THE TERMINATOR star Arnold Schwarzenegger took up bodybuilding in his teens - because he saw it as a guaranteed ticket to movie stardom in America.

The Austrian-born screen star, 55, began weightlifting at the age of 14 and at 20 became the youngest man ever to win MR UNIVERSE - and all his efforts were an attempt to realise his early dreams of making it in Hollywood.

He says, "Bodybuilding is an American sport and I wanted to get to America. It was my idea, the first decision I made on my own.

"In a shop I saw an American magazine and read about this guy, REG PARK, who won Mr Universe and then did a Hercules movie. I said, 'Wow, that's what I have to do!' All of a sudden, I started painting a picture in my mind of me standing on a pedestal at the Mr Universe contest and everyone applauding.

"That was my vision; 'I have to become Mr Universe, and that will guarantee that I will get into movies in America.'"

He adds, "I just had this drive to become part of America. As a child, I saw pictures of America - newsreels and movies - and I said to myself, 'That's where I belong.' My dreams were always of America."

23/06/2003 17:02