HomeEntertainmentArnold Schwarzenegger Pens Touching Tribute After ‘Pumping Iron’ Director George Butler Dies at 78

Arnold Schwarzenegger Pens Touching Tribute After ‘Pumping Iron’ Director George Butler Dies at 78

by Quentin Blount
Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

The filmmaking world lost a legend back on October 21 when George Butler died of pneumonia at 78 years old. Arnold Schwarzenegger posted a beautiful tribute to him shortly thereafter.

By now, just about everyone knows who Arnold Schwarzenegger is. He’s a 74-year-old Austrian-American actor, former bodybuilder, producer, businessman, and former politician. You may recall that he served as the 38th governor of California from 2003 to 2011.

After retiring from bodybuild, Schwarzenegger would go on to gain worldwide fame, starring in a number of successful films. But he got his humble start in acting back in the 1977 bodybuilding documentary Pumping Iron. It was directed by the late George Butler.

A day after Butler passed, Schwarzenegger issued a statement on his official Twitter page.

“When I think about all of the people who were responsible for the growth of bodybuilding and the sport’s crossover to the mainstream, two of the first people to come to mind are, without any doubt, George Butler and Charles Gaines,” Schwarzenegger said.

Schwarzenegger gave credit to Butler’s documentary for helping turn him into such a success in Hollywood. Not only that, but he also praised the late director’s skills as a photographer and the passion he had for the sport of bodybuilding.

Pumping Iron, the book and the movie, drew the general public into our strange little niche sport and brought fitness — and this Austrian with an unpronounceable name and a funny accent to the masses. I was saddened to hear the news of George’s passing. He was such a talent, he had a fantastic eye, and he was a force for the sport of bodybuilding and the fitness crusade. My thoughts are with his family.”

“Rest in peace to my friend George Butler. Read my full statement below.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger Fans Remember George Butler

As you can probably imagine, fans of Arnold Schwarzenegger have been just as upset by the news of George Butler’s passing. After all, many of us have watched Schwarzenegger’s meteoric rise to fame and Butler was a huge part of that.

“This is very sad news, Arnold,” one fan replied. “My thoughts are with all of his friends and family,” one person commented. “A giant to the world of bodybuilding without even having to compete on the stage. Rest In Peace Goerge.”

“Such sad news… a pioneering, determined filmmaker who literally put it all on the line to make Pumping Iron,” a fellow Twitter user said. “I hope he knew how respected and loved he was for giving us such an amazing snapshot of your lives. And Mike Katz is still looking for his tshirt 😁”

“Butler was the often unsung, driving visionary behind the movie, its financing and exposure at museums, ballet then the resulting fitness wave it helped drive across the country to this day,” a third person wrote.” Pumping Iron can’t happen this way without him.”