Arnold Schwarzenegger is unarguably one of the world’s most famous actors. Like many grass-to-grace stories, Arnold didn’t achieve overnight success. He left his home country of Austria to seek greener pastures in America. Today, he is an inspiration to many across various fields including acting, bodybuilding, and politics.
Here are 10 interesting facts you probably didn’t know about the Austrian oak.
1. According to Arnold, his parents were strict disciplinarians. “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 said.
He also disclosed that his parents thought he was gay at some point. As a result, he father used to beat him. “He ran after me with a belt and beat me.”
Arnold’s mother was so worried that she called the doctor to check on her son.
“I don’t know if mum thought I was gay, or if she just thought there was something off. And ‘let’s catch it early,'” said the Terminator star.
“She asked the doctor, ‘Can you help me? I don’t know if there’s something wrong with my son because his wall is full of naked men. All of Arnold’s friends have pictures of girls above their bed. And Arnold has no girls.'”
2. Before he landed his career as an actor, Arnold achieved major feats in the bodybuilding world. At age 20, he became the youngest person to win the annual Mr. Universe competitions. He would go on to win the title four more times before retiring from bodybuilding at age 33 in 1980.
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3. He had a strained relationship with his father, Gustav, an Austrian police chief who was very harsh on him. This stemmed from Gustav’s belief that Arnold was not his biological son and so he favoured his eldest son Meinhard over Arnold. Later on, he did not attend his father’s funeral, nor his brother’s Meinhard.
4. Arnold was so dedicated to bodybuilding that he would sneak into the local gym after it had closed. “It would make me sick to miss a workout,” he said. “I knew I couldn’t look at myself in a mirror the next morning if I didn’t do it.”
His efforts eventually paid off as he scored a legendary career in bodybuilding.
5. Due to the his poor background and strained relationship with his father, Arnold left home at a very young age to make something of himself. He started out by launching a bricklayer business with his friend Franco Columbus, whom he eventually dethroned in in the Mr. Olympia competition.
Thanks to Arnold’s business savvy nature and a high demand for building materials in 1971, the business became remarkably successful. This was before he became a legendary bodybuilder and world-famous actor.
6. After Arnold had left Austria for America and was still learning how to speak a new language, he frequently declared to his english coach that he “was going to become the greatest actor”. Well, look how that turned out!
7. After enjoying a blossoming acting career that lasted three decades, Arnold decided to venture into politics. He ended up becoming the 38th governor of California, the state that had become his home. To date, he is the second foreign-born governor of California. He served from 2003 to 2011.
8. He once struggled with anxiety but he learned to overcome it after a friend taught him transcendental meditation.
9. Arnold has opened up about the obstacles he faced in his early career: “It was very difficult for me in the beginning – I was told by agents and casting people that my body was ‘too weird’, that I had a funny accent, and that my name was too long. You name it, and they told me I had to change it. Basically, everywhere I turned, I was told that I had no chance.”
10. In his first film, “Hercules in New York”, Arnold’s accent was so thick that his voice had to be dubbed over with the voice of another actor for the film to be released.
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