Its the Governator’s (Arnold Schwarzeneggar) B-day today! Born July 30, 1947.
Schwarzenegger 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).
Conan the Barbarian (1982)
Schwarzenegger’s breakthrough film was the sword-and-sorcery epic Conan the Barbarian in 1982, which was a box-office hit. This was followed by a sequel, Conan the Destroyer in 1984, although its box-office performance was disappointing. In 1983, Schwarzenegger starred in the promotional video “Carnival in Rio”.
In 1984, he made the first of three appearances as the titular character and what some would say was the signature role in his acting career in director James Cameron’s science-fiction thriller film The Terminator. Following The Terminator, Schwarzenegger made Red Sonja in 1985, which “sank without a trace.”
During the 1980s, audiences had a large appetite for action films, with both Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone becoming international stars. Schwarzenegger’s roles reflected his droll, often self-deprecating sense of humor (including sometimes famously bad puns), separating his roles from more serious action hero fare. His alternative-universe comedy/thriller Last Action Hero featured a poster of the movie Terminator 2: Judgment Day which, in the fictional alternate universe, had Sylvester Stallone as its star.
Following his arrival as a Hollywood superstar, he made a number of successful films: Commando (1985), Raw Deal (1986), The Running Man (1987), and Red Heat (1988). In Predator (1987), another successful film, Schwarzenegger led a cast which included future Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura (Ventura also appeared in The Running Man and Batman & Robin with Schwarzenegger) and future Kentucky Gubernatorial candidate Sonny Landham.
Twins (1988), a comedy with Danny DeVito, was a change of pace, and also proved successful. Total Recall (1990) netted Schwarzenegger $10 million and 15% of the gross, and was a widely praised, science-fiction script directed by Paul Verhoeven, based on the Philip K. Dick short story, “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale”. Kindergarten Cop (1990) reunited him with director Ivan Reitman, who directed him in Twins.
Schwarzenegger had a brief foray into directing, first with a 1990 episode of the TV series Tales from the Crypt, entitled “The Switch,” and then with the 1992 telemovie Christmas in Connecticut. He has not directed since.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
Schwarzenegger’s commercial high-water mark was his return as the title character in 1991’s Terminator 2: Judgment Day, which was the highest-grossing film of 1991. In 1993, the National Association of Theatre Owners named him the “International Star of the Decade.” His next film project, the 1993 self-aware action comedy spoof Last Action Hero was released opposite Jurassic Park, with the box office suffering accordingly. His next film, the action comedy True Lies (1994) was a highly popular send-up of spy films, and saw Schwarzenegger, reunited with The Terminator director James Cameron, appearing opposite Jamie Lee Curtis.
Shortly thereafter came the comedy Junior (1994), the last of his three collaborations with Ivan Reitman and again co-starring Danny DeVito. This film brought Schwarzenegger his second Golden Globe nomination, this time for Best Actor – Musical or Comedy. It was followed by the action thriller Eraser (1996) and the comic book-based Batman & Robin (1997), where he played the villain Mr. Freeze. This was his final film before taking time to recuperate from a back injury. Following the critical failure of Batman & Robin, Schwarzenegger’s film career and box office prominence went into decline.
Several film projects were announced with Schwarzenegger attached to star, including the remake of Planet of the Apes, a new film version of I Am Legend, and a World War II film scripted by Quentin Tarantino that would have seen Schwarzenegger play an Austrian for the third time (after Junior and Kindergarten Cop).
Total Recall (1990)
Instead, he returned after a hiatus with the supernatural thriller End of Days (1999), later followed by the action films The 6th Day (2000) and Collateral Damage (2002) all of which failed to do well at the box office. In 2003, he made his third appearance as the title character in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, which went on to earn over $150 million domestically.
In tribute to Schwarzenegger in 2002, Forum Stadtpark, a local cultural association, proposed plans to build a 25-meter (82-foot) tall Terminator statue in a park in central Graz. Schwarzenegger reportedly said he was flattered, but thought the money would be better spent on social projects and the Special Olympics.
His latest film appearances included a 3-second cameo appearance in The Rundown (AKA, Welcome to the Jungle) with The Rock, and the 2004 remake of Around the World in 80 Days, where he appeared onscreen with action star Jackie Chan for the first time.
Schwarzenegger voiced Baron von Steuben in Episode 24 (“Valley Forge”) of Liberty’s Kids. In 2005 he appeared as himself in the film The Kid & I.