Bearded Beast of Duloc
Move to the U.S.
Schwarzenegger moved to the United States in September 1968 at the age of 21, speaking little English. "Naturally, when I came to this country, my accent was very bad, and my accent was also very strong, which was an obstacle as I began to pursue acting." There he trained at Gold's Gym in Santa Monica, California, under Joe Weider. From 1970 to 1974, one of Schwarzenegger's weight training partners was Ric Drasin, a professional wrestler who designed the original Gold's Gym logo in 1973. Schwarzenegger also became good friends with professional wrestler "Superstar" Billy Graham. In 1970, at age 23, he captured his first Mr. Olympia title in New York, and would go on to win the title a total of seven times.
Schwarzenegger may have been an illegal immigrant at some point in the late 1960s or early 1970s due to violations in the terms of his visa.
In 1969, Schwarzenegger met Barbara Outland Baker, an English teacher he lived with until 1974. Schwarzenegger talked about Barbara in his memoir in 1977: "Basically it came down to this: she was a well-balanced woman who wanted an ordinary, solid life, and I was not a well-balanced man, and hated the very idea of ordinary life." Baker has described Schwarzenegger as "[a] joyful personality, totally charismatic, adventurous, and athletic" but claims towards the end of the relationship he became "insufferable – classically conceited – the world revolved around him". Baker published her memoir in 2006, entitled Arnold and Me: In the Shadow of the Austrian Oak. Although Baker, at times, painted an unflattering portrait of her former lover, Schwarzenegger actually contributed to the tell-all book with a foreword, and also met with Baker for three hours. Baker claims, for example, that she only learned of his being unfaithful after they split, and talks of a turbulent and passionate love life. Schwarzenegger has made it clear that their respective recollection of events can differ. The couple first met six to eight months after his arrival in the U.S. – their first date was watching the first Apollo Moon landing on television. They shared an apartment in Santa Monica for three and a half years, and having little money, would visit the beach all day, or have barbecues in the back yard. Although Baker claims that when she first met him, he had "little understanding of polite society" and she found him a turn-off, she says, "He's as much a self-made man as it's possible to be – he never got encouragement from his parents, his family, his brother. He just had this huge determination to prove himself, and that was very attractive ... I'll go to my grave knowing Arnold loved me."
Schwarzenegger met his next love, Sue Moray, a Beverly Hills hairdresser's assistant, on Venice Beach in July 1977. According to Moray, the couple led an open relationship: "We were faithful when we were both in LA ... but when he was out of town, we were free to do whatever we wanted." Schwarzenegger met Maria Shriver at the Robert F. Kennedy Tennis Tournament in August 1977, and went on to have a relationship with both women until August 1978, when Moray (who knew of his relationship with Shriver) issued an ultimatum.
Schwarzenegger has said his big dream from the age of 10 was to move to the U.S. He questioned what he was doing "on the farm" in Austria, and believed bodybuilding was his "ticket to America": "I’m sure I can go to America if I win Mr. Universe." LA Weekly said in 2002 that Schwarzenegger is the most famous immigrant in America, who "overcame a thick Austrian accent and transcended the unlikely background of bodybuilding to become the biggest movie star in the world in the 1990s".
Nickname The Austrian Oak
Birth July 30, 1947 (1947-07-30) (age 62), Thal, Steiermark, Austria
Height 6 ft 1.5 in (1.87 m)
Weight 240 pounds (113 kg)
Pro-debut NABBA Mr. Universe, 1968
Best win IFBB Mr. Olympia, 1970-1975, 1980, Seven Times
Predecessor Sergio Oliva ('69), Frank Zane ('79)
Successor Franco Columbu ('76, '81)
Active Retired 1980
Schwarzenegger is considered among the most important figures in the history of bodybuilding, and his legacy is commemorated in the Arnold Classic annual bodybuilding competition. Schwarzenegger has remained a prominent face in the bodybuilding sport long after his retirement, in part because of his ownership of gyms and fitness magazines. He has presided over numerous contests and awards shows.
