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CNN PEOPLE IN THE NEWS

Profiles of Venus Williams, Serena Williams, Arnold Schwarzenegger

Aired July 12, 2003 - 11:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

ANNOUNCER: Next on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS, the sister act that's dominating the tennis world.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think Venus and Serena are to tennis what the Yankees are to baseball.

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ANNOUNCER: They grew up in the mean streets of Compton, California.

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are drugs. There are gangs.

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ANNOUNCER: They were raised to transcend the game's color line, but their controversial father often overshadowed their success.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tennis has this rich history in these tennis fathers from hell. This was the tennis father from outer space.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I'll tell the world today, I'm not crazy. I tell you one thing, I have plenty of money though, but I'm not crazy.

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ANNOUNCER: With slam after slam, their biggest challenge is facing each other.

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SERENA WILLIAMS, TENNIS PLAYER: Now the best part about this rivalry is we're sisters and we live together. And nothing like this has ever happened before.

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ANNOUNCER: The dynamic duo of Venus and Serena Williams. Then the mega action star who is back, reviving his most memorable role in "Terminator 3."

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ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, ACTOR: I'll drive.

People always talk about hey, when are you going to do another "Terminator?"

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ANNOUNCER: Growing up poor in a war-torn Austria, he saw his ticket to fame in the weight room.

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SCHWARZENEGGER: I need to go and become Mister Universe in order to get in the movies...

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ANNOUNCER: This staunch Republican fell in love and married into Camelot.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was huge, confident and trying to make time with my sister.

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ANNOUNCER: Now he may be following the political tradition of his famous in-laws.

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SCHWARZENEGGER: Maybe, you know, run for office and then I can reach out and help millions of people.

I am a machine!

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ANNOUNCER: Cyborg, humanitarian, businessman, and possible gubernatorial candidate, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Their stories now on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.

PAULA ZAHN, HOST: Hi. Welcome to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS. I'm Paula Zahn.

To tennis fans around the world, they are simply the sisters, Venus and Serena Williams. So dominating their only competition seems to be against each other. Venus and Serena have battled for the championship in five of the last six grand slam events. The latest, of course, Wimbledon. It is a sister act defined by flamboyance and driven by a father as controversial as he is caring.

Here's Kyra Phillips.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They're the reigning queens of tennis.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a level of power and finesse and athleticism that tennis has never seen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They've brought style. They've brought fashion.

PHILLIPS: Superstars known around the world on a first-name basis.

ARLEN KARITARIAN, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, USTA: I think Venus and Serena are to tennis what the Yankees are to baseball, what the Lakers are to basketball, what Tiger Woods is to golf.

PHILLIPS: Sisters who live together off the court.

S. WILLIAMS: We're almost like twins. We're a year apart. And we do everything together.

PHILLIPS: And sisters who have battled controversy and their own emotions in facing each other on the courts.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who's number one in house? Number one in the house is number one in the world. There's never been anything like that.

PHILLIPS: Venus and Serena Williams were born in 1980 and 1981. They're the youngest of five daughters. Oracene and Richard Williams raised their girls in Compton, California, a notorious section of Los Angeles, known for the gang wars and drive-by shootings.

RICHARD WILLIAMS, FATHER: It was going to be in a neighborhood that didn't have no other choice, but to pull themselves out themselves. And they was able to do it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are drugs, there are gangs. And in the midst of it were these two little black girls with braids all over their hair and hair ribbons, who had long legs and long arms and incredible tennis talent.

R. WILLIAMS: As for tennis courts in Compton? Those tennis courts was rotten, tore up, no net. And then they did put up some nets, but they put up steel nets, of all things. Get the net go boom. Think another gun was here. Ooh! Watch out. So it was just really terrible.

S. WILLIAMS: I just think it just was able to prepare me, in a way, for the situations in the future. I'm able to get through them without no problem. Nothing really bothers me anymore. PHILLIPS: While the surroundings were tough, Richard Williams had his daughters' destinies planned out.

JON WERTHEIM, SR. WRITER, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED: These two were brought up to be tennis stars.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He had a dream before they were born that this is what he wanted. And it's almost as if he willed it into being by sheer dint of his convictions.

PHILLIPS: By age 10, Venus Williams had become the number one ranked 12 and under player in Southern California. Her talent was apparent on and off the court.

