With All the Other Outlaws
BY DAVID S. LEWIS
Imagine this—actually you can’t. You’re a former Mr. Universe, a movie star, a two term governor of the state of California, and you get caught in a scandal of epic proportions as word gets out that you fathered a child with the hired help right under your wife’s nose, who, by the way, was pregnant at the time and is a Kennedy. To make matters worse, as a result of your actions, your 17-year-old decides to drop your last name in favor of his mother’s—Shriver. The soap operatic dimensions are so wild they sound like dime store fiction, or Shakespeare. But this is your life.
So, what do you do, how do you escape the reporters camped outside your house in California and Idaho, the public stares everywhere you go, in that the scandal has fully erupted and dominates the 24 hour news cycle? Where do you hide—Guam, Pago Pago, Austria?
How about Livingston, Montana, that sleepy western railroad town where celebrities find respite from the glare of lights and the scrutiny of the press? Livingston’s another planet, another solar system— they’ve got fishing too, at least when the river’s down—and if you’re Arnold Schwarzenegger you have a decades old connection to the place and a good friend who lives there.
And that’s apparently what happened, because Arnold was, again, back in Livingston. We say back because the town is one of his familiar haunts from the olds days, before he became governor of California, when he was just an ordinary mega movie star and ex world champion body builder.
In the old days, the ‘90s, Arnold was known for showing up in his over-sized Hummer (perhaps having driven here from his home in Ketchum, Idaho) and chumming with fellow Austrian body builder Werner Zotter, who lived here at the time.
It was at first a strange thing in this ordinary little town to suddenly see Arnold Schwarzenegger standing outside the Safeway (now Town & Country), as a friend recently recalled. That was back then, and now that same friend, Pinky Ruggles, of Pinky’s Cafe, had Arnold turn up in his diner for breakfast in late May with a four man entourage.
Schwarzenegger was “very nice,” and the other patrons among the breakfast crowd seated at tables and at the counter barely batted an eye at his arrival, we are told, at least not so anyone would notice, but that’s the way it is in Livingston. People like the Arnold show up and have breakfast, or dinner, and it’s pretty much so what, pass the hot sauce.
As it turns out, Schwarzenegger has something in common with a lot of people here. He’s dropped out of sight, off the radar and on the lamb—sounds like a bio for every other patron at the Murray Bar. Those guys, though, had much less to loose. Terminated as governor, a resurgent and sure-to-be successful movie career was in the works for Schwarzenegger. His next film, Cry Macho, was to begin shooting this fall. He was also planning a fifth Terminator with director Justin Lin, and The Governator was in progress, an animated series and future motion picture that had already produced a trailer. These projects are now on hold, and the latter, meant for kids, suffers from an image problem in that the real governator cheated on his wife with the housekeeper, fathered her baby, and stands accused of ferrying other women around with the help of California’s Highway Patrol.
How far the mighty have fallen. Not even his politically correct alliance with Tony Blair on global warming will help now, and we say so with no glee. People are involved, it’s real life, not a joke, yet his visit is local news. Frankly, we would be remiss if we did not bring it to your attention, then direct you to more indepth stories (and if you think the matter salacious, well, you’re still reading). Feel free to delve into some excellent Montana history on page 12, or find on page 9 an inspiring story about our accom-plished young people going to perform this month at the Kennedy Center. As for Arnold, Welcome back to Livingston, with all the other outlaws. Enjoy the vista, baby, as one of the guys in the breakfast club at Pinky’s Cafe.