LOS ANGELES – The Terminator always said he’d be back.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is sifting through a stack of corporate, Hollywood and real estate offers as the celebrity politician nears an inevitable career crossroad: On Monday, he’s out of a job.
His next act? After seven years in Sacramento, the former strongman and film star will by his own account hit the speech circuit, keep a hand in political activism and possibly write the autobiography that publishers have wanted him to do for years.
Schwarzenegger says he even might get back into acting if the right script comes along – presumably one appropriate for a 63-year-old father of four with political baggage, advancing age lines and a tinge of gray.
“Will I still have the patience to sit on the set and to do a movie for three months or for six months, all of those things? I don’t know,” the governor tweeted in October.
Spokesman Aaron McLear says Schwarzenegger is sorting out “an absolute flood of every conceivable offer” from the corporate world, real estate ventures and the entertainment industry.
“I don’t have a plan,” Schwarzenegger told hundreds of supporters and staffers at a farewell party in Sacramento last month.
He was less guarded in October when, along with plans for speeches and a book or two, he hinted broadly at a continuing role with the environment and political reform, issues that have become part of his mixed legacy at the statehouse.
In the absence of a global climate-change treaty, Schwarzenegger has urged state and regional governments around the world to address greenhouse gases. Last month California regulators approved the nation’s most extensive system giving major polluters financial incentives to discharge fewer greenhouse gases, a key piece of a 2006 climate law backed by the governor.
One thing is certain: The multimillionaire Schwarzenegger will start earning money, after passing up his $174,000 salary throughout his two terms. His time in office left the governor with plenty of political welts, but the biggest hit was on his own wallet.
State records show Schwarzenegger dumped at least $25 million in direct and indirect payments into two campaigns for governor and other political ventures since 2001 – no small sum even for an actor who once commanded $30 million a movie.
That doesn’t include travel costs. He often commuted from Los Angeles to Sacramento several times a week in a private jet at his own expense. He, wife Maria Shriver and his children never moved to Sacramento, preferring their secluded canyon estate a few miles from the Pacific Ocean.
His Hollywood future will be the subject of endless speculation. Hollywood insiders say he could take a role as producer or director, but don’t look for him to reappear as a hulking screen hero swinging an automatic weapon.
“He’s a wealthy and clever man. Wealthy and clever men have lots of possibilities,” said longtime Hollywood publicist Michael Levine.