Happy 65th Birthday Arnold Schwarzenegger!

Big Birthday greetings go out today to the Terminator, the Governator, the man who would be back, who became one of the biggest action stars in cinema history, a former bodybuilder, whose Austrian accent, eclectic charm and oversized brawn coupled with a sly wink of a wit in his films and somewhat often mispronounced last name has made him a superstar in every sense of the word, the one and only, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Born in a small village in Austria on July 30, 1947, and enduring a rather rough childhood at the hands of his abusive father, Schwarzenegger started lifting weights as a teenager, parlaying it into a successful career as he wound up winning five Mr. Universe titles and seven Mr. Olympia wins. His training for the 1975 edition of that contest was immortalized on film in the documentary Pumping Iron which was released two years later, in 1977. Afterwards, he focused his attention to acting – he had done a few films here and there during the early 1970s and even auditioned for the role for the television version of The Incredible Hulk, which went to his rival in the Pumping Iron film, Lou Ferrigno. He then made a few appearances in mostly low budget, off the radar films, nothing major, pretty much playing intimidating heavies with not much to say.

It wasn’t until 1982, when he played the title role in the film Conan The Barbarian that Schwarzenegger hit acting paydirt. The film was successful and propelled Arnold into the Hollywood ring as a player. He became a major player with the release of James Cameron’s sci-fi edge of your seat thriller masterpiece The Terminator. That production, which spawned his classic movie line “I’ll be back,” is considered one of the greatest sci-fi productions of all time and made many “best of the 1980s” top ten film lists by decades end.

Suddenly, the unlikely name of Arnold Schwarzenegger became a big box office draw. Only his American counterpart in a way, one Sylvester Stallone, was arguably as big of an action star as Arnold was during the 1980s. A slew of action vehicles followed, Commando, Raw Deal, The Running Man, Predator, and even comedies like Twins and Kindergarten Cop were successful, utilizing the formula of the charming-yet-deadly-when-needed-to-be character that was Schwarzenegger’s bread and butter.

As the 1990s rolled in, he kept the string of successes going, Total Recall (whose remake is debuting in theaters this Friday), True Lies, Eraser, and many more. Steam started to roll out of the Schwarzenegger success machine as the 1990s passed into the 21 century, but he kept working and was a key figure in the public eye of Tinseltown.

It was in 2003 that he ran for and became the Governor of California, at first lauded for his success in winning the election, but ultimately to mixed results when his tenure in that job ended in 2010. His political career met with various scandals, some salacious; one reported he fathered a child with a maid during his marriage to Kennedy incarnate Maria Shriver, which ended in a separation between the two.

He slowly resumed acting afterwards, making a memorable cameo appearance in Sylvester Stallone’s successful action yarn, The Expendables in 2010. After an equally memorable appearance at the The Expendables 2 panel at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, he’s poised to make a much larger appearance in that sequel, which is to be released later this summer. He also has a few film projects on the horizon as well, and it looks, as he exclaimed at Comic-Con to a jubilant and excited crowd in a present tense version of his classic line from The Terminator, (which myself and some of the other Geeks Of Doom staff were present at) “I’m Back!”

On October 1, 2012, Schwarzenegger’s autobiography, Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story, will be released.

So hats off to Arnold Schwarzenegger today on his 65th birthday. Let’s celebrate the man who made a career and became such an unlikely success story in Hollywood, becoming an inspiration to millions of movie goers, who to this day still revere and delight at the many films in which they get to see this muscle bound, smart, intense, sharp, and witty individual blow up, kill, maim, and smash his way into the classic cinematic landscape time and time again. Happy birthday, Ah-Nold.

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