Nationality: Austrian/American. Born: Graz, Austria, 30 July 1947; became U.S. citizen, 1983. Education: Studied at University of Wisconsin, Superior, B.A. in business and international economics.
(as Arnold Strong)
Hercules in New York ( Hercules Goes to New York ; Hercules: The Movie ; Hercules Goes Bananas ) (Arthur Allan Seidelman) (title role)
The Long Goodbye (Altman) (as a hood)
(as Arnold Schwarzenegger)
Stay Hungry (Rafelson) (as Joe Santo)
Pumping Iron (George Butler—doc) (as himself)
Scavenger Hunt (Michael Schultz); The Villain ( Cactus Jack ) (Needham) (as handsome stranger)
The Jayne Mansfield Story ( Jayne Mansfield: A Symbol of the 50's ) (Lowry—for TV) (as Mickey Hargitay)
Conan the Barbarian (Milius) (title role)
Conan the Destroyer (Fleischer) (title role); The Terminator (Cameron) (title role)
Red Sonja (Fleischer) (as Kalidor); Commando (Lester) (as John Matrix)
Raw Deal (Irvin) (as Kaminski)
The Running Man (Glaser) (as Ben "Butcher of Bakersfield" Richards); Predator (McTiernan) (as Maj. Alan "Dutch" Schaefer)
Red Heat (Walter Hill) (as Capt. Ivan Danko); Twins (Reitman) (as Julius Benedict)
Total Recall (Paul Verhoeven) (as Douglas Quaid); Kindergarten Cop (Reitman) (as Detective John Kimble)
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (Cameron) (as the Terminator)
Feed (Rafferty and Ridgeway—doc) (as himself); Lincoln (Kunhardt—doc) (as voice of John G. Nicolay)
Last Action Hero (McTiernan) (as Sergeant Jack Slater/himself, + exec pr); Dave (Reitman) (as himself)
True Lies (Cameron) (as Harry Tasker); Junior (Reitman) (as Dr. Alexander Hesse); Beretta's Island (as himself)
Eraser (Chuck Russell) (as John Kruger, the Eraser); Crusade (Verhoeven)
Batman & Robin (Schumacher) (as Mr. Freeze/Dr. Victor Fries)
The Magic Hour (Dimitch—series for TV) (as himself)
End of Days (Hyams) (as Jericho Cane)
The 6th Day (Spottiswoode) (as Adam Gibson)
Christmas in Connecticut (for TV)
Arnold's Bodyshaping for Women , New York, 1979.
Arnold's Bodybuilding for Men , New York, 1981.
Arnold's Encyclopaedia of Modern Bodybuilding , New York, 1984.
Arnold: The Education of a Bodybuilder , with Douglas Kent Hall, New York, 1986.
Arnold's Fitness for Kids Ages Birth-5: A Guide to Health, Exercise, and Nutrition , with Charles Gaines, New York, 1993.
Arnold's Fitness for Kids Ages 6–10: A Guide to Health, Exercise, and Nutrition , with Charles Gaines, New York, 1993.
Arnold's Fitness for Kids Ages 11–14: A Guide to Health, Exercise, and Nutrition , with Charles Gaines, New York, 1993.
The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding , with Bill Dobbins, 1999.
Interview with K. Honeycutt, in American Film (Washington, D.C.), May 1982.
"Schwarzenegger on Predator ," interview with Dann Gire, in Cinefantastique (Oak Park, Illinois), vol. 18, no. 1, 1987.
"Mr. Big," interview with Mike Bygrave, in Radio Times (London), 23 February 1991.
Interview with Pat H. Broeske and Herb Ritts, in Interview (New York), July 1991.
Interview with Jenny Cooney, in Empire (London), September 1991.
"Big Bang Theory," interview with Susan Goldman, in Time Out (London), 3 August 1994.
Green, Tom, Arnold! , New York, 1987.
Butler, George, Arnold Schwarzenegger: A Portrait , New York, 1990.
Dorsey, Charles B., Arnold Schwarzenegger , Paris, 1990.
Leigh, Wendy, Arnold: An Unauthorized Biography , London, 1990.
Flynn, John L., The Films of Arnold Schwarzenegger , Secaucus, New Jersey, 1993; rev. ed., 1995.
Conklin, Thomas, Meet Arnold Schwarzenegger , New York, 1994.
McCabe, Bob, Arnold Schwarzenegger , London, 1994.
Wright, Adrian, Arnold Schwarzenegger: A Life on Film , London, 1994.
