Arnold Schwarzeneggeris an Austrian-born American bodybuilder, actor and Republican politician, currently serving as the 38th Governor of California.
He was elected on October 7, 2003 in a special recall election to replace then-Governor Gray Davis. Schwarzenegger was sworn in on November 17, 2003, to serve the remainder of Davis' term, which lasts until January 8, 2007. On September 16, 2005 he officially announced that he will seek re-election to a full term in California's 2006 gubernatorial election.
Nicknamed "The Austrian Oak" in his body-building days, and more recently "The Governator" (a portmanteau of the words Governor and Terminator, after the blockbuster film roles), Schwarzenegger as a young man gained widespread attention as a highly successful bodybuilder, and later gained worldwide fame as a Hollywood action film star. Perhaps his most famous film is The Terminator, with other famous movies including Predator, True Lies, Kindergarten Cop, Total Recall, and his Hollywood breakthrough film Conan the Barbarian.
Schwarzenegger was born in Thal, Austria, a town bordering the Styrian capital, Graz, and christened Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger. His parents were the local police chief Gustav Schwarzenegger (1907-1972), and his wife, the former Aurelia Jadrny (1922-1998), who had been married on October 20, 1945, when he was 38 and she was 23 and widowed. Arnold had a good relationship with his mother and kept in touch with her until her death.
Gustav was a strict and demanding father, who generally favored the elder of his two sons, Meinhard.
Meinhard died in a car accident in 1971, and Gustav died the following year. In Pumping Iron, Schwarzenegger claimed his reason for not attending his father's funeral was that he was training for a bodybuilding contest, although both he and the film's producer later stated that this story was taken from another bodybuilder, for the purpose of showing the extremes that some would go to for their sport.
As a boy, Schwarzenegger played many sports, but discovered his passion for bodybuilding when in his mid-teens his soccer coach took the team for weight training. He attended a gym in Graz, where he also frequented the local cinemas, viewing his idols such as musclemen Reg Park, Steve Reeves, and Johnny Weissmuller
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Schwarzenegger served in the Austrian army in 1965, to fulfill the one-year service requirement expected at the time of all 18 year old Austrian males. During this year he sneaked off the base to compete in his first bodybuilding competition, the junior division of Mr. Australasia, where he won first place. He was punished for sneaking off, but the respect he gained from his superiors was obvious: his drill sergeant once yelled at a group of soldiers, "Why don't you be more like Schwarzenegger!"
Schwarzenegger made his first plane trip in 1966, attending the NABBA Mr. Universe competition being held in London. He arrived in the United Kingdom knowing little English, and it was here he first started being referred to as The Austrian Oak (or The Styrian Oak), due to his large build and the story of him performing chin ups from the limb of an Oak tree on the banks of the river Thalersee, the lake of his hometown. He would come in second in the competition, but would win the title the next year, becoming the youngest ever Mr. Universe (at age 20).
Schwarzenegger moved to the United States in September of 1968, with little money or knowledge of the English language, and trained at Gold's Gym in Santa Monica under the patronage of Joe Weider. It is here where Schwarzenegger became good friends with professional wrestler, "Superstar" Billy Graham.
During this time, his 1977 autobiography Arnold: The Education of a Bodybuilder was published. Also in 1977, Arnold Schwarzenegger declared, "Milk is for babies" in Pumping Iron, the documentary about bodybuilders that launched the Austrian?s superstar career (see). He earned a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Superior, where he graduated with degrees in international marketing of fitness and business administration in 1979.
Schwarzenegger became a U.S. citizen in 1983, although he also retains his Austrian citizenship.
In 1986, Schwarzenegger married TV journalist Maria Shriver, niece of the late President of the United States John F. Kennedy. The couple have four children: daughters Katherine (born December 13, 1989) and Christina (b. July 23, 1991), and sons Patrick (b.September 18, 1993) and Christopher (b. September 27, 1997). |