Once, he was a box office terminator. But now
that Arnold Schwarzenegger has lost some of his muscle in Hollywood,
stories of his boorish behavior can no longer be routinely erased. Then again, he'd make a helluva politician. The tabloid
press got a nice Christmas present late last year when Arnold Schwarzenegger tore through a day of publicity work in
London, promoting his latest film, The 6th Day, which had just opened there. In less than 24 hours, the star was said to
have attempted to, as high school boys used to say, cop a little feel from three different female talk-show hosts. The level
of consternation expressed by those who received this hands-on treatment from the hulking, Austrian-born international
superstar ranged from none whatsoever (Denise Van Outen of The Big Breakfast invites her guests to lie on a bed with
her and, hence, probably has a rather elastic definition of what constitutes inappropriate behavior) to irked (on tape,
Celebrity interviewer Melanie Sykes looks a little thrown off after Arnold gives her a very definite squeeze on the rib cage,
directly under her right breast) to, finally, righteously indignant. Anna Richardson of Big Screen claims that after the cameras
stopped rolling for her interview segment, Schwarzenegger, apparently attempting to ascertain whether Richardson s breasts
were real, tweaked her nipple and then laughed at her objections. I left the room quite shaken, she says. What was more
upsetting was that his people rushed to protect him and scapegoated me, and not one person came to apologize afterward.
No apologies, indeed: A subsequent statement from
Schwarzenegger attorney Martin Singer characterized Richardson as
someone trying to get her 15 minutes of fame. After all, why else would she create such an outrageous fabrication (Singers
phrase) against a married man Schwarzenegger has been wed to NBC s Maria Shriver since 1986 a father of four, someone
who ceaselessly espouses family values in the press? On the other hand, the stills of Schwarzenegger grinning as he pats
Van Outen s hip or of his give-me-some-sugar-baby expression as he tries to draw Sykes close to him are a little unsettling.
Was Arnold jet-lagged? Going through a midlife crisis?
You don t get it, says a producer who s worked
with Schwarzenegger. That s the way Arnold always behaves. For some reason,
[this time] the studio or the publicists couldn t put enough pressure on the women to kill the story. Terminating bad press was once
relatively easy for Schwarzenegger, who for much of the 80s and a good part of the 90s was a veritable money-making machine
for the studios. And while some of his most recent films have enjoyed less-than-stellar box office performances, he is still a very
huge star and one of the highest-paid actors in the world: He reportedly received $25 million for his work in the 1999
disappointment End of Days. Accordingly, Schwarzenegger films are always big-budget affairs; as such, they provide lots of jobs
to lots of people and generate lots of money to lots of studio suits and other peripheral players. Arnold is not just a rich movie star;
he s the straw that stirs the drinks. The sort of person, in other words, who tends to get indulged. A lot. -->
The second I walked into the room, Anna Richardson
says, several weeks after the incident, he was like a dog in heat.
Other stories about Schwarzenegger tend to fit her simile. During the production of the 1991 mega-blockbuster Terminator 2:
Judgment Day, a producer on that film recalls Arnold s emerging from his trailer one day and noticing a fortyish female crew
member, who was wearing a silk blouse. Arnold went up to the woman, put his hands inside her blouse, and proceeded to
pull her breasts out of her bra. Another observer says, I couldn t believe what I was seeing. This woman s nipples were exposed,
and here s Arnold and a few of his clones laughing. I went after the woman, who had run to the shelter of a nearby trailer.
She was hysterical but refused to press charges for fear of losing her job. It was disgusting.
A former Schwarzenegger employee recalls another
incident from the T2 days. At the time, director James Cameron was married
but having an affair with one of the film's stars, Linda Hamilton. One evening, while riding in a limo with Cameron, Hamilton, and
others, Schwarzenegger suddenly lifted Hamilton onto his lap and began fondling her breasts through the very thin top she was
wearing. The witness says, "I couldn't believe Cameron didn't have the balls to tell Arnold to get off his girl. The whole thing
made me sick." A female producer on one of Schwarzenegger's films tells of a time when her ex-husband came to visit the set.
When she introduced the man to Schwarzenegger, the star quipped, "Is this guy the reason why you didn t come up to my
hotel room last night and suck my cock?"