McGillivray, David, in Films and Filming (London), June 1986.
Brauerhoch, A., "Glanz und Elend der Muskelmänner," in Frauen und Film (Frankfurt), August 1986.
Thompson, Anne, and Tom Soter, " Total Recall , Total Arnie," in Empire (London), August 1990.
Current Biography 1991 , New York, 1991.
Desanglois, L., "Arnold Schwarzenegger," in Revue du Cinéma (Paris), October 1991.
Briggs, Joe Bob, "Whatever You Say, Arnold," in Playboy (Chicago), January 1992.
Svetkey, Benjamin, "What, Me Worry?," in Entertainment Weekly (New York), 11 June 1993.
James, C., "Film View: Arnold as Icon: From Hulk to Hero," in New York Times , 27 June 1993.
Young, Toby, "Soapbox: Arnold Schwarzenegger," in Modern Review , August-September 1994.
Stars (Mariembourg), Winter 1995.
Szebin, F.C., "Schwarzenegger, Mr. Freeze," in Cinefantastique (Forest Park), vol. 29, no. 1, 1997.
* * *
Considering he has made a mere 20-odd movies, Arnold Schwarzenegger's career has gone through numerous distinct and bizarre phases. His evolution, from a bodybuilder who appeared in such consciously silly entries as Hercules in New York and Conan the Barbarian to sci-fi death machine in the Terminator movies to comic actor in such films as Twins and Junior , has been strange, to say the least. His films have shown consistency, however, in that Schwarzenegger's performance style has always exhibited the basic hallmarks of postmodernity: pastiche and parody. First gaining notoriety as a professional bodybuilder, he recognized opportunities to appear in such outrageously over-the-top films as the Conan series, for example, which were little more than pumped-up B movies (with big budgets), films Schwarzenegger clearly (and quite rightly) did not take entirely seriously. His constant mugging to the camera in the documentary Pumping Iron did more than win him the Mr. Universe title: it proved his innate theatrical sensibility and his canny comic abilities.
But Schwarzenegger's first real breakthrough came with The Terminator , in which he cleverly turned down the offer to play the hero and opted instead for the role of evil robot. The film, a characteristically action-packed entry from director James Cameron, had an entertaining but intelligent Oedipal time-warp sci-fi concept, some excusably cheesy special effects, and a, well, perfectly robotic performance by Schwarzenegger. The subsequent huge box-office success of the film secured Schwarzenegger's place in the American cultural Zeitgeist.
Schwarzenegger's deadpan performance immediately drew comparisons to Clint Eastwood, an actor famous for his minimalist style. This performance style would carry on in other films, including Commando , Raw Deal , The Running Man , Predator , Total Recall , and Terminator 2: Judgment Day , among others. Schwarzenegger also appropriated Eastwood's stinging penchant for the one-liner (e.g., "Make my day"), many of which became popular catchphrases and Schwarzenegger trademarks ("I'll be back" in particular). Eastwood would acknowledge the debt Schwarzenegger owed him when he referred to the former bodybuilder as "my son" during the 1995 Academy Award ceremonies.
Schwarzenegger's career took a disastrous turn in 1993 with The Last Action Hero , an ultra-self-reflexive take on the action movie. The film has its entertaining moments, but fans appeared uncomfortable with the artifices of the action film being laid quite so bare—thus the film flopped despite one of the most expensive publicity campaigns in Hollywood history (including an ad posted on the space shuttle, the first of its kind). Schwarzenegger has also been far less successful when trying his hand at out-and-outright comedies ( Twins and Junior ), where he is simply uncontrolled as a performer. Junior was a brave and interesting gender-challenging role for Schwarzenegger; the film's premise had him the first man ever to become pregnant. Again, audiences seemed uncomfortable with this wall of muscles in a maternal position, and the film did mediocre box office.
Schwarzenegger's last major success was True Lies , a film which divided critics with its misogynist and racist overtones, resurrecting speculation that the actor had far-right leaning politics. Schwarzenegger has become something of an anti-Jane Fonda, notorious for his support of conservative causes and politicians, including Ronald Reagan and George Bush. Like Fonda, Schwarzenegger's persona is also not without contradictions (he is married to Maria Schriver, a member of America's most famous liberal clan the Kennedys, for example). Like his politics and personal life, Schwarzenegger's appearances on-screen can be read as perfect open texts: the audience can choose to see his machismo as role-model material to be emulated and adored, or as astute post-modern parody of the ludicrous masculine male ideal.