How many times do we hear about an immigrant who makes it big in a foreign country, without any major financial support? There are people who believe in something called living the American dream and take appropriate actions to make it come true. Out of many such stories, there is one story of a man who came to the American mainland with almost nothing with him, but with his hard work and determination, turned his misery into opportunities. Take your eyes off the Hadids because today we are going to tell you about the bitter-sweet odyssey of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Arnold is not only a successful actor and a professional bodybuilder but the former governor of California as well. From serving in the Austrian Army (1965) to winning the Mr. Universe title seven times in his life, Arnold, at a very young age declared that someday he is going to be a great actor. Let us take a look inside the life of the man who changed his own destiny!
Body Building and Winning Titles All the Way
In his early days, Arnold was influenced by the lives of actors, bodybuilders and models. And no one even had the slightest hint that he would go on to become the youngest winner of the Mr. Europe title. Not only this, Arnold also bagged Mr. Olympia six times and won Mr. Universe seven times. But for that, he went through intensive training, shaped his body like no one else, even in today’s time. His intensive coaching and vigorous practices opened gateways to victory.
The Austrian bodybuilder-turned-actor defied all odds by becoming one of the most quotable and mimicked action stars in the world, earning a cool 15 million dollars a flick! Known as ‘The Austrian Oak’ during his bodybuilding days in the US, Arnold became a millionaire before the age of 22!
Hollywood: A mouthful of the last name and slow speaking abilities
Schwarzenegger eventually became the poster boy for the American Dream by dominating bodybuilding competitions and raking in an estimated 300 million dollars in the box office. However, his journey was not all that smooth. A rough Austrian accent and slow speech patterns led some producers to believe that it would not be very easy for Schwarzenegger to make it big in Hollywood. They were all impressed with his physique but most of them did not approve of his last name – they said it was a ‘mouthful’.
‘The Austrian Oak’ made his film debut as Arnold Strong in the low-budget spoof of Hercules in 1970. Since they did not approve of his voice/speech; they also had him dubbed in this movie. In ‘Stay Hungry’, the 1976 comedy drama, Arnold went back to his original name. He attained stardom with ‘Pumping Iron’ – a documentary based on his life, released in 1977. He exhibited another level of understanding of comedy in the 1979 movie ‘In the Villain’. Whereas, ‘Conan The Barbarian’ (1982) and ‘Conan The Destroyer’ (1984) established him as an action star. The year 1984 witnessed the birth of a cult Hollywood star that would rule the industry for decades to come with the release of ‘The Terminator’. That movie made Schwarzenegger a bona fide Hollywood box office draw!
Schwarzenegger – The Austrian-Born Governor of California
By the 2000s, Arnold Schwarzenegger was a household name in almost all parts of the world. This international star announced his candidacy for the Governor of California in the California recall election in the year 2003. He made this announcement during the episode of ‘The Tonight Show’ with Jay Leno on August 6, 2003. Needless to say, Schwarzenegger’s name was the most popular one among all candidates that year. It took no time for his candidacy to become the talk of international news. He became popular as ‘The Governator’ and ‘The Running Man’ in the media. People even started calling the recall elections as the ‘Total Recall’ polls!
On October 7, 2003, ‘The Austrian Oak’ was elected the Governor of California with 48.6% of the votes. Schwarzenegger won the election by more than 1.3 million votes to become the second foreign-born Governor of California. The only foreign-born Governor in California before Schwarzenegger was Irish-born Governor John G. Downey in the year 1862.
Marriage into the Kennedy Family, Separation and Controversies
Obviously, this Hollywood star with an awesome physique was quite popular with the ladies. Well, one of the most popular romantic and stable relationships of Schwarzenegger’s life was with Maria Owings Shriver – the niece of President John F. Kennedy. Today, she is a well-known correspondent and anchor at NBC News.
When Schwarzenegger met Shriver, he was still seeing his former lover Sue Moray – assistant to his Beverly Hills hairdresser. They met at the Robert F. Kennedy Tennis Tournament in the year 1977. Schwarzenegger went on to have a relationship with both Moray and Shriver for almost a year. Eventually, Schwarzenegger and Shriver entered a committed relationship that led to their marriage in the year 1986. They have four kids together.
Schwarzenegger’s relationship with Shriver took an ugly turn after almost 35 years of being together. In 2011, in the month of May, they ended their marriage when Shriver moved out of the Brentwood mansion.
The reason for this marital separation was quite controversial. Apparently, Schwarzenegger had allegedly fathered a son some 14 years earlier with a domestic staff in their household. Schwarzenegger said in a statement issued to The Times that “After leaving the governor’s office I told my wife about this event, which occurred over a decade ago.” However, sources suggested that he had confessed only after Shriver had confronted him.
The Real Man of Steel
Despite professional and personal obstacles in life, Arnold Schwarzenegger is a true inspiration. Not only, is he a self-made man but he has done that without Godfathers and other leverages. In addition, he has also faced his share of medical problems and health challenges.
Born with a defective heart, Schwarzenegger had a valve replacement surgery in 1997. He opted against a mechanical valve and went for one made using his own transplanted tissue to avoid any physical limitations. In the year 2001, he broke six of his ribs in a motorbike accident.
Living for a Cause
When Schwarzenegger is not killing villains on-screen, he is busy getting involved in noble causes. He has been involved with the Special Olympics – the world’s largest sports activity for those born with intellectual disabilities. In the year 2007, Schwarzenegger was the official spokesperson for the Special Olympics held in Shanghai (China).
He firmly believes that everyone has equal rights to quality school opportunities and those who can, should do everything in their might to provide access to all children alike. In the year 1995, he established the Inner City Games Foundation (ICG) to provide cultural, educational and community enrichment programs for youth. Active in 15 different cities, ICG serves more than 250,000 children in around 400 schools countrywide.
Schwarzenegger has also been involved with After-School All-Stars – An after school program provider, educating youth about health, fitness and, nutrition. He founded the ASAS Los Angeles branch in the year 2002.
Schwarzenegger’s life is indeed a wholesome combination of physical, emotional and moral strength – A life story that teaches us that it is okay to commit mistakes and learn from them. His life is a narrative that teaches us the power of determination and the quest for more.