RICK MACCI, FORMER COACH: I went to Compton in 1991 in the spring. And Venus asked to go to the bathroom. And she walks out the gate. And for the first 10 feet, she walks on her hands. And then the next 10 feet, she did backward cartwheels. And I'm sitting there going, I've never seen anything like this. And I told Richard, I said you got the next female Michael Jordan on your hands. And he put his arm around me and he said, "I said no, brother man, I got the next two female Michael Jordans on my hands."

PHILLIPS: That quest for unparalleled success was constantly reinforced.

MACCI: It was almost like breakfast, lunch, dinner and we'll be one and two in the world. This was almost like an arrogant, cocky, as a matter of fact, this is going to happen, there's no doubt. This is what was being talked about at 10:00, 11:00, 12:00 all of the time.

PHILLIPS: It was a vision Richard Williams was more than happy to share with the world.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In those days, I think we all sort of said, uh-huh, yes, Mr. Williams. Okay, I'll write that down. And in the back of your mind you're thinking, you know, what's he talking about?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tennis has this rich history of these tennis fathers from hell. This wasn't an example of that. This was the tennis father from outer space.

PHILLIPS: That reputation grew when Richard Williams did something virtually unheard of. He didn't allow his daughters to play in junior tournaments.

R. WILLIAMS: When I look back and see all the kids now who came along with my daughter, no, I did the right thing. And I would say about 84 percent of those kids who came along, they no longer play tennis. But at the same time, they don't go to school either. I made the right decision.

PHILLIPS: Instead, the girls practiced with hitting partners and played only practice matches. Their training, however, was no walk in the park. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Richard, one time said I want Venus to play a match today with a boy who's the biggest cheater in your academy. So I put 12-year-old Venus on a court with some 17-year-old boy, one of the best players in Florida. There was about 40 kids on the fence watching the match. Any time the ball was on the line, the guy cheated her. Venus got beat 6-0. And that's Richard Williams. He wants his daughter's skin to get thicker.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He trained them to be tough. He said, they're going to be people at these tournaments that are going to call you nigger. They're going to cheat. They're going to do everything they can. They're going to scream when you serve. They're going to try to make you think the balls are out. And you better be tough.

PHILLIPS: At the same time, the Williams sisters were being taught tennis wasn't the only thing in their lives.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He always treated them like kids. And he always talked to me about that. We're not going to practice today. We're going to the mall.

ORACENE PRICE, MOTHER: The priorities first would be to God, and then family. And then everything else is secondary.

PHILLIPS: In 1994 after going three years without playing in a competitive tournament...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Venus Williams!

PHILLIPS: Fourteen-year-old Venus Williams made her professional debut.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody thought Venus would lose, she'd get her clock cleaned and then this would sort of be a funny side chapter in tennis history.

PHILLIPS: Instead Venus won, beating a player ranked in the top 60. That set up a showdown with Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario, ranked number two in the world.

VENUS WILLIAMS, TENNIS PLAYER: I think I have the game to beat anyone. And I can't just accept that she's going to be better or that she's going to win because that's not what I'm here to do. I'm here to play my hardest and not believe that someone's better.

PHILLIPS: Williams lost in three sets, but the word was out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody saw Venus Williams put a scare into this top five players and said, you know, maybe this Richard Williams isn't so crazy after all.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good.

PHILLIPS: By 1997, Serena had joined Venus in the professional ranks. And the sisters made an immediate splash. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's often been said that white is the predominant color in tennis. Not just the complexion of the players, but the dress and the crowds. It's a very sort of gentile sport.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Venus and Serena were the complete antithesis of all of that. Their outfits were colorful, they were colorful, their hair was different. It was colorful. And they played tennis in a colorful way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They were hitting with power, even when they came on, all arms and legs. They were grunting. They were covering balls that no player would even try to get to. And the power, even at age 16, their power was nothing that anybody had seen before.

PHILLIPS: In 1997, 17-year-old Venus reached the finals of the U.S. Open in her first appearance in the tournament. Two years later, 17-year-old Serena won the 1999 U.S. Open, becoming the second black woman ever to win a grand slam singles event. And 2000 saw Venus win her first singles grand slam title at Wimbledon.

