Few lives are as terrifically absurd, amazing and prosperous as the life that Arnold Schwarzenegger has led.
He was born in 1947 in the small, humble village of Thal, a tiny locale close to the slightly more known city of Graz in the country of Austria. Given the terrible middle name of “Alois”, he was born to father Gustav, who served the Nazi party during wartime.
According to Arnold, his father was a harsh disciplinarian, employing physical punishment that included hair-pulling and leather belts. He aspired to escape and become a star.
His dreams and desires led him to work very hard at a young age. His game plan even way back then allegedly included moving to America, becoming an actor and marrying a Kennedy, all of which he achieved with varying success and a little bit of Machiavellian manipulation.
However, even Arnold would admit that his achievements outpaced his expectations, considering his outrageous successes in the fields of politics, acting and bodybuilding, not to mention business and pretty much everything else he puts his mind to.
His story is an intriguing one, but what’s the whole truth behind the muscular embodiment of the American dream? These are 15 tidbits you probably didn’t know about Arnie.
15. Champion of the Razzie Awards
The Golden Raspberry awards showcase the very worst in movie-making, often featuring the biggest stars in Hollywood, many of whom should really know better. These (dis)honors are typically given out the day before the Oscars celebrate the supposed best in film-making of the previous year.
Since 1983, Arnold Schwarzenegger has been nominated for a worst actor Razzie for his role in Conan the Barbarian, Last Action Hero and End of Days, as well as worst supporting actor in Around the World in 80 Days, The 6th Day and Batman & Robin with a single nomination for worst screen couple in The 6th Day.
Always the bridesmaid and never the bride, he finally won a Razzie award for the Worst Razzie Loser of Our First 25 Years in 2005, representing a lifetime of consistently subpar acting.
14. Workout Regimen Includes Sex Five Times a Day
Tom Arnold scored a great coup in working with Arnold Schwarzenegger on one of the titan’s most amusing films, True Lies. Perhaps part of the reason the general public hasn’t heard much from Tom Arnold since that blockbuster is due to his loose lips concerning Schwarzenegger’s apparent sex drive.
According to the comedic actor, Arnold Schwarzenegger typically prefers to have sex five times a day, not only to satiate his gargantuan thirst for life, but also as a means of ensuring his physical fitness.
“He does have a lot of needs and he believes it’s all part of the fitness,” Tom Arnold stated to the media, before explaining that five times a day is a “good number”.
13. Dating Game Appearance
In 1973, Arnold made a bit of a breakthrough on TV by appearing on “The New Dating Game”. He was introduced by the host as current Mr. Olympia and former Mr. Universe.
On the show, he speaks to the contestants by describing his measurements, imploring the women not to freak out at his 22 inch biceps, 57 inch chest, 33 inch waist while being a size 29, then asking the contestants, “what do we have in common?”
One fantastic contestant reply was the fact that “you get smaller as you go down before you get a bit bigger,” eliciting awkward chuckles from everyone involved in the popular dating show.
12. Served a Week in an Austrian Prison
After his stint as Governor of the state of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger reminisced about the good old days when he was a teenager focusing on building up his musculature. It was all part of his plan to become a professional body builder en route to the United States of America.
In this ESPN documentary, it’s revealed that his determination – successful in winning him the Mr. Universe and Mr Olympia titles before becoming a blockbuster Hollywood star – also ended up landing him in an Austrian Army jail for leaving the service in order to compete in the Junior Mr. Europe contest.
Army representatives released him quickly, perhaps after he ripped his shirt off and flexed as part of his legal defense.
11. The First American to Own a Humvee
Humvees were originally strictly a military vehicle, known for their sturdiness and ability to survive under harsh combat conditions ranging from desert to jungle locales.
A one man marketing machine, Arnold Schwarzenegger ended up flying to Indiana to buy the first two publicly available Humvees hot off the assembly line after convincing military contractor AM General that it would be totally cool.
Prior to the civilian version of the vehicle, he spent quite a bit of time and effort convincing the manufacturer to sell him a modified military version of the immense vehicle. This required an extensive waiver to absolve the manufacturer from any civil or criminal responsibility.
10. Broke into Local Gyms to Train
Arnold Schwarzenegger made some of the most important decisions of his life when he grabbed weights for the first time at the age of 13 and decided to become a professional body builder the next year.
His obsession with success drove him even at a young age, as he would feel sick when he didn’t maintain his intense workout regimen.
When the weekends would roll around and the local gym was closed, Arnold admitted that he would break into the gym in order to maintain his routine, setting the tone for his later run-in with military law in his quest for the best chest.
9. Illegal Immigrant to Governor
The Terminator arrived in the United States of America in 1968 at the age of 21, using his biceps to communicate more than his English.
He won a series of bodybuilding contests and used the winnings to invest in business ventures that focused on selling a variety of equipment that promised to make puny humans into Schwarzenegger-esque man mountains.
