Arnold Schwarzenegger pays touching tribute to ‘idol’ who made him realise ‘acting dreams were possible’

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  • Arnold Schwarzenegger
    Arnold Schwarzenegger
    Actor
  • Dave Draper
    American bodybuilder, actor, and author

Arnold Schwarzenegger has expressed heartbreak following the death of the “idol” who inspired his career.

The Terminator star, who was a bodybuilder before he became an actor, paid tribute to Dave Draper, a revered figure in the world of fitness.

After learning of Draper’s death, Schwarzenegger wrote on his social media pages: “In Austria, I kept his cover of Muscle Builder magazine on the wall above my bed for motivation, and when I saw him starring in Don’t Make Waves, I thought, ‘My dreams are possible.’”

The pair became training partners when Schwarzenegger moved to America, whereupon the actor said he swiftly discovered Draper’s “heart was as big as his pecs”.

“He couldn’t have been more welcoming, and he was a fantastic training partner who always pushed everyone around him in the gym to be better,” he wrote.

Draper appeared in 1967 film Don’t Make Waves alongside Tony Curtis, Claudia Cardinale and Sharon Tate. It was this that inspired Schwarzenegger to pursue an acting career and, after winning Mr Universe aged 20, he became one of the most bankable film stars in the 1980s and 1990s, starring in films including The Terminator, Predator and True Lies.

Over the years, Draper, who was nicknamed “the Blond Bomber”, also won numerous contests, including Mr New Jersey, Mr America, Mr Universe and Mr World.

Arnold Schwarzenegger pays tribute to ‘idol’ David Draper (Twitter @Schwarznegger)
Arnold Schwarzenegger pays tribute to ‘idol’ David Draper (Twitter @Schwarznegger)

Draper’s wife, Laree, announced his death on Tuesday (30 November), writing on Facebook: Hi, friends, as the word’s getting out, I wanted to let you know so there’s no confusion. Dave died early this morning. I was with him and it was calm and peaceful. It, as his doctor told me a little while ago, was a good death.”

The cause of death is yet to be revealed.

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