A woman who went to the set of 1996 s Eraser recalls
the friend she was visiting there being asked to retrieve Schwarzenegger
from his trailer for a shot that was ready to roll earlier than expected. He asked me if I wanted to meet Arnold, and I said sure.
When we opened the door to his trailer, Arnold was giving oral sex to a woman. He looked up and, with that accent, said very
slowly, Eating is not cheating. I met him again about a year later and asked him, in German, whether or not eating was cheating,
and he just laughed.
It s clearly convenient for a guy who preaches
family values in interviews particularly when he s promoting the Inner-City
Foundation, his youth charity, and citing single parenting as a major social woe to have some loose parameters as to what constitutes
cheating on one s wife. (It depends on what your definition of define is.) By some accounts, Maria Shriver has not had it all that easy.
Two people witnessed an incident at a 7 a.m. tennis game that Mr. and Mrs. Schwarzenegger were playing at their hotel, during the
shooting of Total Recall. One of the witnesses says, Mariastarted throwing up. She couldn t play, and Arnold started berating her
and then stomped off the court. At noon that day, the smiling couple announced that Maria was pregnant. Schwarzenegger was
also seen carrying on with his Total Recall costar Rachel Ticotin. A journalist who once accompanied the (then) married Ticotin
and Schwarzenegger on an evening out says, The three of us had gone to dinner, where the two of them were all lovey-dovey.
We then went to a nightclub, but I left to go back to the Hotel Nikko México soon thereafter. When I left them, they were making
out and were all over each other on a banquette. The next day, I saw Arnold and Maria strolling out of the elevator. Maria gave
me the look a married woman does when she knows that you know her husband is cheating on her. I felt terrible for her.
A lot of people must feel the same. A lawyer who
frequents Café Roma, a Beverly Hills bistro that is a hangout for
wannabe wiseguys, says, When ever I see Schwarzenegger and his crew [walk into the place], I leave quickly and go to
another restaurant. This guy is a real pig. He will say the most disgusting sexual things to women he doesn t know. Everybody
knows he is Arnold Schwarzenegger. . . . But in any other city, somebody would have cracked him by now. In Hollywood,
though, nobody cracks a billion-dollar box office gorilla. Schwarzenegger s extraordinary rise to international stardom can be
traced back to the release of the 1977 documentary Pumping Iron, directed by George Butler and Robert Fiore. The film, an
extension of the book of the same title, about the world of bodybuilding competitions, portrays Schwarzenegger in a fascinating
light; the practically Machiavellian way he psychs out contest opponent Lou Ferrigno (the muscleman who later went on to
portray the Incredible Hulk on television) is something to behold. (As is a prior film of Schwarzenegger s, 1970 s Hercules in
New York, a no-budget Z-picture that paired the muscleman, appearing in the title role under the stage name Arnold Strong,
with archetypal nebbish Arnold Stang.)
It wasn t until 1982 s Conan the Barbarian that
Arnold demonstrated his box office drawing power. Conan producer Edward
Pressman says, We signed Arnold to a three-picture deal, which called for him to be paid $250,000 for the first film and the same
for each sequel. The movie turned into a monster hit, and we sold our sequel rights. I m sure Arnold was able to renegotiate his
salary for the sequels. Within just a few short years, he was on his way to becoming one of the highest-paid movie stars in history.
Because he has achieved such an enormous level of respectability and credibility, it s easy to forget that early in his Hollywood
career, he was seen by many as a walking cartoon, if not an out-and-out joke. (He might have experienced an unpleasant frisson
while costarring in a 1980 TV-movie biopic of Jayne Mansfield, playing Mickey Hartigay, Mansfield s bodybuilder-turned-actor
husband, who spent the latter portion of his acting career in such ultra-shlocky Italian horror pics as The Bloody Pit of Horror.)
As do most megastars, Schwarzenegger has a retinue of agents, managers, advisors, and hangers-on (to whom he has often
demonstrated great loyalty; his former agent Lou Pitt recalls that über-agent Mike Ovitz tried to steal my client Arnold from me
any number of times he was all over Arnold like a cheap suit! but that Arnold brushed Ovitz aside, staying with Pitt for almost
15 years). Still, he has largely made his own decisions. He has always done it, as the song says, his way. Which is entirely in
keeping with his self-image.