V. WILLIAMS: Well, I guess we've won two of the last four grand slam singles in the last year. So that's pretty good. And we want to take this one, too. Either one of us, that'd be nice.

It's our ambition just to take over tennis. And we're trying. And we're doing a decent job of it now. And hopefully, we can keep it up.

PHILLIPS: When PEOPLE IN THE NEWS continues, the Williams sisters power their way to the top and face controversy when they square off against one another.

JOHN MCENROE, FMR. TENNIS PRO: There's been certainly accusations that something's going to beforehand. And I think in a couple of cases, it probably was.

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ANNOUNCER: Also ahead, how Mr. Olympia romanced a TV news star.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was no expectation that an off-screen body builder would ever be anything more than a weekend visitor.

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ANNOUNCER: (Unintelligible) becomes a Kennedy. The story of Arnold Schwarzenegger later on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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PHILLIPS: By the beginning of 2001, the Williams sisters had won three of the last five grand slam tournaments. They'd gotten gold at the Olympics: Venus in singles, together in doubles. And their sights were set on reaching the top of the tennis rankings.

V. WILLIAMS: Obviously, I would love to be number one.

There's no way that I'm going to say, well I'm happy at number three, I like it here. Definitely I'm trying to move forward.

PHILLIPS: But striving to be the best would mean more head to head battles between the sisters, which would prove to be difficult and controversial. Growing up, the sisters spent countless hours, playing and practicing on the court together. However, playing competitive matches against one another was something their father did not encourage.

MACCI: It'd almost be like a street fight. You know? It would be brutal. And he didn't even want that type of confrontation between the sisters.

R. WILLIAMS: I never would have allowed it when they was little kids because I think it's a good way to tarnish the family. To be honest with you, I didn't want them playing each other head to head on the WTA Tour either. Or should I say the -- what is it? The Williams Tennis Association?

PHILLIPS: There was no mistaking the emotional strain the sisters experienced when they did face one another. Most notably in the 2000 Wimbledon Semifinals, where Serena walked off the court in tears after losing to her big sister.

WERTHEIM: Venus told me the story once about how growing up in L.A., they would share a room. And Serena refused to go to sleep before Venus. So Venus had to wait until Serena fell asleep because Serena would get scared in the night. How in the world is she going to get up to beat this player, to really get aggressive and really find the competitive instincts to beat this player on the other side of the net? This player who she once had to wait until she was asleep before she could then fall asleep.

PHILLIPS: In fact, the sisters' matches against one another were often lackluster at best, awful at worst.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They both are played the same game. They both are power players, which usually leads to a lot of unforced errors.

Also though, they warm up with each other before their matches. So it's not as though one's got a secret weapon the other hasn't seen that she's ready to unleash.

PHILLIPS: It added up to questions about the sisters' willingness to play one another and came to a head in March 2001 at a tournament in Indian Wells, California. Just minutes before her scheduled semi-final match up against Serena, Venus withdrew, citing an injury. Serena was booed during the finals, as were her father and sister as they took their seats. And Richard alleged fans had hurled a racial slur against them. BUD COLLINS, TENNIS COMMENTATOR: It was a low point from a morale standpoint. I don't think Serena had ever been booed before. Venus had never been booed before.

V. WILLIAMS: And I'm not really trying to get involved in any type of controversy. I'm just trying to stay out of everything, because I think unfairly I've been brought into a lot of things.

I think it's important for his point of view to be heard if he wants to speak. And as for me, I'm here to play tennis and that only. And that makes me happy enough.

PHILLIPS: The controversy had also been fueled by fellow tennis player Elena Dementieva, who said she thought Richard would decide who would win the match up between the girls. At same time, "The National Enquirer" printed a story. It alleged that Richard had predetermined which sister would win their 2000 semi-final match up at Wimbledon.

V. WILLIAMS: Come on, it's "The National Enquirer." I mean, God! Next thing you know I'm going to be pregnant by some Martians.

R. WILLIAMS: If you do that, what's going to happen, you're going to lose the respect of one of your daughters.

No, I would never tell my daughter to lose or to win. Under no circumstance. But I would tell my daughter this here. When you are out there, do the best you can do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think the matches are fixed. And I don't think they ever were fixed. But I think people see how the level of play dropped so dramatically when they compete against each other. And you also have the Richard factor to contend with.

