Arnold Schwarzenegger Bodybuilding - The Most Famous Name in Pumping Iron

The movie, Pumping Iron brought the sport of bodybuilding into the public eye for the first time.  But perhaps the one personality that we most associate with Pumping Iron is the man who went on to international success in acting and politics as well.  That Pumping Iron star was Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Arnold Schwarzenegger's career had spanned several decades and many fields, including the worlds of bodybuilding, films, and politics.  Born in 1947 in Austria, young Arnold first sought to distinguish himself in physical challenges.  He began training at age 15 and competed in numerous weight lifting and bodybuilding competitions, becoming known as “The Austrian Oak”.

After winning his first Mr. Universe (amateur) title in 1967, Arnold immigrated to America for more lucrative competitive opportunities.  He soon dominated international bodybuilding competitions.  He went on to win Mr. Universe five times and moving on to the professional competition, Mr. Olympia, which he won five times in a row, and a total seven times.

In 1970, Arnold Schwarzenegger had begun to pursue a long-held ambition to act in films.  He played the lead in a low budget movie called Hercules in New York.  But his body was the featured player.  In fact, an actor was hired to dub his dialog for the finished film.

In 1975, the Mr. Olympia competition was held in South Africa, the first multiracial athletic contest ever held in the country still under the oppressive, racist rule of Apartheid.  The significance of this competition would have been relatively localized to the bodybuilding world had it not been for the documentary film Pumping Iron, which showed the preparations leading up to the competition which launched Schwarzenegger into international superstar status.

The movie industry took notice of the surprise popularity of Pumping Iron, and the rapidly growing public fascination with bodybuilding.  Arnold’s massive muscles and popular appeal translated to big dollars at the box office.  As a result, Hollywood studios lined up to court Arnold.

Subsequent opportunities included Conan the Barbarian (1982) and Conan the Destroyer (1984).  Arnold seemed to be completely comfortable with his roles in the pulp-movie genre, and appeared to wink at audiences who was not phased by the lowbrow B-movie-style vehicles.

The fact that Arnold Schwarzenegger didn’t seem to take them seriously seemed to validate the near-parody of the macho-male character and further enthrall his growing legions of fans.  Moviegoers became increasingly mesmerized by not only Arnold’s powerful physique, but by his captivating charm and wit.  Blockbuster action-adventure film The Terminator (1984) is considered by many to be Arnold’s breakout role.  Sequels followed in 1991 and 2003.  Comedies such as Twins and Kindergarten Cop (1990) engaged Arnold’s natural comic talents, but didn’t hit the mark at the box office.  The action-adventure genre seemed to be his native habitat, as he crashed onto the screen in such movies as Predator (1987), Total Recall (1990), True Lies (1994), and The 6th Day (2000).

Arnold’s relationship with Maria Shriver, a TV reporter and prominent member of the Kennedy clan came as a surprise to many because of Schwarzenegger's conservative values.  Though their political affiliations are at opposite ends of the spectrum, they found common ground and fell in love.  They were married in 1986 and have had four children together, Katherine in 1989, Christina in 1991, Patrick in 1993, and Christopher in 1997.

Having become a U.S. citizen in 1984, Arnold Schwarzenegger became increasingly active in Republican politics in the 1990s, helped in no small part by his wife’s political connections as well as his own personal wit and savvy.  Allegations of previous sexual misconduct did not seem to diminish his popularity or his image as a strong leader.

In 2003, he was elected Governor of California, defeating 134 other candidates with 49% of the vote, in an election to recall then-Governor Gray Davis.  He assumed leadership over fiscal chaos and took immediate steps to conquer a staggering deficit.  He won admiration with his strong, no-nonsense bipartisan approach when he introduced his California Recovery Plan.  He was re-elected in 2006 to a full term, but still faces major political and fiscal challenges.

The career of Arnold Schwarzenegger has been diverse and successful.  Rising from the sport of bodybuilding and getting his break through to fame in Pumping Iron, Schwarzenegger has never looked back moving to movies and into a successful career in politics.  That is not bad for a bodybuilder from Austria.

Arnold's Filmography

2005 The Kid & I
2004 Around the World in 80 Days
2003 Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
2003 The Rundown (cameo)
2002 Collateral Damage
2001 Dr. Dolittle 2
2000 The 6th Day
1999 End of Days
1997 Batman & Robin
1996 Jingle All the Way
1996 Eraser
1996 T2 3-D: Battle Across Time
1994 Junior
1994 True Lies
1993 Last Action Hero
1992 Christmas in Connecticut (TV) (uncredited)
1992 Terminator 2: Judgment Day
1990 Kindergarten Cop
1990 Total Recall
1988 Twins
1988 Red Heat
1987 The Running Man
1987 Predator
1986 Raw Deal
1985 Commando
1985 Red Sonja
1984 The Terminator
1984 Conan the Destroyer
1982 Conan the Barbarian
1980 The Jayne Mansfield Story
1979 Scavenger Hunt .... Lars, Gym Instructor
1979 The Villain
1976 Stay Hungry
1973 The Long Goodbye (uncredited) .... Hood in Augustine's office
1970 Hercules in New York

Arnold's Competitive Bodybuilding Record

1963 Steirer Hof Competition in Graz, Austria (runner up).
1965 Junior Mr. Europe in Germany
1966 Best-Built Athlete of Europe in Germany
1966 International Powerlifting Championship in Germany
1966 Mr. Europe - amateur in Germany.
1966 NABBA Mr. Universe - amateur in London, England
1967 NABBA Mr. Universe - amateur in London, England
1968 German Powerlifting Championship in Germany
1968 IFBB Mr. International in Tijuana, Mexico
1968 NABBA Mr. Universe - professional in London, England
1968 IFBB Mr. Universe in Miami, Florida (tall class winner)
1969 IFBB Mr. Universe in New York
1969 IFBB Mr. Olympia in New York (2nd place to Sergio Olivia)
1969 NABBA Mr. Universe - professional in London, England
1969 IFBB Mr. Europe - professional in Germany
1970 NABBA Mr. Universe - professional in London, England
1970 AAU Pro Mr. World in Columbus, Ohio
1970 IFBB Mr. Olympia in New York
1971 IFBB Mr. Olympia in Paris, France
1972 IFBB Mr. Olympia in Essen, Germany
1973 IFBB Mr. Olympia in New York
1974 IFBB Mr. Olympia in New York
1975 IFBB Mr. Olympia in Pretoria, South Africa
1980 IFBB Mr. Olympia in Sydney, Australia

 Arnold Schwarzenegger Bodybuilding Gallery

Arnold Stats

  • Name:  Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger

  • Nicknames:  The Oak, The Austrian Oak, The Olympian, Oak, The King, Champ, Arnie,
    Schwazzie, Arnold Strong

  • Location:  Los Angeles, California USA

  • Born:  July 30, 1947 in Graz, Austria.

  • Height:  6'2"

  • Arms:  22"

  • Chest:  57"

  • Waist:  34"

  • Thighs:  28.5"

  • Calves:  20"

  • Off Season Weight:   Around 260 lbs.

  • Competition Weight:   Around 235 lbs.

  • Favorite Exercise:   Bent-Over Rows

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