I was born to be a leader. I love being a leader,
he told Britain s Loaded magazine two years ago. He s not the only person
impressed with his alpha-male mien. He has a completely single-minded style. It is his agenda or no agenda, says a longtime
associate of Schwarzenegger s. A producer who worked with Arnold on True Lies says, Arnold is incredible. At one of the
marketing meetings, Arnold got up and spoke and not only knew the direction we should take in marketing the film, but was
so full of confidence, he inspired everyone in the room. But confidence can cut a lot of different ways, and Schwarzenegger's
can manifest itself cruelly. During the filming of Terminator 2, Schwarzenegger had a dresser who, it was generally conceded,
had not been hired for his looks. Often, in front of the whole crew, Arnold would order the man, Sit, you ugly dog, and the
man would drop to his knees like a trained dog. Crew members would laugh, perhaps nervously, but no one spoke up in
protest. The man was finally put out of his misery when a producer witnessed the spectacle and fired the man rather than
allow him to continue to be abused by Schwarzenegger.
I love the fact that millions of people look up
to me, Schwarzenegger told Loaded. One reason people continue to look up
him is because he and the people around him have been so successful at hiding the real Arnold from the world. The star cleaned
house several years ago, not only letting go of Lou Pitt but also longtime publicist Charlotte Parker, who, for years, had reputedly
been a veritable bull when it came to protecting her client. In 1990, Team Schwarzenegger attempted to derail the publication of
an unauthorized biography of Schwarzenegger by Wendy Leigh. At the time, Leigh was engaged in a lawsuit with Schwarzenegger
over her contribution to a piece about the star in Britain s News of the World; she was offered a settlement on the condition that,
among other things, she not publish the book. She didn t accept that condition; the suit was settled some time later. Charles Fleming
reported in Spy magazine that before Leigh s book was published, Franco Columbu, a longtime bodybuilding associate of
Schwarzenegger s, offered Leigh s publisher, Contemporary Books, the choice of either a large amount of money or an authorized
bio, written with Arnold, if it would agree to cancel Leigh s book. Contemporary Books refused. Once Arnold: An Unauthorized
Biography was published, Parker went into overdrive to bury it. Fleming wrote, When Time did a cover story on Arnold and was
granted an interview, Parker explained that the interview would be ended instantly if the reporters introduced the subject of Leigh s book.
A source close to Parker says, When Charlotte
couldn t kill a story about one of Arnold s infidelities, he canned her.
done her best. The story was originally slated to be a feature on a television entertainment-news show; it wound up as a small
gossip-column item that didn t make many waves. (When Parker, who no longer does publicity for the star or the Arnold Classic,
a Schwarzenegger-affiliated bodybuilding competition, was first approached about this story, she said that she would answer
specific questions; later, she politely demurred: I prefer to not participate in your story. Schwarzenegger, too, declined repeated
requests to be interviewed for this article.)
Schwarzenegger and his people have also been able
to use the ever-intertwining tendrils of media conglomeration to their
A onetime reporter for the now-defunct tabloid TV show Hard Copy recalls, I had been working on a story about Arnold s use
of steroids. Hard Copy was owned by Paramount. I was told, in no uncertain terms, to forget the story. Paramount was afraid
that if we did the story, they would never get Arnold to do a film. The old saw says that if you ve got your health, you ve got
everything. It is probable that this man, once named chairman of the President s Council on Physical Fitness by the first Bush
Administration, is not as healthy as he would like the public to believe.
In April of 1997, Arnold s then publicist, Catherine
Olim, informed the world that Arnold hadundergone elective heart surgery
to replace an aortic valve, at the USC University Hospital in LosAngeles. In a statement attributed to the then 49-year-old star,
he assured his fans, Choosing toundergo open-heart surgery when I never felt sick was the hardest decision I ve ever made.
I can now look forward to a long, healthy life with my family. Olim told the press that the operation was tocorrect a congenital
heart condition. Steroids, she declared, have nothing to do with this.
But Pumping Iron director George Butler, who shot
6,000 still pictures of bodybuilder Arnold invarious poses before he started
work on either the book or the movie, and who has maintained arelationship with Schwarzenegger for more than 20 years, says,
During the operation, doctorsremoved his heart from his body and replaced one of the heart valves with a pig valve. During his
recovery, he was rushed back to the operating room, where the doctors again removed his heart and implanted two more pig valves.