PHILLIPS: Richard Williams seemed to get more outrageous as his daughters became more successful. He bad-mouthed other players, held up signs, and danced at tournaments. He supplied the press with a seemingly endless string of outlandish comments and stories.

SONJA STEPTOE, SR. CORRESPONDENT, "TIME" MAGAZINE: I think Richard is a modern-day PT Barnum. There's no question about him. He's full of bluster.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was a man who just doesn't distinguish between fact and fiction. And he's buying Rockefeller Center for $3.9 billion. And he owns thousands of buses. And he has a seat on the Shanghai Stock Exchange. And I'm not sure if it's sort of controversy, so much as it's amusement.

R. WILLIAMS: The only thing I had a tendency of saying what I believe in. And I noticed when Mohammed Ali said what he said, people said that guy's crazy. When any black person come along in this country and say anything, he's crazy. Well I tell the world today I'm not crazy. I tell you one thing, I have plenty of money though, but I'm not crazy.

PHILLIPS: In September 2001, the sisters got the chance to show the world they were on the up and up with their first head to head match up in a grand slam event at the U.S. Open.

S. WILLIAMS: I won't have any problem because this is the U.S. Open. And if you ever notice, the winner gets, you know, $850,000.

V. WILLIAMS: It's been, like two years for her since she's won. And it's been a year for me since I won here, too.

PHILLIPS: The match was sloppy, but hard fought, Venus beating her little sister. But more than that, it fulfilled their father's prophecy. Two girls from Compton taking over the tennis world.

R. WILLIAMS: I've been dreaming about this all my life. And when it happened, I wasn't ready yet again. I mean, they keep catching me off guard. It's just such a thrill. Such an unbelievable, something that just happened there. Unreal.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PHILLIPS: When PEOPLE IN THE NEWS continues, the Williams sisters hit the books and their sibling rivalry finally sizzles.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: Venus and Serena Williams have transcended sports, become two of the most visible women in the world.

V. WILLIAMS: It's a woman's world.

PHILLIPS: Venus has a $40 million endorsement deal with Reebok, the richest ever for a female athlete. Serena has a lucrative contract with Puma. The sisters also pitch everything from their own dolls...

V. WILLIAMS: I think they're very, very cute to say the least.

PHILLIPS: To Wrigley gum.

V. WILLIAMS: You just have to think that Wrigley's is the best.

PHILLIPS: They're ranked on Fortune's list of power celebrities. And their popularity ratings are huge. Any tournament that features a Williams sister guarantees more attention, more fans, and more money.

ARLEN KANTARIAN, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, USTA: I think Venus and Serena have brought a tremendous amount of non-tennis sports fans into the mix. Win or lose, love them or hate them, Venus Williams and Serena Williams are bringing more people into the game than anything else we could possibly be doing.

STEPTOE: You know you're not only going to get, you know, whatever hairdo they're sporting this month, you're also going to get like an amazing outfit of colors that are not found in the natural hue. And you're going to get just breathtaking tennis.

PHILLIPS: For all their riches, success, and fame, the Williams sisters and their family continue to make life outside tennis a priority.

O. PRICE: That's always been a major focus of ours for the transition out of tennis because you're only a star for so long. And then what do you have next? So you have to make preparations early for that.

R. WILLIAMS: And I think people think that we're supposed to take tennis as if it's a last thing on earth. And I'm supposed to go, I'm not going to hit you over your head if you don't get that. No, no, I might hit you on your head if you don't hit that book now.

PHILLIPS: In fact, the sisters took fashion design courses at a college near their Florida home, even scheduled tournaments around their classes.

V. WILLIAMS: I was always involved with fashion. And before I knew it, I was just submitting some designs to Reebok. And it was pretty flexible. And that's how it all got involved.

S. WILLIAMS: I do my own designs of dresses. I do like evening wear. And I've worn my dresses a few times with some different designs.

PHILLIPS: On the court, 2002 was a big year for the Williams sisters. Before July, Venus climbed to number one in the rankings, with Serena holding number two. But Serena soon overpowered her sister in what would become known as the Serena slam. Serena won four straight grand slam titles, all against Venus.