He quickly became a millionaire, studied elocution, business and acting, won Mr. Universe four times, became a celebrity and eventual the Gubernator.
Amazingly, according to the law firm of Siskind and Susser, there’s a chance that Arnold violated his initial visa. This would have made him an illegal immigrant while he was achieving all his American glory.
8. Agents Hated His “German” Name and Accent
The first round of agents that met with and advised Arnold absolutely despised his accent and his last name, considering it too German, even through he was born in Austria.
According to a commencement speech he gave at the University of Southern California in 2009, he stated that agents mentioned that “No one ever became a star with an accent like that, especially not with a German accent. And yes, I can imagine with your name, Arnold Schwarzen Schnitzel, or whatever the name, is, on a billboard.”
The list of roles they recommended for his acting career were bouncer, wrestler and a Nazi officer in a show like Hogan’s Heroes. Of course, Arnold transcended his supposed limitations, and instead they became his calling card.
7. Turned Down $187,000 Salary as “Petty Cash”
When elected as Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger routinely turned down his salary of $187,000, considering it to be nothing but “petty cash” – even though the amount of money he would make as the leader of California was thought to be closer to $206,500 per year.
He explained that instead of serving as the top politician of that state, he could have been making up to $200 million dollars making Hollywood films, making the Governor’s salary appear to be peanuts in comparison.
He gave back his salary every year he served in office, considering it an honor to serve the state during some of the crises that he attempted to solve during his tenure, calling it one of the most educational pursuits he’s ever accomplished.
6. His First Movie Role as “Arnold Strong”
Thirteen years before his star-making turn in the 1982 production of Conan the Barbarian, before the Livestrong phenomenon, Schwarzenegger played the lead in the hilarious movie titled, “Hercules in New York”.
In it, he’s credited as Arnold Strong ‘Mr. Universe’, and he plays a version of Hercules who becomes bored on his perch up in Olympus, deciding to descend to earth in order to find love and win bodybuilding contests.
Amusingly, according to the IMDB, the audience can hear car horns honking during scenes that are supposed to be Mount Olympus, which were filmed in Central Park.
5. Golden Globe Winner and Two-Time Nominee
Despite the near universal panning of his acting skills, Arnold Schwarzenegger has somehow managed to obtain plenty of acting and performance nominations from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, the Golden Camera awards and even the Golden Globes.
He’s won acting awards multiple times, winning a Golden Globe for Best Acting Debut in a Motion Picture for Stay Hungry, winning over Truman Capote who was nominated for his role in Murder by Death.
After this shocking win, Capote never earned another acting credit, with a quick cameo in Annie Hall being his final screen appearance.
4. Casting Choices that Altered His Career
Originally, Die Hard producers wanted the protagonist’s role to go to Arnold, which in retrospect appears to be an absurd casting choice considering the endearing everyman vulnerability of John McClane in the movie.
The original protagonist of The Terminator was also supposed to be played by Arnold, despite the fact that the Kyle Reese is also considered a vulnerable hero.
Turning down both roles, while considered to be risky moves at the time, helped cement Schwarzenegger’s image as a larger-than-life figure, especially considering his appropriately robotic performance as the Terminator.
3. World Record Bodybuilder
Schwarzenegger’s reputation as one of the leading bodybuilders was well deserved, as he’s won a record 13 major flexing competitions, which includes five Mr. Universe titles, seven Mr. Olympias and a Mr. Junior Western Europe. His legendary work ethic translated into tangible results.
At his peak, his dimensions were listed as 20 inch calves, 22 inch biceps, 28.5 inch thighs, 34 inch waist and a 57 inch chest, all at a weight of 235 pounds of mostly muscle.
This spurred the Guinness Book of World Records to declare Arnold Schwarzenegger as “the most perfectly developed man in the history of the world”, which nobody has ever argued is wrong.
2. A Hero in Real Life
While on vacation from being the most perfectly developed man in the history of forever, Arnold “Terminator” Schwarzenegger ended up shortening his vacation from acting like an action hero by becoming an impromptu action hero.
At the time Schwarzenegger was just the Governator, enjoying some time out on the beaches of Hawaii, when a man reported experiencing cramps while he was swimming in the ocean.
Instead of drowning, this man was brought ashore in the Governor’s strong, determined arms, also known as his “pythons”. After the victim expressed distress, Arnold pulled both the swimmer and his boogie board about 100 yards to safety.
1. Demolition Man Predicted His Rise to Office
Demolition Man was a modest box office success in the early 1990s, starring Sandra Bullock, Wesley Snipes and Sylvester Stallone, the latter two actors playing criminals that are cryogenically frozen as punishments for their heinous crimes.
During the world-building part of the film in which Sandra Bullock speaks of Schwarzenegger, she mentions that the Arnold Schwarzenegger Presidential Library is the constitutional amendment which allowed him to run for President of the United States.
One decade later, Schwarzenegger was in office as the Governor of California, mirroring the path that President Ronald Reagan took on his march to office during the 1980s.
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