired him to “get out of this village and become the best at something”.
Bodybuilding was Arnold’s way out of poverty
Growing up, Arnold Schwarzenegger was a good athlete. In his interview with NPR, he said: “I’ve been involved in so many different sports, trying to find what I’m good at because I always felt like it was because of athletics. that I could get out of the country and be somebody.” Eventually he found his way to bodybuilding, and it inspired him. He started bodybuilding at age 15 and at age 17 began his competitive career. In 2001, he said during a speech at Sacramento Metro Chamber’s annual “Perspectives” event:
My own plan formed when I was 14. My father wanted me to be a policeman like him. My mother wanted me to go to business school. But me – I wanted to find my own passion – something I could excel at – be awesome! One day I saw a magazine in a store window. The cover showed a muscular man in an ancient warrior costume, posing like this… It said: ‘Mr. Universe Now Starring In Hercules Movie…’ I bought this magazine. Hercules was an Englishman who had won the Mr. Universe title in bodybuilding, and turned it into a movie career – then took the money and built a gym empire…I had my role model! He could do it, I could do it! I’d win Mr. Universe. I’d be a movie star. I’d get rich. One, two, three – bing, bang, boom! I’ve found my passion. I’ve reached my objective.
In 1967, Schwarzenegger became the youngest man to win Mr. Universe. He won the title of Mr. Olympia, the highest award in bodybuilding in 1970, and from then on he won the annual award six times in a row.
He moved to Los Angeles in 1968
Schwarzenegger moved to the United States in 1968. He was known as Arnold Strong at the time, and his physique caught the attention of the film industry. His first film role came in 1969, with Hercules in New York. He befriends the artist Andy Warhol who introduces him to Hollywood actors like James Caan and Woody Allen. In 1977, he won the Golden Globe for Best Actor Debut in a Motion Picture for pump iron. Then, in 1982, his film career took off with Conan the Barbarian (and 40 years later, he’s still in talks to make King Conan). He followed that up in 1984 with his career-building role in The Terminator, Schwarzenegger’s iconic character.
The 1980s were a good decade for Schwarzenegger’s acting career. He played in Sonja Red and Commando in 1985, raw deal in 1986, The running man and Predator in 1987, and red heat and Twins in 1988.
Schwarzenegger was already a real estate mogul
Before Arnold became a famous actor, he realized that most aspiring actors never succeed. He noticed that many of his contemporaries were tenants and living paycheck to paycheck. He grew up poor, so he had no interest in seeing this again. Schwarzenegger had some money from his bodybuilding contest wins, a mail-order bodybuilding catalog he managed for a time, and movies he worked on. He took the modest amount of money he had amassed and invested it in real estate.
He bought apartment buildings, condos and office buildings in Los Angeles in the 1970s, when real estate was still relatively affordable. For example, a building in Los Angeles that he bought for $450,000 that he was able to resell several years later for $2.3 million. In other words, where other aspiring and/or rookie actors didn’t have two pennies to rub shoulders with, Schwarzenegger was already a millionaire thanks to his real estate investments.
Schwarzenegger married Maria Shriver
In August 1977, Arnold Schwarzenegger met Maria Shriver, President John F. Kennedy’s niece at a tennis tournament honoring her uncle Robert F. Kennedy. Schwarzenegger was dating a Beverly Hills hairstylist’s assistant named Sue Moray at the time, and he continued seeing both women (with their acquaintance) until Moray finally gave him an ultimatum.
Schwarzenegger and Shriver were married on April 26, 1986, at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Hyannis, Massachusetts. The couple have four children: Katherine (1989), Christina (1991), Patrick (1993) and Christopher (1997). The family resided in a mansion in the upscale Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles. Schwarzenegger’s career didn’t continue until the 1990s, with hits like Cop Kindergarten, Junior, and real lies revealing his funny side, and some of his best moments in the terminator franchise to come with T2: Day of Judgment.
He became Governor of California, or Governor
Arnold Schwarzenegger, a registered Republican, won the 2003 California recall election when the state elected to recall Governor Gray Davis. He announced his candidacy on The Tonight Show Starring Jay Leno. The media started calling him the governor and The running manafter some of Schwarzenegger’s best films. In addition, the electoral cycle has been called Total recall after another of his films. He defeated Davis to become California’s second foreign-born governor on October 7, 2003.
Schwarzenegger ran for a second term as governor of California in the 2006 election and defeated his Democratic challenger Phil Angelides by more than a million votes.
Arnold’s marriage implodes
Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver ended their marriage after 25 years in May 2011. A few days later, the Los Angeles Times revealed that the actor had fathered a son with an employee of his house, Patty Baena, 14 years earlier. . He told the newspaper that he didn’t reveal this fact to Shriver until a decade after the birth of his son with Baena and that he had officially left the office of governor of California. However, it emerged that he only admitted it after his wife confronted him after confirming the affair and the child with Baena. She had worked for the Schwarzenegger/Shriver family for 20 years. Her son with Schwarzenegger, Joseph, was born five days after Christopher, her youngest child with Shriver in 1997.
He returns to the big screen
Arnold Schwarzenegger had planned to return to acting after his second term as governor of California ended in 2011, but his divorce and the resulting media frenzy led him to decide to temporarily put those plans on hold. In 2012 he starred in The Expendables 2 and The last Stand and Evacuation plan in 2013. In 2014, he starred in Sabotage and The Expendables 3, and reprized his iconic role with Terminator Genisys in 2015 and Terminator: Dark Fate in 2019.
Celebrity Net Worth reports that Schwarzenegger has a net worth of $450 million and his films have grossed over $3 billion. Not bad for a poor child from Austria!
Watch Danny DeVito Get Tricked By Arnold Schwarzenegger Before Filming Twins 2
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