Arnold Schwarzenegger still going strong at 75 | Cinema | DW
The Terminator, an android killing machine from the future, is known to be virtually indestructible. Arnold Schwarzenegger has played the title role many times throughout his career, and it almost seems like he’s internalized the essential characteristic of his alter ego.
At 75, he is still in front of the camera, not so much as an action actor, but as a Kremlin critic and environmentalist. His muscles may have softened, but his words are strong. He uses his popularity to take a stand on world events through his social networks.
Addressing the Russian people, among whom he is widely admired, after the Ukrainian invasion, he said on video that they were being lied to and “this is an illegal war”.
“Your lives, your limbs, your future are being sacrificed for a senseless war condemned by the whole world,” he said in a rousing nine-minute video posted to Twitter in March and viewed nearly 50 million times.
“Work of a sculptor”
Arnie, as he is affectionately known, was born on July 30, 1947 in Thal in the Austrian region of Steiermark. As a child, he was active in sports, including football, boxing and swimming.
At 15, he entered a weightlifting studio for the first time. Over the next few years, the young Schwarzenegger would spend most of his time honing his muscles.
“You have to train each muscle individually. It’s like the precise work of a sculptor working marble with a hammer and chisel – not exactly like Rodin, but similar,” Schwarzenneger told German weekly Die Zeit in 2012.
In 1967, he became the youngest Mr. Universe. Beginning in 1970, he won the Mr. Olympia title – bodybuilding’s highest award – six times in a row. He freely admits that he took steroids, adding that they weren’t banned back then.
Hosted by Andy Warhol
When Schwarzenegger immigrated to the United States in 1968, his impressive appearance quickly caught the attention of the film industry. Known by his stage name, Arnold Strong, he got his first role in 1969 in “Hercules in New York”.
At the same time, Schwarzenegger also found his place in the art scene and became acquainted with Pop Art icon Andy Warhol. “He was fascinated by my energy and strength,” the bodybuilder told Die Zeit. “I worked as a model for him, and he introduced me to other artists like Jamie Wyeth and Laraine Newman.”
Schwarzenegger also recalled how Warhol introduced him to producers, fundraisers, and actors like James Caan, Woody Allen, and influencers like Jackie Kennedy. Years later, Schwarzenegger would become a member of the Kennedy family himself, when he married Maria Shriver, the niece of former US President John F. Kennedy, in 1986.
Now well-connected, his film career took off in 1977. Schwarzenegger surprised critics by winning a Golden Globe for best acting debut in a motion picture for his bodybuilder docudrama “Pumping Iron.”
In 1982 he rose to fame as “Conan the Barbarian” and in 1984 he was offered the lead role in a B-movie titled “The Terminator”, which in Schwarzenegger’s own words was ” a big challenge for him.” Thanks to its compelling performance as an android killer, director James Cameron’s low-budget production quickly became a cult favorite.
The Iconic Arnie In His Hollywood Heyday In ‘Terminator 2’
By this time, Schwarzenegger was in high demand and his income continued to rise. From the late 1980s to the early 1990s, he had great commercial success not only with action films, but also with comedies like “Twins” and “Kindergarten Cop” alongside Danny DeVito.
Nevertheless, the hype had waned. After his third performance as “The Terminator” in 2003, Schwarzenegger bid farewell to the film world and launched his third career, this time as a politician.
When he ran for governor of California in 2003, he brought the sword he carried as “Conan the Barbarian” to Sacramento, presenting himself as the strongman the state needed. to save him from a heavy debt, while calling his political opponents wimps. .
However, it took him some time to get used to his new job as governor. “As an actor you can trust the script, but a politician doesn’t. Every day, every hour, it’s unbelievable how many problems you face – welfare, poverty and overflowing prisons. You wake up in the morning to 2,000 bushfires in California, or someone’s sitting in a jail cell waiting to be executed at midnight, and you get a call saying, “Governor, you can stop this,'” he told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in 2013.
Schwarzenegger, a Republican, is a supporter of the death penalty and turned down two pardon opportunities as governor before lethal injection was declared unconstitutional in California in 2006, ending capital punishment in the state. .
After his two terms, he returned to familiar territory and filmed yet another edition of “Terminator” in 2015.
A vocal critic of President Donald Trump, Schwarzenegger took over the former president’s casting show, “The Apprentice,” in January 2017, but dropped it after one season due to poor ratings.
Schwarzenegger on the Larry King show in 2003, the year he entered politics
Ecologist and Kremlin critic
But one role was not enough for the former politician for a long time. Above all, Arnold Schwarzenegger has made the fight against climate change his mission. In his speeches, such as at this year’s Austrian World Summit, an annual climate conference in Vienna co-hosted by his Schwarzenegger Climate Initiative platform, he focuses on new technologies and calls for a move away from fossil fuels.
“We’ve got blood on our hands,” the ex-bodybuilder said of Europe funding Moscow’s war of aggression in Ukraine with its billions in payments to Russia for oil and gas imports.
He also doesn’t mince his words when criticizing politicians in his own country. In a moving video released immediately after the storming of the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, Schwarzenegger called Donald Trump a liar, a conspirator and a failed leader.
“He will go down in history as the worst president of all time.” But America will overcome those dark days and come back stronger “because now we understand what we have to lose,” he says in the video.
With his eventful life, Schwarzenegger of Austrian origin represents the embodiment of the American dream like few Europeans before him. As “Terminator” (1984), he coined the legendary phrase “I’ll be back.” Arnold Schwarzenegger has always kept this promise and, even at 75, does not plan to leave the scene any time soon.
This article has been translated from German.