Arnold Schwarzenegger PROFILE
While his police-chief father wanted him to become a soccer player, Austrian-born actor Arnold Schwarzenegger opted instead for a bodybuilding career. Born July 30, 1947 in the small Austrian town of Graz, Schwarzenegger went on to win several European contests and international titles (including Mr. Olympia) and then came to the U.S. for body-building exhibitions, billing himself immodestly but fairly accurately as "The Austrian Oak." Though his thick Austrian accent and slow speech patterns led some to believe that the Austrian Oak was shy a few leaves, Schwarzenegger was in fact a highly motivated and intelligent young man. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in business and economics, he invested his contest earnings in real estate and a mail-order bodybuilding equipment company.
A millionaire before the age of 22, Schwarzenegger decided to try acting. Producers were impressed by his physique but not his mouthful of a last name, so it was as Arnold Strong that he made his film bow in the low-budget spoof Hercules in New York (1970) (with a dubbed voice). He reverted to his own name for the 1976 film Stay Hungry, then achieved stardom as "himself" in the 1977 documentary Pumping Iron. In The Villain (1979), a cartoon-like western parody, he played "Handsome Stranger," exhibiting a gift for under-stated comedy that would more or less go unexploited for many years thereafter. With Conan the Barbarian (1982) and its sequel Conan the Destroyer (1984), the actor established himself as an action star, though his acting was backtracking into two-dimensionality (understandably, given the nature of the Conan role). As the murderous android title character in The Terminator (1984), Schwarzenegger became a bonafide box-office draw, and also established his trademark of coining repeatable catchphrases in his films: "I'll be back," in Terminator, "Consider this a divorce," in Total Recall (1990), and so on.
As Danny DeVito's unlikely pacifistic sibling in Twins (1988), Schwarzenegger received the praise of critics who noted his "unsuspected" comic expertise (quite forgetting The Villain). In Kindergarten Cop (1991), Schwarzenegger played a hard-bitten police detective who found his true life's calling as a schoolteacher (his character was a cop only because it was expected of him by his policeman father, which could have paralleled his own life). Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), wherein Schwarzenegger exercised his star prerogative and insisted that the Terminator become a good guy, was the most expensive film ever made up to its time -- and one of the biggest moneymakers. The actor's subsequent action films were equally as costly; sometimes the expenditures paid off, while other times the result was immensely disappointing -- for the the box-office disappointment Last Action Hero (1992), Schwarzenegger refreshingly took full responsibility, rather than blaming the failure on his production crew or studio as other "superstars" have been known to do. A rock-ribbed Republican despite his marriage to JFK's niece Maria Shriver (with whom he has four children), Schwarzenegger was appointed by George Bush in 1990 as chairman of the President's Council of Physical Fitness and Sports, a job he took as seriously and with as much dedication as any of his films. A much-publicized investment in the showbiz eatery Planet Hollywood has increased the coffers in Schwarzenegger's already bulging bank account. In the last few years, Arnold Schwarzenegger has added directing to his many accomplishments, piloting a few episodes of the cable-TV series "Tales From the Crypt" as well as a 1992 remake of the 1945 film Christmas in Connecticut. In addition, Arnold bounced back from the disastrous Last Action Hero with 1994's True Lies, which, despite its mile-wide streak of misogyny and its gaping plot and logic holes, was one of the major hits of that summer's movie season. Following the success of True Lies, Schwarzen