Actor, former bodybuilder was born on July 30, 1947, in the sleepy town of Graz, Austria. As a teenager, Arnold Schwarzenegger was so determined to become the greatest bodybuilder in history that he would break into the gym to train on Sundays, pumping iron until he collapsed from exhaustion. His dream was realized in 1967, when the 20-year-old Schwarzenegger won his first Mr. Universe contest. Several bodybuilding titles followed, which led many to credit Schwarzenegger with single-handedly popularizing the sport. In 1968, Schwarzenegger moved to the United States, where he studied business and economics at the University of Wisconsin. Upon his graduation, he invested his contest earnings in various real estate projects and a bodybuilding equipment company. Billed as Arnold Strong, Schwarzenegger tried his hand at acting, making his screen debut in the low-budget adventure Hercules in New York (1970). After a few years struggling to find suitable film work, he landed his first substantial acting role in the offbeat comedy Stay Hungry (1976), which starred Jeff Bridges and Sally Field. Other memorable projects followed shortly thereafter, including the bodybuilding documentary Pumping Iron (1977) and the TV biopic The Jane Mansfield Story (1980).
In the early 1980s, Schwarzenegger established himself as the leading figure in a new genre of herculean action films, beginning with Conan the Barbarian (1982) and its reliably vapid sequel Conan the Destroyer (1984). Later that year, he landed the role which catapulted him to superstardom that of the indestructible cyborg in the post-apocalyptic blockbuster The Terminator. Over the next few years, Schwarzenegger's films became increasingly technological and violent, including Commando (1985), Predator (1987), The Running Man (1987), and Total Recall (1990). A more humane side to Schwarzeneggar emerged in lighter films such as Twins (1988) and Kindergarten Cop (1990).
With state-of-the-art special effects and equally impressive action sequences, the 1991 sequel Terminator 2: Judgement Day featured Schwarzenegger as a kinder and gentler android. At the time of its release, the film held the notable distinction of being the most expensive movie ever produced. With over $200 million in box office sales, the returns were equally impressive, making Terminator 2: Judgement Day one of the 20 highest-grossing films of all time. Also in 1991, Schwarzenegger partnered with fellow action stars Bruce Willis and Sylvester Stallone to open the high-profile Planet Hollywood chain of celebrity-themed restaurants.
After a disappointing turn in uneven comedies like Junior (1994) and Jingle All the Way (1996), Schwarzenegger returned to action features with a no-holds-barred performance as Batman's nemesis Mr. Freeze in 1997's Batman and Robin, but even with this effort, he could not regain his earlier stronghold on the box office. In the 1999 apocalyptic thriller, End of Days, he played a policeman-turned-bodyguard who protects the world from the evil reign of Satan. Most recently, Schwarzenegger took on the dual role of a cloned man in the science fiction feature The 6th Day (2000).
In 1990, Arnold Schwarzenegger was named chairman of President George Bush's Council on Physical Fitness. For many years, he has supported sports programs for underprivileged children, including the Inner-City Games and the Special Olympics. Schwarzenegger announced his candidacy in the 2003 California recall election for Governor of California on the August 6, 2003 episode of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. On October 7, 2003, the recall election resulted in Governor Gray Davis being removed from office with 55.4% of the Yes vote in favor of a recall. Schwarzenegger was elected Governor of California under the second question on the ballot with 48.6% of the vote to choose a successor to Davis.
At a 1977 tennis tournament, Schwarzenegger met television journalist Maria Shriver. (Shriver is the daughter of politician and diplomat Sargent Shriver and Eunice Kennedy Shriver, sister of President John F. Kennedy.) Following a long and storied courtship, the couple married in 1986. They have four children.