Arnold Schwarzenegger is a former professional bodybuilder, actor, producer, director, businessman, investor, and politician. Schwarzenegger served two terms as the 38th Governor of California from 2003 until 2011.
Schwarzenegger began weight training at the age of 15. He won the Mr. Universe title at age 20 and went on to win the Mr. Olympia contest seven times. Schwarzenegger has remained a prominent presence in bodybuilding and has written many books and articles on the sport. Schwarzenegger gained worldwide fame as a Hollywood action film icon. He was nicknamed the “Austrian Oak” and the “Styrian Oak” in his bodybuilding days, “Arnie” during his acting career and more recently “The Governator” (a portmanteau of “Governor” and “The Terminator” – one of his best-known movie roles).
As a Republican, he was first elected on October 7, 2003, in a special recall election to replace then-Governor Gray Davis. Schwarzenegger was sworn in on November 17, 2003, to serve the remainder of Davis’s term. Schwarzenegger was then re-elected on November 7, 2006, in California’s 2006 gubernatorial election, to serve a full term as governor, defeating Democrat Phil Angelides, who was California State Treasurer at the time. Schwarzenegger was sworn in for his second term on January 5, 2007. In 2011, Schwarzenegger completed his second term as governor, and it was announced that he had separated from Maria Shriver, his wife for the last 25 years, and a member of the influential Kennedy family, as a niece of the late Democrat US President John F. Kennedy.
Arnold Schwarzenegger has had a highly successful business career. Following his move to the United States, Schwarzenegger became a “prolific goal setter” and would write his objectives at the start of the year on index cards, like starting a mail order business or buying a new car – and succeed in doing so. By the age of 30, Schwarzenegger was a millionaire, well before his career in Hollywood. His financial independence came from his success as a budding entrepreneur with a series of successful business ventures and investments.
In 1968, Arnold Schwarzenegger and fellow bodybuilder Franco Columbu started a bricklaying business. The business flourished thanks to the pair’s marketing savvy and an increased demand following the 1971 San Fernando earthquake. Schwarzenegger and Columbu used profits from their bricklaying venture to start a mail order business, selling bodybuilding and fitness-related equipment and instructional tapes.
Schwarzenegger rolled profits from the mail order business and his bodybuilding competition winnings into his first real estate investment venture: an apartment building he purchased for $10,000. He would later go on to invest in a number of real estate holding companies.
In 1992, Arnold Schwarzenegger and his wife opened a restaurant in Santa Monica called Schatzi On Main. Schatzi literally means “little treasure,” colloquial for “honey” or “darling” in German. In 1998, he sold his restaurant.
Arnold Schwarzenegger was a founding celebrity investor in the Planet Hollywood chain of international theme restaurants (modeled after the Hard Rock Cafe) along with Bruce Willis, Sylvester Stallone and Demi Moore. Schwarzenegger severed his financial ties with the business in early 2000. Schwarzenegger said the company had not had the success he had hoped for, claiming he wanted to focus his attention on “new US global business ventures” and his movie career.
Arnold Schwarzenegger also invested in a shopping mall in Columbus, Ohio. He has talked about some of those who have helped him over the years in business: “I couldn’t have learned about business without a parade of teachers guiding me… from Milton Friedman to Donald Trump… and now, Les Wexner and Warren Buffett. I even learned a thing or two from Planet Hollywood, such as when to get out! And I did!” He has significant ownership in Dimensional Fund Advisors, an investment firm. Schwarzengger is also the owner of Arnold’s Sports Festival, which he started in 1989 and is held annually in Columbus, Ohio. It is a festival that hosts thousands of international health and fitness professionals which has also expanded into a three-day expo. He also owns a movie production company called Oak Productions, Inc., and Fitness Publications, a joint publishing venture with Simon & Schuster.
How Arnold Schwarzenegger Made His Money – Acting and Politics
Estimated Net Worth: $300 Million
Birthday: July 30, 1947
[image via Bob Doran]