S. WILLIAMS: I like being number one. I like being here. And I would like to stay here as long as I can.

PHILLIPS: Questions over the sisters' willingness to play each other were replaced by questions over whether Venus would ever beat her little sister again. Just last week, the sisters squared off again at Wimbledon. Venus struggled with an abdominal and groin injury, but played through the pain, something she's been accused of not doing before.

COLLINS: Venus was hurt, for one thing. And I think that she was a trooper to go through with it. She didn't have to, but she was well aware of what had happened two years ago when she pulled out of a semi-final against Serena at the very last minute. And she wasn't going to do that again.

PHILLIPS: But Serena would again come out on top.

V. WILLIAMS: It wasn't easy, I tell you, because I know if she was playing pretty good, then who knows what would have happened. But either way, it was over three set matches, two hours -- over two hours of play. So it was fun.

COLLINS: I think that these two could go down, when it's all over, as the two greatest players in history and never play a good match against each other. PHILLIPS: One thing's for sure, whenever they face each other, it's a sibling rivalry that is always, dramatic, entertaining and captivating, no matter who wins.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: Venus and Serena's next grand slam event, the U.S. Open, which gets under way in New York at the end of August.

ANNOUNCER: When PEOPLE IN THE NEWS returns, he's been a barbarian, a terminator and a kindergarten cop, but can he be the next great politician?

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everything he's done comes out of a very firm political DNA in his brain.

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ANNOUNCER: From the weight room to the campaign trail, a look at Arnold Schwarzenegger is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Welcome back to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.

Twenty years after he first crashed into theaters as the "Terminator," Arnold Schwarzenegger proves he still has box office mills. His "Terminator 3, Rise of the Machines" blasted to No. 1 over the July Fourth weekend; his best move opening ever. But even as he pushes his new film, Arnold is sounding more like a political candidate than a Hollywood star.

Here's Bill Hemmer.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BILL HEMMER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If you don't remember the face, you may remember the body, a young Mr. Universe pumping iron in the early '70s, a physique that strained the imagination.

JOE WEIDER, CHMN., WEIDER HEALTH & FITNESS: When it comes to size and proportion, he was the best.

HEMMER: As the gargantuan '80s action hero, "Conan the Barbarian."

JAIME LEE CURTIS, ACTRESS: He is an enormously talented man with enormous charisma.

HEMMER: And perhaps his biggest and most memorable role, the larger than life killer robot in the "Terminator."

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, ACTOR: I'll be back. HEMMER: The "Terminator" kept his promise.

SCHWARZENEGGER: When I go anywhere, people always talk about, say hey, when are you going to do another "Terminator?"

HEMMER: Two decades after the original box office smash, Arnold Schwarzenegger travels forward through time to revive his role in "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. "

SCHWARZENEGGER: I am a machine!

Good take. I love it.

HEMMER: But can the release of "T3" supply the 55-year-old, the box office muscle he once had in the '80s.

SCHWARZENEGGER: She'll be back.

LEAH ROZEN, FILM CRITIC, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: Arnold Schwarzenegger is hoping "T3" will be a really big payday. Arnold is a businessman. He know what's movie business is like. He knows he does not have a whole lot of major films in his future.

HEMMER: There may be something else in the "Terminator's" future. The speculation being fanned by the press. Could Arnold Schwarzenegger be the next governor in the state of California?

SCHWARZENEGGER: It could very well be that eventually I'd want to do something else in the political arena.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Arnold!

GEORGE BUTLER, DIRECTOR, "PUMPING IRON": Never underestimate Arnold. People have always counted him down and out at every particular moment in his career, right from the beginning.

HEMMER: The odds were stacked against Arnold Schwarzenegger early on. His life began in Austria during a climate of uncertainty, July 30, 1947. Adolph Hitler was no longer in power and World War II had ended, but Europe was in disarray with rampant unemployment and poverty.

SCHWARZENEGGER: My mother had to literally go 20, 30 kilometers around, you know, to find food for us kids.

HEMMER: Little Arney and his big brother Meinhart (ph) grew up in this house in a sleepy, farming community called Tah, nestled in the hilly southeastern region of Austria. His mother, Aurelia was a homemaker and his father, Gustav a police officer who kept a strict household.

