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Happy birthday, Arnie

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Happy birthday, Arnie
Arnold Schwarzenegger. Photo: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia
14:23 CEST+02:00
A group of Austrian 'super fans' and friends of the Austrian Oak gathered in the museum dedicated to his life and career on Wednesday, to celebrate the birthday of Austria's most famous export, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Arnie couldn't make it, but his friends gathered anyway in the Arnold Schwarzenegger Museum in the Styrian village of Thal bei Graz, to celebrate the Hollywood star's 67th birthday.

As Austria's favourite son, Schwarzenegger has lived a storied life, in a larger-than-life way - from his burning passion to be the best body builder he could be as a young man, to his major Hollywood stardom and his sojourn at the peak of Californian state politics.

The young Austrian started weight training at the age of 15, and within a few years began winning titles. He  won the Mr. Universe title aged 20 and went on to win the Mr. Olympia contest seven times.

A move to the USA resulted in his first film role as Hercules in 1970, although his big breakthrough didn't arrive until 1982 with the first of the Conan movies.  He's still making movies 44 years later, attesting to the perennial popularity of someone whose first line readings were so bad, someone else had to do this voice.

On his first arrival in the USA in 1968, he described hearing Richard Nixon speak of freedom and free enterprise, which established his long association with the US Republican party, and his subsequent foray into politics in 2003. He ran for governor of California, and to the surprise of many, won by a large majority. 

He married into a political family, the Shrivers (related to the Kennedys), and proceeded to govern California successfully for two terms.

Upon his retirement from politics in 2010, he re-started his movie career, which is continuing to attract fans around the world.

His private life has at times been a little messy, with allegations of sexual impropriety which culminated in the revelation of an illegitimate teenage son he had with his former housekeeper.

Despite the scandals, and determined political opposition, the Austrian superstar remains a firm favourite with many, and always receives a warm welcome when he returns to Austria.


Arnold Schwarzenegger Museum.  Photo: Museum

Back in the Arnold Schwarzenegger museum, his friends toasted his health, and they are looking forward to September, when he is expected to return to Graz as part of a trip to Hungary.

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