Austrian-born US bodybuilder who has developed an enormously successful career in the cinema.
Born near Graz, Schwarzenegger began bodybuilding at the age of fourteen, moved to the USA in 1968, and became a naturalized American citizen in 1983. Progressing from Junior Mr Europe (1965) to Mr World, and from Mr Universe (five times) to Mr Olympia (seven times), he exploited his impressive physique as a heavy or a grotesque on television and in minor films. In 1976 he won a Golden Globe for best newcomer in films for his role in Stay Hungry, but his breakthrough came with the title role in Conan the Barbarian (1982) and the part of a taciturn killing machine in James Cameron's science-fiction hit, The Terminator (1984).
Although it seemed inevitable that Schwarzenegger would be typecast in such macho roles, in Twins (1988), paired with the diminutive Danny De Vito, he revealed an unsuspected skill as a comedian. He developed this ability further in Kindergarten Cop (1992) and Junior (1994). In 1990 Schwarzenegger was voted, by the official poll of motion picture distributors, America's number one box-office draw; he was also appointed chairman of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. His other films include Terminator 2 (1992), True Lies (1994), and Batman and Robin (1997). A shrewd businessman, Schwarzenegger now owns a film production company, has property holdings, and has exploited his early career through a series of profitable books and videos.
Subjects: contemporary history (post 1945).