Arnold Schwarzenegger has revealed his Leeds United connection as he heads to Elland Road tonight.
The most famous bodybuilder in the world famously uttered the words “I’ll be back” in seminal film The Terminator.
And today, he IS back - headlining a glittering dinner event - and he reveals a Loiner was the blueprint for everything he achieved.
That man was former Leeds United reserve player Reg Park, who went on to be crowned Mr Universe and starred in Herclues movies.
Arnold, aged 67, said it will be a very emotional time for him when he returns to Reg’s home city for his first UK speaking engagement. He is the ultimate black-tie dinner guest, with host Jonathan Ross, at The Centenary Pavilion, Elland Road, tonight
The following night the Arnie and Ross show moves south for his London hotel speaking debut in front of a theatre-style audience at Westbourne Suite, Lancaster Terrace,
In a rare and exclusive interview ahead of his Leeds visit, he said: “I saw Reg Park on the cover of a magazine, in one of the sporting goods stores in Graz, in Austria.
“He was a great inspiration for me. But also as a 15 year old kid it was like the blueprint for my entire life
“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 kind of felt like I could do it too.
“Reg Park was like the most important motivator for me.
“I have been to Leeds before to visit his parents when they were alive and when Reg was alive.
“He’s passed away since, too. I wanted to get to know especially his mother, who was a very strong influence on him.
“England itself is a very important place because that’s where I won my first Mr Universe competition and this is where my career began so to speak.
“It’s where I learned to speak English.
“That’s where I was invited over again to come over to do guest appearances, guest posing. strongman acts, lifting weights and all that stuff and judging competitions over there, I won Mr Universe contests in London.”
Arnold, or Arnie to his fans, made his name as the The Terminator, an unstoppable killing machine with a nasty reputation for destroying everything in its path.
But now film fans are queuing to pay big money for the privilege to come face to face with the robot from 1984 – or rather the real life Hollywood legend with the most famous line in movie history.
Next year, Arnold reprises his signature role in Terminator: Genisys, the first of three films to reboot the franchise, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary.
But this weekend he’s back in the UK for two special events, in Leeds and London, to remind fans this is where it all began.
The former multi-winning Mr Universe started out entering bodybuilding competitions in working men’s clubs like the 1968 Mr Adonis of England and Junior Mr Doncaster at Harworth and Bircotes Miners’ Welfare Club.
His @Schwarzenegger Twitter page proudly proclaims what he went on to do - former Mr Olympia, Conan, Terminator, and Governor of California.
The world’s biggest movie star, greatest ever bodybuilder and the man you still wouldn’t bet against, is resigned to the fact that he can’t become President, because the Constitution will not allow anyone born outside the USA to stand.
But film fans are delighted he is about to reprise his signature role.
They missed him while he played his self-proclaimed role of The Governator, the real life Governor of California, in charge of the eighth biggest economy in the world.
He is sworn to secrecy about the plot, which is rumoured to involve some time-travelling interaction with the first two films, and will see his ageing skin-covered robot model come face to face with the original, using state-of-the-art CGI film techniques.
Arnold says: “I can’t tell you that much about it, other than it will come out at the beginning of July and it has all kinds of interesting stars in it.
“It is a great story but I cannot give the story away. The twist and all that stuff.
“But I was very happy that I was asked to play again a Terminator and to play the T-800 model. It’s a great, great story with a twist.”
He adds of the original: “Terminator was so well written and the way Jim Cameron, the director, wanted to film the character was really brilliant. So I got inspired by that, being able to do those extraordinary violent things in a movie but not really get blamed for it because I was actually not a human being. I was playing a machine.
“It was written as a villain.
“It became a kind of heroic character, because it was a machine that did all those things and people just really thought that was cool. It was cutting edge the way it was done.”
“Cameron is a great, brilliant film maker,” he adds. “I cannot take credit for all that. I always shine on the screen when a director was good. And Jim Cameron is just the best director around.”
Asked what his favourite Arnie movie lines are, he booms: “I think, ‘I’ll be back’ or ‘hasta la vista, baby’...those are the strongest, the ones that have been the most used lines and most popular lines in movie history.”
And he jokes: “I’m also happy that I’m in the category of having killed the most people on screen of any other actor in the history of movie making.”