5 True Facts About Arnold Schwarzenegger
There's More To The Governator Than Meets The Eye
Arnold Schwarzenegger is a man who has reached iconic status throughout the world. His films whether good, bad, or ugly have made him an actor with multiple generations of fans. Many people know his film personas, but a number of Arnold's fans may not know some of the little things that went into making him the man he is today. Here are 5 of the more interesting facts.
And if you're interested in more pop culture lists like this one, such as 5 True Facts About Ian Fleming, The Author of James Bond, then you should take a moment to check out my full Vocal archive while you're here!
Fact #1: He Decided His Destiny at Age 13
Those who knew Arnold when he was younger (and still in Austria, obviously) have recounted how he told them exactly what he was going to do with his life, according to IMDB. He was going to go to America, become one of the greatest bodybuilders the world had ever seen, then become a movie star. Some sources claim he also said he was going to marry a Kennedy, which would make him three for three.
This might not sound very impressive to people who don't know the circumstances under which these claims were first made. To set the scene, Arnold was the second son of an alcoholic police chief who had once been a member of the Nazi party. Arnold's father favored his older brother, and would use every opportunity he could to embarrass and humiliate his younger son. Rather than just lying down and accepting it, Arnold set out to get bigger, faster, and stronger. He worked out religiously at his local gym, and even broke in on the weekends to keep training. While he was a member of the armed forces he went AWOL to compete at (and win, mind you) a bodybuilding competition. He spent a week in the brig for it, but it was apparently worth the time served. These were the first steps down the road that eventually led him to America. With charm, charisma, a Guiness-record-setting physique and the determination to do whatever he had to do, it was going to be a long and interesting road indeed.
Fact #2: He Made Bodybuilding Mainstream
While Arnold is far from the only bodybuilder who has achieved fame and fortune in pop culture, he is often credited with making what was a fringe activity something popular, mainstream, and above all, sexy. He did this by starring in films like Pumping Iron, and winning unprecedented amounts of titles (5 Mr. Universe and 6 Mr. Olympia to be specific) in his chosen field. While macho men were popular before Arnold was getting ink, he and those in his field helped re-define the look of masculinity. The look of the bodybuilder, which hadn't been the norm even for action heroes in Hollywood at that point in time, soon became the hot item for men. And Arnold was the face of that shift.
Fact #3: Is One of Cinema's Greatest Heroes (and Villains)
Ironically, Arnold was worried that playing the Terminator would end his career as an actor. The film was an unprecedented success, though, and one of his most iconic roles. It even set his catchphrase, "I'll be back," for years to come. He went on to utter this trademark line in half a dozen other films. What's really interesting is that, while the Terminator is one of the top 10 villains of all time... it's also one of the top 10 heroes of all time. Given that a different model of the death machine was sent to protect John Connor (the franchise's "chosen one") in the second film, Arnold has been given double credit for the same character.
Fact #4: He Kept The Sword
There were a lot of unusual things that Arnold did while he was the Governor of California. For one thing, he refused any part of his salary (over $100,000 a year), and instead had it donated to charities. For another he kept the Atlantean sword he wielded in his breakout role as Conan in his office, according to Topless Robot, and made sure it was visible whenever he had meetings. The message was humorous, but clear; remember what happened to James Earl Jones (who has his own 5 Tips list, for those who are curious).
If the blade was ever used during meetings, or if any lobbyists mysteriously disappeared, it was not reported on.
#5: He Knows How To Keep A (Gag) Feud Going
The Expendables was the first time in their entire careers that Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger appeared on camera in the same scene (you can also see 5 True Facts About Sylvester Stallone, if you're interested). This performance was repeated in the film's sequel. However, these two actors have had a ridiculous back-and-forth reference-fest in their films since at least the 1980s when they were at the height of their fame.
From Stallone's side of things: Arnold was referenced in Demolition Man (where he had been the president at one point). Stallone also makes a Conan reference in the movie Tango and Cash. Lastly, Sly said "only the Terminator says I'll be back," in the movie Stop or My Mom Will Shoot.
Arnold, not to be outdone, has quite a lot of references to the Italian Stallion in his own filmography. In Last Action Hero a boy is transported into a fictional movie world where, because Arnold is a cop and not an actor, the Terminator is played by Stallone. In the movie Twins, Arnold strikes a pose in front of a poster for Rambo III. Also in True Lies (a movie that almost didn't get made because James Cameron was supposed to make a Spider-Man movie), when Arnold's secret life as a government agent is revealed, his wife says "I married Rambo."
About the author
Neal Litherland is an author, freelance blogger, and RPG designer. A regular on the Chicago convention circuit, he works in a variety of genres.