Arnold Talks Height : Arnold's own take on his height

Interview With Dick Tyler - 1969

After Only just moving to the United States, Arnold had an interview with acclaimed bodybuilding journalist Dick Tyler in which he briefly mentioned his height. The interview is now reprinted in 'West Coast Bodybuilding Scene : The Golden Era'.

Dick Tyler : "Arnold, how much did you weigh when you started?"

Arnold : "150 pounds."

Dick Tyler : "At the same height?"

Arnold : "Yes, six-foot, one inch"

Measurement by Vince Basile - 1969

Although measured by Vince Basile at 6'1 1/2" as described in a previous article on Arnoldheight.com, Vince Basile has said that Arnold himself claimed he was 6'2" just before the measurement took place.

Interview With Jon Meade - 1980

In an interview for Muscle Digest, Arnold told editor Jon Meade that he was 'about 6' 1/2"' when asked about his height.

Ask Arnold - December, 1999

In December 1999, towards the end of his acting career, Schwarzenegger gave an apparently directly response to a question on his Schwarzenegger.com website:

Q. How tall are you?

A. I'm 6'2". I've heard rumors that I'm really much shorter in real life - like 5'6" or something like that - which is ridiculous. I can assure you this is not the case. People look up to me, and not just because I do a lot of work in the community. I mean, most people really LOOK UP to me.

Interview with Phil Bronstein - 2008

The San Francisco Chronicle posted an interview between Editor Phil Bronstein and Governor Schwarzenegger on its website. Initally discussing politics, Phil Bronstein moved the conversation onto something serious; Schwarzenegger's height.

Bronstein : everytime you come in this building, there's a debate after you leave. It's not the budget, it's not about anything else. It's like, ok, how tall is he? So how tall are you?

Arnold : I used to be 6-1 and three quarter. And I think now I'm 6-1. I shrank.

Bronstein : What happened?

Arnold : I dunno. I dunno what happened. And the reason why I know it is not because I'm measuring myself. But we have a wall, in my closet. That we have always used, when kids came in, as they grew up. I would write their initials down and the date, and I would put y'know a book or something on their head and I would make a little line with a sharpie. And SO we'd know this is where you were when you're three years old. And so it goes up and up and up.

And so of course, every so often, especially lately since my daughters are almost my height, they said let me measure you. And so i stood against the wall and they put a book on my head and drew the line. and the next thing they measure with the tape measure and they said 'you're 6-1. You're only 6-1! You told us you were 6-1 and three quarter.'

I said 'Do it again, this is crazy'. So I stood again and I made myself really tall and I stretched my neck and I did the whole thing and really was against the wall and I straightened out my back and the chest out. and she came in and she says now instead it's one eigth of an inch more. But you're still 6-1.

Bronstein : Kids are tough.

From here, Bronstein, claiming he knew his own height, boldy got the governor to stand up and compared their heights. Schwarzengger asked him how tall he was, to which Bronstein replied '6 foot'. This certainly tallies with how tall Bronstein appears in photographs, and as he looked a good inch shorter than Schwarzenegger in this particular video, it gave weight to Schwarzenegger's story of him coming in at 6'1". Kudos must go out to Phil Bronstein for pulling this one off. He did everything he could to get Schwarzenegger's height, shy of demanding to see the insides of his shoes for elevation aids.

Conclusion

After coming to America around the age of 21, it appears that Schwarzenegger may have thought himself as being 6-1. He suggests this was the height he was when he started bodybuilding, which was around the age of 15. Note that in 'Education of a Bodybuilder' Arnold mentions he was 6 foot when he was 15 before training. It doesn't seem like too great a stretch of the imagination for him to have grown at least an inch over that year.

It's not uncommon for people to not measure themselves after a grown spurt and then to ignore very minor growth in their late teens. Perhaps Schwarzenegger grew another inch between the age of 16 and 21 and didn't initially realise it? Between the interview with Dick Tyler and being measured by Vince Basile (a period less than a year) Arnold Schwarzenegger went from believing he was 6-1, to thinking he was 6-2. Maybe he was measured during this period and realised his actual height. Or perhaps other bodybuilders had read the same interview or asked him his height themselves and told him that he looked taller than 6-1.

After Being measured as 6-1.5 by Vince, it seems judging from Jon Meade's 1980 account that this was the measurement Arnold gave for himself. Which if anything, suggests that Schwarzenegger was being honest about his height rather than opting for a full 6'2".

During his movie career he was back to an offical full 6-2 and nothing less than that. Just a case of rounding up to give a nicer sounding number perhaps? It's unlikely to think he would ever round down to 6-1. Judging by the Bronstein interview it may have been that somewhere over the past 20 years, Schwarzenegger was measured again at 6'1 3/4", as this is the peak height he now gives for himself. If he truly believed this, then it makes the rounding to 6-2 even less significant.

His loss of height is no surprise, however his admittance of it is, as it indicates a loss in his physique and shows that he is getting older. Something he has always sought to avoid. Again, this episode hints towards Schwarzenegger being honest about his height. Could the real reason for this revelation be that he has lost even more height than he admits to, or that he is significantly shorter than his previous height claims (5'10" perhaps?) and can no longer 'get away' with the 6-2 label. 6-1 is still well above average height so perhaps this is a blow that he can afford.

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