It used to be everybody’s dream to start a new life in the U.S. – The American Dream. We all know very famous people, who really took their career to the next level after immigrating to America. Some of them really made a dent in history and in their field of expertise. In this series I would like to shed some light on some of these famous expats who came to America for new opportunities, safety and new challenges. A quick snapshot of their story will hopefully inspire you to go after your dreams as well.
He’s probably the poster child of successful expats of our generation. The Austrian born Arnold Schwarzenegger realized his dream by moving to the United States in September 1968 at the age of 21, speaking little English. He had already gained some recognition in Europe by winning the Mr. Universe title and several other bodybuilding contests, but his career really took off after he decided to move to the U.S.
In Venice Beach, California, he trained under Joe Weider, the creator of the Mr. Olympia contest – one of the biggest bodybuilding events in the industry. Schwarzenegger won his first Mr. Olympia title in 1970 and kept winning in the years to come for a total of 7 Mr. Olympia titles.
His acting career started in the 70′s and took off in the 80′s with action movies like Conan the Barbarian and Terminator. Schwarzenegger starred in over 30 Hollywood movies to date.
In 2003, Schwarzenegger became the second foreign-born Governor of California, after Irish born Governor John G. Downey in 1862, and held this public office for 3 years. He got re-elected in 2006. He’s been a Republican ever since he moved to the U.S. in 1968, inspired by a speech of Richard Nixon. In 2011 his time as governor ended and he returned to his acting career.
Besides bodybuilding, acting and his political career, Arnold Schwarzenegger has been investing in several businesses, restaurants and is the owner of the Arnold Sports Festival, which became one of the biggest fitness events, growing bigger every year.
Born in Germany in 1879, Albert Einstein studied in Germany and Switzerland until he became recognized as a leading scientist. His career took him back to Germany in 1914 after being appointed director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physics. Seven years later Einstein was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his explanation of the photoelectric effect, in a time when relativity was still considered somewhat controversial
In February 1933 while on a visit to the United States, Albert Einstein decided not to return to Germany due to the rise to power of the Nazis under Germany’s new chancellor, Adolf Hitler. After some back and forth between Germany and the U.S., Einstein took up a position at the Institute for Advanced Study (in Princeton, New Jersey).
In 1940 Einstein became a U.S. citizen.
Aware of the potential development of extremely powerful bombs in other countries, he alerted president Roosevelt in a letter about this danger and suggested that the U.S. start doing similar research. Shortly after the Manhatten Project was founded, which Einstein was never a part of. The Project resulted in the first atomic bomb.
Einstein denounced the idea of using the newly discovered nuclear fission as a weapon and collaborated with Betrand Russell on the Russell-Einstein-Manifesto, which highlighted the danger of nuclear weapons.
Nikola Tesla was born in 1856 in a village that today belongs to Croatia. After multiple near death experience with cholera in 1873, he got his education and experience in telephony and electrical engineering in Austria, the former Czechoslovakia and Hungary. In France he eventually began working for the Continental Edison Company in 1882, designing and making improvements to electrical equipment.
In June 1884, Tesla relocated to New York City. During his trip across the Atlantic, his ticket, money, and some of his luggage were stolen, and he was nearly thrown overboard after a mutiny broke out on the ship. He arrived with only four cents in his pocket, a letter of recommendation, a few poems, and the remainder of his belongings.
Later, Tesla was hired by the person he looked up to, Thomas Edison, to work for Edison Machine Works. In 1886, Tesla formed his own company, Tesla Electric Light & Manufacturing.
During his time in America, Tesla’s achievements and his abilities as a showman demonstrating his seemingly miraculous inventions made him world-famous.
His legacy endures in media publications, awards and a car company (Tesla Motors) named after him as well as museums, airports and even planets.
English born Charlie Chaplin began performing at an early age and mainly worked as a stage actor and comedian. At age 19 he was signed by the prestigious Fred Karno company. Under their wing Chaplin came to America in 1910. He was roommate with Stan Laurel (Laurel and Hardy) in New York, who was also a British expat and worked for Fred Karno back then.
Soon after his arrival Chaplin got scouted from the film industry and he developed the screen persona “The Tramp”, which grew a large fan base. By 1918, he was one of the best known figures in the world.
Chaplin continued to make movies and distributed them through his own company United Artists, but he refused to switch to sound films, which started to get popular in the 1930′s.
The 1940′s were marked with controversy for Chaplin and his popularity decreased rapidly. He decided to leave the United States and settled in Switzerland because of that.
In 1972 he received an Honorary Academy Award for the influence he had in making motion pictures in this century.
Thanks to Wikipedia I found a lot of good info about these personalities and you should check out their profile pages, if you are interested in learning more.