For many years, he wrote a monthly column for the bodybuilding magazines Muscle & Fitness and Flex. Shortly after being elected Governor, he was appointed executive editor of both magazines, in a largely symbolic capacity. The magazines agreed to donate $250,000 a year to the Governor's various physical fitness initiatives. The magazine MuscleMag International has a monthly two-page article on him, and refers to him as "The King".
One of the first competitions he won was the Junior Mr. Europe contest in 1965. He won Mr. Europe the following year, at age 19. He would go on to compete in and win many bodybuilding contests, as well as some powerlifting contests, including five Mr. Universe (4 – NABBA [England], 1 – IFBB [USA]) wins, and seven Mr. Olympia wins, a record which would stand until Lee Haney won his eighth consecutive Mr. Olympia title in 1991.
Competition Weight: 240 lbs (top 250 lbs)
Off Season Weight: 260 lbs
In 1967, Schwarzenegger competed in and won the Munich stone-lifting contest, in which a stone weighing 508 German pounds (254 kg/560 lbs.) is lifted between the legs while standing on two foot rests. Schwarzenegger has said the following on his size: "During the peak of my career, my calves were 20 inches, thighs 28.5 inches, waist 34 inches, chest 57 inches, and 22-inch arms."
In a full squat (buttocks close to ground) Schwarzenegger had a personal record of 181 kg/400lbs, for twelve repetitions.
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 holds to this day.
He continued his winning streak in the 1971 – 1974 competitions. In 1975, Schwarzenegger was once again in top form, and won the title for the sixth consecutive time, beating Franco Columbu. After the 1975 Mr. Olympia contest, Schwarzenegger announced his retirement from professional bodybuilding.
Months before the 1975 Mr. Olympia contest, filmmakers George Butler and Robert Fiore persuaded Schwarzenegger to compete, in order to film his training in the bodybuilding documentary called Pumping Iron. Schwarzenegger had only three months to prepare for the competition, after losing significant weight to appear in the film Stay Hungry with Jeff Bridges. Lou Ferrigno proved not to be a threat, and a lighter-than-usual Schwarzenegger convincingly won the 1975 Mr. Olympia.
Schwarzenegger came out of retirement, however, to compete in the 1980 Mr. Olympia. Schwarzenegger was training for his role in Conan, and he got into such good shape because of the running, horseback riding and sword training, that he decided he wanted to win the Mr. Olympia contest one last time. He kept this plan a secret, in the event that a training accident would prevent his entry and cause him to lose face. Schwarzenegger had been hired to provide color commentary for network television, when he announced at the eleventh hour that while he was there: "Why not compete?" Schwarzenegger ended up winning the event with only seven weeks of preparation. After being declared Mr. Olympia for a seventh time, Schwarzenegger officially retired from competition.
Schwarzenegger has admitted to using performance-enhancing anabolic steroids while they were legal, writing in 1967 that "steroids were helpful to me in maintaining muscle size while on a strict diet in preparation for a contest. I did not use them for muscle growth, but rather for muscle maintenance when cutting up." He has called the drugs "tissue building."
In 1999, Schwarzenegger sued Dr. Willi Heepe, a German doctor who publicly predicted an early death for the bodybuilder, based on a link between steroid use and later heart problems. Because the doctor had never examined him personally, Schwarzenegger collected a DM20,000 ($12,000 USD) libel judgment against him in a German court. In 1999, Schwarzenegger also sued and settled with The Globe, a U.S. tabloid which had made similar predictions about the bodybuilder's future health. Schwarzenegger was born with a bicuspid aortic valve, an aortic valve with only two leaflets (a normal aortic valve has three leaflets). As late as 1996, a year before Schwarzenegger's open heart surgery to replace this aortic valve with a human homograft valve, Schwarzenegger publicly defended his use of anabolic steroids during his bodybuilding career.
Destroy That Which Destroys You
"Let bravery be thy choice, but not bravado."