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Arnold Schwarzenegger is a lot of things: A bodybuilder, an actor, a producer, a politician, a businessman, an Internet legend and an all round cultural icon. One thing he may not be though, is a tall man.
Despite his reputation as one of the most physically honed human beings to ever step foot on Hollywood soil, no one actually knows how tall the man once called the Austrian Oak is – though he has tried to tell us himself:
“I’m 6ft 2in. I’ve heard rumours that I’m really much shorter in real life - like 5ft 6in or something like that - which is ridiculous. I can assure you this is not the case,” Arnie once boasted.
“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.”
Only the internet isn’t easily convinced…
The issue of Arnie’s height appears to come from a clash between his reputation as an “immense” Adonis-turned-actor, and his apparently average height – giving the action icon a distinctly “squat” appearance. (If he weren’t so ripped, would anyone notice?)
The result is countless anecdotes of Arnie being “shorter than you think” for such a screen giant, and a confusing stream of contradictory heights filling up the web.
“Why does this matter?” we hear you cry! We just love a good mystery.
Let’s have a look at the facts…
The evidence that he is tall
This photo that shows Arnie towering over 5ft 7in - 5ft 10in tall action star Sylvester Stallone…
Arnold’s “official” height is 6ft 2in (188cm), though his Celebheights.com page (one of the most visited on the entire site) lists the star as having now “shrunk” to 6ft 1in (186cm).
Former competitive bodybuilder Vince Basille testifies to having personally measured Arnie in 1969, recording his then height as 6ft 1.5in (187cm).
Arnie is known to have the “legs of a tall man” (thought to be as long as a 36in inside leg measurement). His legs were even criticized during his early bodybuilding career for looking underdeveloped – most likely due to their extra length.
In Schwarzenegger’s book “The New Encyclopedia Of Modern Bodybuilding”, he admits to having what he called “hanging shoulders” (i.e. low on his torso). The shoulders are known to act as subconscious markers when estimating height, which could result in lower estimates for Arnold.
The evidence that he is short
Another photo of Arnie with Stallone, this time showing them the same height. We’re confused…
Stats from the Austrian Oak’s body building days, which list his height as anywhere between 5ft 10in (178cm) and 6ft 2in (188cm), with no consensus.
Bob Mulholland, a political activist and former advisor to the California Democratic Party also claimed Schwarzenegger was 5ft 10in, and wore “risers” in his boots.
In 1988, articles in The Daily Mail and Time Out both suggested Schwarzenegger was significantly shorter than he appeared.
In the DVD commentary for ‘Conan: The Destroyer’, 5ft 10in actress Sarah Douglas openly discussed a scene where she appeared to be taller than Arnie, saying: “…he’s not taller than me in real life. And I’ve got high heels on so I’m amazed he allowed that to happen.”
Arnold is known to wear power-heeled shoes, which can subtly add an average of 2in to a person’s stature. Why would a tall man need these so-called “magic shoes”?
As Arnie has aged, fans have also noticed his bouffant hairstyle has become increasingly taller, potentially adding precious centimetres to his appearance.
According to US TV star Kevin Sorbo, who genuinely stands 6ft 3in (191cm) tall: “Arnold Schwarzenegger’s about five-eleven… Yeah he says he’s six-three”.
Dedicated site Arnoldheight.com claims the actor’s actual stature could be literally anywhere between 5ft 9in and 6ft 3in, illustrating the issue with what it calls a “gold dust” full length image of Arnie standing next to an object with a known height, a Humvee. See below.
Arnie comes in 6ft 3in (191cm) when standing next to the 6ft 10in (208 cm) vehicle. However the precious pic clearly shows Arnie’s oft-reported power-heeled shoes, completely ruling out 6ft 3in as a natural height. Arnoldheight.com even suggests these “boosting shoes” are likely to contain “hidden lifts”, inside.
One thing the picture does reveal though is Arnold’s surprisingly long legs though, adding more weight to the tall argument. Or are those pins actually the product of wearing some stilt-like magic shoes?
Oh, we just don’t know anymore… Arnold, if you’re reading, measure yourself and settle the debate one way or the other.