Movie legend Arnold Schwarzenegger was regular visitor to Doncaster in 60s

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines

Harworth la vista, baby! It might seem as outrageous as one of the film plots he is best known for, but Hollywood all-action hero Arnold Schwarzenegger was once a regular visitor to the Doncaster area mining village.

And true to his legendary “I’ll be back” line in the classic Terminator movies, the acting legend turned former Governor of California will be on Yorkshire soil once more tomorrow.

Although he won’t be in Doncaster, where he regularly took part in bodybuilding competitions before finding fame as a Hollywood A-lister, he will be a stone’s throw away in Leeds for a speaking engagement ahead of a return to the Terminator franchise next summer.

The former multi-winning Mr Universe started out competiting in working men’s clubs like the 1968 Mr Adonis of England and Junior Mr Doncaster at Harworth and Bircotes Miners’ Welfare Club.

But the world’s biggest movie star has revealed it was Yorkshireman Reg Park, a former Leeds United reserve player, who was the blueprint for everything he achieved.

Arnie, 67, said: “I saw Reg on the cover of a magazine in one of the sporting goods stores in Austria. He was a great inspiration for me. It was all laid out what I had to do to become a champion and then what I had to do to get in the movies, just like him. I felt I could do it too.

“England is an important place because that’s where I won my first Mr Universe competition and where my career began. It’s where I learned to speak English. That’s where I was invited over to do guest appearances, strongman acts and lifting weights.”

During Arnie’s time in Harworth, he stayed with Terry Holian, famed for having his own gymnaisum in Wood Street, Doncaster town centre.

In an interview several years ago, Terry said: “He used to come and stay with me at my house on Grange View. He used to say one day he would be president of the USA and we just laughed.

“He looked just like the Terminator even then and he would come up to do a demonstration. I never thought he would get where he is now, although he was a very mature young man. People were really surprised when they saw him in the village – he had a size 60 chest and that wasn’t very common in the 1960s.

“After the competition he would go the miners’ welfare with the other bodybuilders. He would have an orange juice. He was a great bloke.”