Total Recall: Schwarzenegger opens Austria museum

Fri Oct 7, 2011 9:03am EDT
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By Sylvia Westall

THAL, Austria (Reuters) - Arnold Schwarzenegger took a trip down memory lane in Austria on Friday, visiting his childhood home to open a museum dedicated to his life.

Hundreds of fans - many clad in Terminator-style leather jackets and national dress -- gathered in the soggy southern village of Thal to see the former California governor and Hollywood action star.

"It is a little house that stands here behind us, it is an old house, it has been repainted in yellow and it has been freshly renovated. But it was here that I spent my youth," Schwarzenegger told the rain-soaked crowd crammed into the garden.

Speaking with a soft Austrian provincial accent, Schwarzenegger said the museum was now home to mementoes including the first bodybuilding weights he hoisted as a teenager and the desk from his governor's office in Sacramento.

The 64-year-old said he hoped the story of his curious transition from bodybuilder to movie star to politician would inspire others.

"It is my great wish that everyone who visits this museum fully understands that everyone can be successful in their own way. Everyone. Stay hungry! That was one of my first movies, it has always been my philosophy. This house should carry this message," he said.

Local officials unveiled a huge bronze statue in the garden of a bare-chested young Schwarzenegger flexing his muscles in a body-building pose, veins bulging from his legs.

Schwarzenegger was born in 1947 in Thal, a small, traditional village set in forest-covered hills.   Continued...

<p>Austrian actor, former champion bodybuilder and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, unveils a statue of himself in a bodybuilding pose as his son Patrick (R) watches, in Thal October 7. 2011. Schwarzenegger officially opened a museum dedicated to his life in the house he was born on Friday. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader</p>