A patient undergoing valve-replacement surgery
has several options. An aortic valve can be replacedby the patient s own
valve, after which a valve taken from a pig replaces the pulmonicvalve. Mechanical valves are also an option. The advantage of
using pig valves, according to Dr.Leonard Girardi, assistant professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Manhattan s New York Weill
CornellMedical Center of New York Presbyterian Hospital, is that you do not need to be on blood thinners;you could just take
an aspirin [which acts as a blood thinner] and that would be sufficient. Thekind of medication required to maintain a mechanical
valve, Girardi says, doesn t jibe well with anathletic lifestyle. Still, pig valves have a downside: They deteriorate. A pig valve, in
general,will last an average of 12 years or so. I have seen them last as long as 20 years. This is notnecessarily an issue for a patient
who undergoes the procedure at age 78; but Schwarzenegger s surgery occurred several months before his 50th birthday.
Carla Ferrigno, the wife of bodybuilder Lou, has,
like Butler, known Schwarzenegger for more than 20years; she says, It s
how he is trying to change history. She says she has spoken to twodoctors who were in the operating room during Schwarzenegger s
procedures, and the account she heardsquares with Butler s.
A doctor who s friendly with the Kennedys (Schwarzenegger
s wife is a Kennedy niece) says he iswell-acquainted with the details of
the operations and speculates that Schwarzenegger s medicalproblems might be related to his use of anabolic steroids during the years
he was a bodybuilder. Another doctor, Alan Leshner, the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in Bethesda,Maryland,
describes some of the effects of steroid use: Steroids interfere with protein function;they work by promoting protein growth and body
mass. At the same time, they are all related to androgens in one way or another. So if you put on a big protein load, you could have
kidney trouble.. . . You could have cardiovascular problems because it affects the heart as well.
Over the years Schwarzenegger has either downplayed
the amount of steroids he used (in a 1987interview in Playboy, he said,
I don t worry about it, because I never took an overdosage ) orskirted the question entirely. But Wendy Leigh s book goes into
detail about his use of the drug, asdoes True Myths, British film critic Nigel Andrews s book on Schwarzenegger. According to
Andrews,Austrian bodybuilder and trainer Kurt Marnul introduced Arnold to steroids in the old country. Inthe book, Marnul said,
There was no weight lifter in the world who did not take them. You could getprescriptions for them from the doctor. Arnold never
took them, though, without my supervision. When asked, Was Arnold taking them? in Andrews s book, the late Vince Gironda,
owner of Vince sGym in North Hollywood where Arnold first trained when he moved to California replied, Is a frog's ass waterproof?
(Schwarzenegger has hedged about drug use in other ways as well. In the Playboyinterview, he denied ever having used any kind
of recreational drug; yet in Pumping Iron, there s asequence showing Arnold basking in the glory of his Mr. Olympia win, enjoying
what George Butler says was a substantial joint.)
Despite the diminishing domestic box office returns
of his pictures, studios still pony up big bucksfor Schwarzenegger s services.
He is still slated to star in Terminator 3, though the possibility ofits being made seems to grow dimmer with every announcement
or news story. The fact that his starmay be waning has led to renewed speculation that Arnold the Kennedy might pull a Ronald
Reagan.Schwarzenegger has long espoused right-wing politics he campaigned furiously for George Bush in1988, concocting
(or at least pronouncing) the infamous sound bite, I only play the Terminator.When it comes to the American future, Michael
Dukakis will be the real Terminator! He s also oftenhinted that he might eventually seek political office. In the Loaded article,
he said, In America Icould go all the way to Speaker of the House. I think I could bring a little spice to the job. Ithink I could
put a little fire up their asses. The governership of California has been mentioned;that would be another jewel in the crown,
another fitting step-up in a life story so amazing that ifyou had made it up, nobody would have believed it. In a recent interview
with Christina Valhouli ofSalon.com, Schwarzenegger dances around the question of whether he will run for political office.
In answering her question, Is it true that you re thinking of running for Governor of California? Schwarzenegger replies, I have
thought about it many times in the past, but I have no specificplans at this point. Perhaps he knows to quit while he s ahead.
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