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“Marry a Girl With the Name of Heidi”- Arnold Schwarzenegger Once Described How His Parents Had Different Life Plans

Published 07/16/2022, 11:26 AM EDT

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Arnold Schwarzenegger came to America in 1986, leveraging his prowess in bodybuilding to achieve his dreams. Born in Austria after the Second World War, Schwarzenegger had a strict upbringing. But he decided when he was 10 that he would leave the country and live on his terms.

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He began weight training in 1960, convinced that winning bodybuilding championships was his ticket out of Austria. He won the Mr. Universe contest and moved to the United States at 21, speaking little English.


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Arnold Schwarzenegger had his life planned out by his parents

The seven-time Mr. Olympia champion, Arnold Schwarzenegger, dreamed of living in the United States. But his parents had different plans. In a speech, he revealed that his mom and dad pictured life for him very differently. “My parents wanted me to stay [in Austria] and have a normal life,” he shared.

“My father wanted me to become a police officer like he was.Schwarzenegger joked, “My mother wanted me to just stay there and marry a girl with the name of Heidi, hopefully. And to have a bunch of kids and run around like the Von Trapp family in the sound of music.” They hoped for him to live a typical family life. 


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“But it was their vision, not mine. My vision was totally different.” The former governor of California was already dreaming of turning his bodybuilding career into silver screen fame. He was inspired by the athlete-actors of his time, such as Reg Park, Steve Reeves, and Johnny Weissmuller. 

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In 1970, he captured his first Mr. Olympia and featured in his first title role film, ‘Hercules in New York’. He retired after winning the Mr. Olympia competition for 6 years before returning to bodybuilding one last time to clinch the title again in 1980.

Schwarzenegger had a rough start in the film industry


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Arnold Schwarzenegger’s rise to fame was filled with obstacles. Hollywood told the Austrian-American he would never be a hit in America thanks to his hard-to-pronounce name, thick accent, and over-built body. But Schwarzenegger had a vision, and he didn’t back down.

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His participation in the Pumping Iron documentary helped bring bodybuilding to the forefront in America. But his breakthrough film was the sword and sorcery epic Conan the Barbarian in 1982. It became an iconic role for the young actor, and his first box-office hit. In 1984, he landed his signature role in ‘The Terminator’, a franchise that made him a lot of money.


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WATCH THIS STORY: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone and VAn Damme’s Car Collection 2022: Who’ Winning?

With his political career, real estate empire, roles in more than 40 movies, and business investments, Schwarzenegger has gained a massive fan following and amassed a net worth of $450 million. There is no doubt that his strategy to success worked wonders.

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Written by:

Mansi Jain


One take at a time

Mansi Jain is a US Sports author for EssentiallySports. She has a Bachelor's degree in Multimedia and Mass Communication from the University of Delhi and has also previously interned for HT Media. She is always one mention of Yuzuru Hanyu away from delivering an hour-long speech about the athlete's legacy.
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Edited by:

Deepakshi Chaudhary