Arnold Schwarzenegger is an Austrian-American actor, film producer, businessman, former bodybuilder, and politician who served as California’s 38th governor from 2003 to 2011. He is the most recent Republican governor of California as of 2022. In 2004 and 2007, Time magazine named Schwarzenegger one of the world’s 100 most influential people. But did you know how he got his Austrian Citizenship?
Austria does not normally allow dual citizenship, but they made an exception for the award-winning actor Arnold Schwarzenegger when he became a US citizen in 1983.
Who is Arnold Schwarzenegger?
Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger was born on July 30, 1947, in Thal, Austria, as the second son of Gustav and Aurelia Schwarzenegger. Both of his parents were Austrian, and he is thought to have some Czech ancestry.
Schwarzenegger was reportedly average in school but stood out for his “cheerful, good-humored, and exuberant” personality. Money was an issue in their household; Schwarzenegger recalled that buying a refrigerator was one of the highlights of his childhood. Gustav Schwarzenegger, Schwarzenegger’s father, was an athlete who wished for his sons to become Bavarian curling champions. Schwarzenegger participated in various sports as a child, influenced by his father.
Schwarzenegger began weight training when his football coach took his team to a local gym in 1960. He chose bodybuilding over football as a career when he was 14 years old.
Schwarzenegger met Barbara Outland, an English teacher, in 1969 and married her in 1974. Baker describes Schwarzenegger as a joyful personality, totally charismatic, adventurous, and athletic, but claims that near the end of their relationship, he became insufferable or classically conceited that it was as if the world revolved around him.
In July 1977, Schwarzenegger met his next lover, Beverly Hills hairdresser’s assistant Sue Moray, on Venice Beach. In August 1977, Schwarzenegger met television journalist Maria Shriver, the niece of President John F. Kennedy, at the Robert F. Kennedy Tennis Tournament. He continued to date both Moray and Shriver until August 1978, when Moray issued an ultimatum. (Source: Britannica)
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Citizenship
On September 17, 1983, Schwarzenegger became a naturalized US citizen. Shortly before obtaining his citizenship, he petitioned the Austrian authorities for the right to retain his Austrian citizenship, as Austria does not normally permit dual citizenship. His request was granted, and he was allowed to keep his Austrian citizenship. In 2005, Peter Pilz, an Austrian Green Party member, unsuccessfully petitioned the Austrian Parliament to revoke Schwarzenegger’s Austrian citizenship for his failure to prevent the executions of Donald Beardslee and Stanley Williams.
Pilz claimed that Schwarzenegger harmed Austria’s international reputation because Austria abolished the death penalty in 1968. Pilz’s argument was based on Article 33 of the Austrian Citizenship Act, which states that a citizen who is in the public service of a foreign country shall be deprived of his citizenship if he heavily damages the reputation or interests of the Austrian Republic. Pilz claimed that Schwarzenegger’s actions in supporting the death penalty had harmed Austria’s reputation.
Schwarzenegger justified his actions by stating that his sole responsibility as Governor of California regarding the death penalty was to correct a mistake made by the justice system through pardon or clemency if such an error had occurred. (Source: Britannica)