SCHWARZENEGGER: That there was a serious kind of punishments if you did something wrong. My mother was much more disciplined. She was waiting at home after I came home from school and she would demand to do the homework first before I was allowed out of the house. HEMMER: Arnold's father at one time, a member of the Nazi Party, was even more of a disciplinarian. He pitted son against son in everything from school to sports.

LARRY SUTTON, ASSOC. EDITOR, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: Everyone thought that Meinhart (ph) was going to be the one to go on to bigger and better things. And in fact, they that say Arnold was so timid when he followed him around that to goof on him, his friends would call him Cinderella. As if he were the sister that wasn't getting all of the star treatment.

HEMMER: Those insults just pushed Arnold to work harder. He became obsessed with competition. He also discovered another passion, action movies. Mostly those featuring muscular film stars like Steve Reeves in 1958's "Hercules Unchained."

SCHWARZENEGGER: When I looked at him and said wow! This guy game a Hercules star because he was Mr. Universe. So maybe that's what I need to do. I need to go and become Mr. Universe and then win the Mr. World competition and be a world champion in bodybuilding in order to get into movies.

HEMMER: He plotted his destiny, studying muscle magazines, discovering the gym and enduring grueling workout sessions.

SCHWARZENEGGER: When I started training with weights with the age of 15, my body responded very quickly. So it was very clear that that was where my potential was.

HEMMER: In 1961, the well-developed 15-year-old came in second at his first bodybuilding contest in Austria. During the short stint in the army, he entered and won more competitions. He took home the title of Junior Mr. Europe in a 1966 runner-up in the Mr. Universe contest. The 19-year-old trained even harder. In 1967 at the age of 20, Schwarzenegger became the youngest Mr. Universe in history. American bodybuilding champ, Joe Weider was impressed.

WEIDER: I knew at that time that he would be a great champion. He was charming. He made you laugh. And he trained hard and he was totally dedicated.

HEMMER: Weider encouraged the 20-year-old to leave Austria and train in the United States. Schwarzenegger was elated.

SCHWARZENEGGER: I want to get into movies. I want to be the top in bodybuilding. I wanted to make a lot of money.

HEMMER: When PEOPLE IN THE NEWS returns, Schwarzenegger makes millions.

SCHWARZENEGGER: Very nice.

HEMMER: Conquers "Conan" and marries into Camelot.

TIM SHRIVER, BROTHER-IN-LAW: He was huge, confidant and trying to make time with my sister. HEMMER: And later, the "Terminator" goes on Washington.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HEMMER: By 1968, Arnold Schwarzenegger was the best body builder in the world. But the 21-year-old Austrian was looking for more than just trophies.

SCHWARZENEGGER: I wanted to go to America and I wanted to be part of something really big.

HEMMER: He left Austria and muscled his way to LA's Venice Beach, the bodybuilding Mecca in the '60s. He took classes, learned English and worked out. In 1969 he captured the coveted Mr. Olympia title. He still craved a bigger title and a bigger audience.

SCHWARZENEGGER: Bodybuilding was a wonderful sport and I had a great time, but it was always a means to an end, as everything ought to be. The bodybuilding was a way of getting into the movies.

HEMMER: After a few acting classes, he landed his very first part. Billed as Arnold Strong, he was seen but not heard in 1969's the low budget flick, "Hercules in New York." His voice was dubbed when movie execs decided his Austrian accent was too thick.

SCHWARZENEGGER: A fine chariot, but where are the horses?

HEMMER: Schwarzenegger gained his first notoriety in "Pumping Iron," a documentary about body builders, training for Mr. Olympia. George Butler directed the film.

BUTLER: The entire movie is almost like a Schwarzenegger monologue and he is wickedly funny and very smart. Very canny, very surprising.

SCHWARZENEGGER: I have no fear of fainting in the gym because I know it could happen. I threw up many times while I was work out, but it doesn't matter because it's all worth it.

HEMMER: Schwarzenegger's body, charm and wit made him a hit with American audiences. He also captured someone else's attention.

SCHWARZENEGGER: I would say they fell in love with her very much in the beginning when I met her.

HEMMER: In 1977, 30-year-old Schwarzenegger was further Americanized when he began dating the niece of president John F. Kennedy, Maria Shriver. Shriver's parents and brothers are well-known philanthropists and liberals.

