When The Terminator came to town - photo shows a young Arnold Schwarzenegger's night out in Sunderland

A fascinating photo of Hollywood royalty in Sunderland has emerged.

Sunday, 26th January 2020, 8:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 28th January 2020, 1:28 pm

The black and white image shows a young Arnold Schwarzenegger enjoying a night out at the former Rococo nightclub – now Grannie Annie’s – at Roker.

The man who would go on to be the biggest movie star in the world before swapping showbiz for politics as Governor of California, visited the region when he was first starting out.

The photograph is thought to have been taken in the late 1960s when Arnie came to the North East to stay and train with Chester-le-Street bodybuilder John Citrone after the pair became friends while competing in Mr Universe in 1965.

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Arnold Schwarzenegger (right) at the Rococo nightclub in Sunderland. The man on the left wearing glasses who was an official with the IFBB (International Federation of Body Building and Fitness) and former Mr Universe John Citrone is standing. Pic: Tyne and Weird
Arnold Schwarzenegger (right) at the Rococo nightclub in Sunderland. The man on the left wearing glasses who was an official with the IFBB (International Federation of Body Building and Fitness) and former Mr Universe John Citrone is standing. Pic: Tyne and Weird

He was just beginning to make a name for himself and John remembered a few people had been taken aback to find him enjoying a drink on Sunderland seafront.

“There had been pictures of him in the papers so people couldn’t believe it was him when we turned up,” he told the Echo in 2016.

The photo has been unearthed by Sunderland documentary maker Rob Kilburn, who runs the Tyne and Weird Facebook page and YouTube channel.

“We make documentaries and we were looking to do one on John Citrone a few years ago,” he said.

John Citrone with Arnold Schwarzenegger in their competition days

“I was looking into Mr Universe – it is amazing how many Mr Universes are from the North East. There are a couple of others as well as John.”

Rob was taken aback when the new photo appeared on Facebook out of the blue around three years after he had approached people he thought might be able to help his research.

He said: “I just reached out at the time to various people at the time.”

The owner of the photo had only just installed Facebook Messenger years after Rob had sent the message and saw the request.

rnold Schwarzenegger, John Citrone and John's wife Kim when the couple were in the audience for An Evening with Arnold Schwarzenegger in Leeds in 2014

Rob is not surprised they are so few pictures of the Austrian Oak’s Wearside stay in circulation: “He was not that big then,” he said.

“He was young, he was a bodybuilder, he was not making films – he was not someone you would take a photograph with.

“It’s lucky we have that one photo of him.”