Bearded Beast of Duloc
Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger (English pronunciation: /ˈʃwɔrtsənɛɡər/, German: [ˈaɐnɔlt ˈaloʏs ˈʃvaɐtsənˌʔɛɡɐ]; born July 30, 1947) is an Austrian American bodybuilder, actor, businessman, and politician, currently serving as the 38th Governor of the state of California.
Schwarzenegger began weight-training at fifteen. He was awarded the title of Mr. Universe at age 22 and went on to win the Mr. Olympia contest a total of seven times. Schwarzenegger has remained a prominent face in the bodybuilding sport long after his retirement, and has written several books and numerous articles on the sport.
Schwarzenegger gained worldwide fame as a Hollywood action film icon, noted for his lead role in such films as Conan the Barbarian and The Terminator. He was nicknamed the "Austrian Oak" and the "Styrian Oak" in his bodybuilding days, "Arnold Strong" and "Arnie" during his acting career, and more recently the "Governator" (a portmanteau of Governor and the Terminator, one of his film roles).
As a Republican, he was first 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's term. Schwarzenegger was then re-elected on November 7, 2006, in California's 2006 gubernatorial election, to serve a full term as governor, defeating Democrat Phil Angelides, who was California State Treasurer at the time. Schwarzenegger was sworn in for a second term on January 5, 2007. In May 2004 and 2007, he was named as one of the Time 100 people who help shape the world.
Schwarzenegger is married to Maria Shriver and has four children.
Schwarzenegger was born in Thal, Austria, a small village bordering the Styrian capital Graz, and was christened Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger. His parents were the local police chief Gustav Schwarzenegger (1907 – 1972), and his wife, Aurelia Jadrny (1922 – 1998). They were married on October 20, 1945 – Gustav was 38, and Aurelia was a 23-year-old widow with a son named Meinhard. According to Schwarzenegger, both of 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." He grew up in a Roman Catholic family who attended church service every Sunday.
Gustav had a preference for Meinhard, the elder of the two sons. His favoritism was "strong and blatant," which stemmed from unfounded suspicion that Arnold was not his child. Schwarzenegger has said his father had "no patience for listening or understanding your problems… there was a wall; a real wall." Schwarzenegger had a good relationship with his mother, and kept in touch with her until her death. In later life, Schwarzenegger commissioned the Simon Wiesenthal Center to research his father's wartime record, which came up with no evidence of atrocities despite Gustav's membership in the Nazi Party and SA. At school, Schwarzenegger was apparently in the middle, but stood out for his "cheerful, good-humored and exuberant" character. Money was a problem in the household; Schwarzenegger has recalled that one of the highlights of his youth was when the family bought a refrigerator.
As a boy, Schwarzenegger played many sports—heavily influenced by his father. He picked up his first barbell in 1960, when his football coach took his team to a local gym. At the age of fourteen, Schwarzenegger chose bodybuilding over football (soccer) as a career. Schwarzenegger has responded to a question asking if he was age thirteen when he started weightlifting: "I actually started weight training when I was fifteen, 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." However, his official website biography claims: "At 14, he started an intensive training program with Dan Farmer, studied psychology at 15 (to learn more about the power of mind over body) and at 17, officially started his competitive career." During a speech in 2001, he said, "My own plan formed when I was 14 years old. My father had wanted me to be a police officer like he was. My mother wanted me to go to trade school." Schwarzenegger took to visiting a gym in Graz, where he also frequented the local movie theaters to see bodybuilding idols such as Reg Park, Steve Reeves and Johnny Weissmuller on the big screen. "I was inspired by individuals like Reg Park and Steve Reeves." When Reeves died in 2000, Schwarzenegger fondly remembered him: "As a teenager, I grew up with Steve Reeves. His remarkable accomplishments allowed me a sense of what was possible, when others around me didn't always understand my dreams ... Steve Reeves has been part of everything I've ever been fortunate enough to achieve." In 1961, Schwarzenegger met former Mr. Austria Kurt Marnul, who invited him to train at the gym in Graz. He was so dedicated as a youngster that he was known to break into the local gym on weekends, when it was usually closed, so that he could train. "It would make me sick to miss a workout … I knew I couldn't look at myself in the mirror the next morning if I didn't do it." When Schwarzenegger was asked about his first movie experience as a boy, he replied, "I was very young, but I remember my father taking me to the Austrian theaters and seeing some newsreels. The first real movie I saw, that I distinctly remember, was a John Wayne movie."
In 1971, his brother Meinhard died in a car accident. Meinhard had been drinking and was killed instantly, and Schwarzenegger did not attend his funeral. Meinhard was due to marry Erika Knapp, and the couple shared a three-year-old son Patrick. Schwarzenegger would pay for Patrick's education and help him to immigrate to the United States. Gustav died the following year from a stroke. In Pumping Iron, Schwarzenegger claimed that he did not attend his father's funeral because he was training for a bodybuilding contest. Later, he and the film's producer both said this story was taken from another bodybuilder for the purpose of showing the extremes that some would go to for their sport, and to make Schwarzenegger's image more cold and machine-like in order to fan controversy for the film. Barbara Baker, his first serious girlfriend, has said he informed her of his father's death without emotion and that he never spoke of his brother. Over time, he has given at least three versions of why he did not attend his father's funeral.
In an interview with Fortune magazine in 2004, Schwarzenegger told how he suffered what "would now be called child abuse" at the hands of his father:
My hair was pulled. I was hit with belts. So was the kid next door. It was just the way it was. Many of the children I've seen were broken by their parents, which was the German-Austrian mentality. They didn't want to create an individual. It was all about conforming. I was one who did not conform, and whose will could not be broken. Therefore, I became a rebel. Every time I got hit, and every time someone said, 'you can't do this,' I said, 'this is not going to be for much longer, because I'm going to move out of here. I want to be rich. I want to be somebody.'
Schwarzenegger served in the Austrian army in 1965 to fulfill the one year of service required at the time of all 18-year-old Austrian males. He won the Junior Mr. Europe contest in 1965. Schwarzenegger went AWOL during basic training so he could take part in the competition and spent a week in an army jail: "Participating in the competition meant so much to me that I didn't carefully think through the consequences." He won another bodybuilding contest in Graz, at Steirer Hof Hotel (where he had placed second). He was voted best built man of Europe, which made him famous.
"The Mr. Universe title was my ticket to America – the land of opportunity, where I could become a star and get rich." Schwarzenegger made his first plane trip in 1966, attending the NABBA Mr. Universe competition in London. He would come in second in the Mr. Universe competition, not having the muscle definition of American winner Chester Yorton.
Charles "Wag" Bennett, one of the judges at the 1966 competition, was impressed with Schwarzenegger and offered to coach him. As Schwarzenegger had little money, Bennett invited him to stay in his crowded family home above one of his two gyms in Forest Gate, London, England. Yorton's leg definition had been judged superior, and Schwarzenegger, under a training program devised by Bennett, concentrated on improving the muscle definition and power in his legs. Staying in the East End of London helped Schwarzenegger improve his rudimentary grasp of the English language. The training paid off and, in 1967, Schwarzenegger won the title for the first time, becoming the youngest ever Mr. Universe at the age of 20. He would go on to win the title a further three times. Schwarzenegger then flew back to Munich, training for four to six hours daily, attending business school and working in a health club (Rolf Putzinger's gym where he worked and trained from 1966-1968), returning in 1968 to London to win his next Mr. Universe title. He frequently told Roger C. Field, a friend in Munich at that time, "I'm going to become the greatest actor!"
Destroy That Which Destroys You
"Let bravery be thy choice, but not bravado."