SHRIVER: There was no expectation that an Austrian body builder who was a Republican would ever be anything more than a weekend visitor. I think he was fascinated most by my parents, really.

BUTLER: Right from the start, long before I met Maria, it was very clear that he was interested in the Kennedys. And he really had a plan to do exactly what he's done. He wanted to get from A to Z and Z was to be a millionaire, to be somehow associated with the White House.

HEMMER: After an eight-year courtship, Schwarzenegger and Shriver married in 1986. Politics aside, he says they have much in common.

SCHWARZENEGGER: She was always a very ambitious girl. And I was always ambitious. And we all are big believers in family. I wanted to have kids. She always wanted to have kids. I always wanted to have two. She always wanted to have five. So we settled at four.

HEMMER: Schwarzenegger had become a member of the America's most famous family. His next role would make him a member of Hollywood's elite.

ROZEN: "Conan the Barbarian" was essentially a revival of the cheesy, sword and sandals sort of cartoon epics. I mean, these things were cheesy, but it made it clear this guy to be a movie star.

HEMMER: And he continued to capitalize on his body off-screen, building on his brawn and his brain. After earning a business degree from the University of Wisconsin Superior in 1979, he put his education to the test.

SCHWARZENEGGER: I was, you know, smart enough to make money off my bodybuilding to write books, best-selling books. Any money that I made I invested. I would say that by the late 70's I was already a millionaire.

Good to see you. Let's see these muscles. Wow!

HEMMER: A millionaire and a 1984 career-changing role as an indestructible alien in the "Terminator's."

SCHWARZENEGGER: It was the first movie that became like a huge hit without really using the body and exploiting the body, because I had my leather jacket on throughout the whole movie.

HEMMER: He'd use his body again, though in many '80s action flicks as a war vet battling terrorists and commando. A soldier on a dangerous mission in "Predator," and a man sentenced to a game show execution in "Running Man."

ROZEN: They were very, carefully tailored to his talents. No one gave him reams of English dialogue. You knew he couldn't do reams of English dialogue. So you gave him these short, often funny lines. These sort of cracks. And you had him kill a whole lot of people in a whole lot of exciting special effects kinds of ways.

SCHWARZENEGGER: Let off some steam.

Beautiful! Perfect!

HEMMER: Schwarzenegger used the success to help disadvantaged kids. He launched the Inner City Games and became a driving force behind the Special Olympics.

SHRIVER: He's been an enormously powerful force for putting people with mental disability on the map in places where they are not known as people dignity and respect.

HEMMER: But with fame, fortune and good deeds, came scathing reviews of his personal life. When PEOPLE IN THE NEWS returns, Schwarzenegger's reputation butchered in a movie magazine.

SCHWARZENEGGER: I've gotten bad press. There's always some people out there that want to do you harm.

HEMMER: And hasta la vista, Hollywood "Conan" the politician.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHWARZENEGGER: Hasta la vista, baby.

HEMMER: In the early '90s, Arnold Schwarzenegger was the king of action heroes. He returned as the unstoppable alien in "Terminator 2 Judgment Day" and rocked the box office with the violent big budget, "Total Recall. "

SCHWARZENEGGER: You blew my cover. Everybody down!

HEMMER: His labor of love, "Last Action Hero" fell flat.

SCHWARZENEGGER: This hero stuff has its limits.

HEMMER: But he rebounded later as a spy and family man in romantic comedy, "True Lies." Actress Jamie Lee Curtis played his wife.

CURTIS: From the first scene, I just remember doing this and thinking oh, this is just going to be good because it was just so easy. And there was none of that actory stuff getting in the way. HEMMER: And Schwarzenegger earned kudos off the screen. He was a thriving businessman, owned cool real estate and restaurants. Hosted hit TV shows like "Saturday Night Live."

SCHWARZENEGGER: This is what you have to do. Like this.

HEMMER: But all of the muscles in the world could not save his next movie, comedies "Junior" and "Jingle All the Way" fizzled.

ROZEN: The late '90s in particular, were not that kind to Arnold. He tried to broaden his range because it was clear he was getting older and the stunts were a little harder to do. It was clear, he was no longer the box office star he had been.

HEMMER: Box office bombs coincided with some personal problems. In 1997, the 50-year-old underwent surgery to replace a defective heart valve. He made a full recovery, but rumors circulated that his bad heart was due to steroid use in his early years.

