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Arnold Schwarzenegger Once Hired An Accent-Remover Coach

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In the sacred collection of quotable cinematic one-liners, more than a few came from Arnold Schwarzenegger, and all are loyally recited with his characteristic accent. But there was a time Schwarzenegger sought an accent-remover coach to expel one of his most iconic features, all because of incorrect industry assumptions.

Over 50 years before becoming the Governator, Schwarzenegger was born in the village of Thal, located all the way in Styria, Austria. He was 21 when he moved to the U.S. in October 1968, with little knowledge of English but abundant determination hardened from years of seeing America as his ticket to stability after a troubled youth. But if Hollywood had it his way, one of his strengths might have been wiped away for good.

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Arnold Schwarzenegger consulted an accent-remover coach he later regretted

Arnold Schwarzenegger came to America without much English and so hired an accent-remover coach / ©TriStar/courtesy Everett Collection

Last fall, Schwarzenegger sat down on The Graham Norton Show to promote his new book, Be Useful: Seven Tools for Life. There, he also discussed his accent that some deemed useless.

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“I had an English coach and an acting coach and a speech coach and an accent-removal coach,” Schwarzenegger revealed, “who has passed away since then, but I should have otherwise gotten my money back.” This was in the ‘70s, when he was making his transition from strictly bodybuilding to acting.

“The bottom line is, I worked on it,” he went on. “I remember he’d say, ‘You know you always say s-ree. It’s three, with a T-H.’ So he had me say, ‘Three thousand three hundred and thirty-three and one-third,’ with the T-H and not with the S.”

The insiders couldn’t have been more wrong

The accent ended up being as big an asset to Arnold as his muscles / Melinda Sue Gordon/©Paramount Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection

Those asserting that Schwarzenegger needed to resort to an accent-remover coach ended up being quite wrong saying it would limit his career. “The funny thing was all the stuff that they said, the Hollywood producers and the directors and all the geniuses, they were saying this was an obstacle for me to become a leading man, became an asset,” mused Schwarzenegger.

He did, however, lose out on narrating Conan the Barbarian / © Universal / courtesy Everett Collection

In the end, execs went out of their way, rather than the other way around, to bring Schwarzenegger in. “When I did Conan the Barbarian, John Milius, the director, said to the press, ‘If we wouldn’t have had Schwarzenegger, we would have had to build one,’” shared Schwarzenegger, “because I was the only one that had the muscles to play that character the way Frank Frazetta painted it and the way Robert E. Howard has written about it. Then when I did Terminator, Jim Cameron said, ‘What made Terminator work and why it became successful is because Schwarzenegger talks like a machine.”

It did, however, cost Schwarzenegger part of his work in Conan the Barbarian. While Arnold and his co-star Sandahl Bergman were literally irreplaceable because of their strength and stature, Arnold was supposed to narrate the film, reports PopWatch Rewind, but “you realize exactly how distracting that Teutonic drawl would be.”

Would you want a version of Conan the Barbarian where Arnold narrates?

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