WEIDER: He knew I didn't like it, but they all had to take it in order to compete in those days. He didn't overdo it.

HEMMER: And in 2001, Schwarzenegger was incensed when "Premiere" magazine featured an article alleging his boorish behavior towards women, that he had fondled female co-stars.

SUTTON: An article came out in "Premiere" magazine that sort of brought to the forefront a lot of the things that had been whispered about Arnold in the past. Basically, his infatuation with women, in Europe he's known as the Octopus. He contends that it was all playful. It was amazing the reaction to that article. He got basically, all Hollywood to line up on his side and denied these charges.

HEMMER: Actress Jaime lee Curtis was one of those Hollywood friends. She even wrote a letter to "Premiere" magazine defending him.

CURTIS: The door to his trailer was open every single day, all day. There is nothing going on. He's in there reading Christy's catalogs. "Jaime Lee, do you think I should buy this for Maria for her birthday?" You know, I mean I just didn't see it.

SCHWARZENEGGER: I've gotten bad press. You cannot just expect people to talk nice about you. Or to just, you know, compliment you with your movies. Or everyone loves your movies. Everyone loves your politics. Everyone loves your lifestyle.

HEMMER: Bad press and some bad movies have not deterred him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And action!

HEMMER: But after other film flops like "Sixth Day" and "Collateral Damage," he's been seen less on movie screens and more on the political trail.

SCHWARZENEGGER: Victory!

HEMMER: He's funded and served as the lead spokesman for Proposition 49, an act that established after school programs in California. The 55-year-old has even bigger aspirations.

SCHWARZENEGGER: Politics will be an interesting thing to do. And that's where my head is at to, maybe, you know, run for office and then he reach out and help millions of people with that.

BUTLER: Arnold is a natural-born politician and everything he's done comes outside of a very firm, political DNA in his brain.

HEMMER: Schwarzenegger is considering a run for governor of California in 2006. Political pundits say he'd have a good shot.

ALLAN HOFFENBLUM, POLITICAL CONSULTANT: And the fact that Republicans here in California have not been able to field a winning candidate for governor since 1994, leaves the field wide open. And there's something nostalgic, of course, that the next time they had a really popular Republican governor was another actor by the name Ronald Reagan.

HEMMER: But unlike Reagan, Schwarzenegger labels himself liberal on social issues. He favors gun control, legalized abortion and adoption by gay parents.

HOFFENBLUM: That helps in the mind of more pragmatic conservative because they do believe Republicans must nominate a pro- choice, more socially moderate candidate to be able to win statewide.

HEMMER: But a run for office would surely mean more scrutiny of his personal life.

SUTTON: You've got to have a very clean back group. It's a murky area with Arnold and I think some people in California are afraid of that.

HEMMER: For now, Schwarzenegger insists he is more concerned about movie audiences than voters. This summer, he'll try to regain his title of box office "Terminator."

SCHWARZENEGGER: It is time.

HEMMER: In "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines" Schwarzenegger faces his toughest foe yet. A female super android.

SCHWARZENEGGER: And she is just very, very dangerous and very advanced "Terminator," where as I am much more of the older model of the "Terminators."

HEMMER: Older model perhaps, but this machine shows no sign of breaking down.

SHRIVER: In the end of the day, Arnold is impatient. And when he feels like he's gotten something, he wants to figure out what he can to do next.

BUTLER: He's always managed to find the odd angle that works. And I would love to see Arnold Schwarzenegger fool everyone.

CURTIS: And I think we would be so lucky if he could run for president.

HEMMER: That would take a constitutional amendment. But for this Austrian body builder, turned American entrepreneur, turned Hollywood action hero, anything is possible.

SCHWARZENEGGER: I have had the most interesting ride from the time of my childhood to now. I feel lucky, I feel thankful to all of the people that helped me. And you know this is just the beginning.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: Voters may not have to wait very long to find out whether Arnold Schwarzenegger intends to run for governor in California. Thanks to an increasingly popular effort to recall Democratic Governor Gray Davis, supporters of the recall say they have enough signatures to bring the initiative to a vote.

That's it for this edition of PEOPLE IN THE NEWS. I'm Paula Zahn. Thanks so much for joining us. Hope to see you next week.

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