Arnold Schwarzenegger shares his thoughts on fellow action star Bruce Willis, who retired from Hollywood after being diagnosed with aphasia last year. In February, Willis’ family revealed that the die hard the star’s condition had worsened and he was confirmed to have frontotemporal dementia (FTD).
In an interview with CinemaBlendSchwarzenegger addressed Willis’ legacy.
“I think he’s fantastic,” said terminator star and former governor of California, 75, said of Willis. “He was always, for years and years, a huge, huge star. And I think he will always be remembered as a big, big star. And a nice man.”
He continued, “I understand that under his circumstances, health-wise, he had to retire. But usually, you know, we never really retire. Action heroes, they reload.”
Although the duo became friends, their relationship was once a competition. According to an excerpt published in Weekly entertainment Since The Last Action Heroes by Nick de Semlyen, Schwarzenegger reportedly ‘burst out laughing at a screening’ of the iconic 1988 film die hard, which starred Willis as a New York City cop trying to save his wife and a skyscraper full of his colleagues from terrorists led by Alan Rickman. In fact, Schwarzenegger once told Willis that he would never make it in the competitive genre.
According to the book, Schwarzenegger once loudly berated Willis through a crowded restaurant, shouting, “Do you know why you’ll never be an action star?” When Willis replied, “No, Arnold, why?” Schwarzenegger flexed and pointed his biceps while saying “toothpick arms,” noting the significant size difference between the two.
Willis and Schwarzenegger eventually became friends and even business partners. Along with fellow action star Sylvester Stallone, they launched the popular Planet Hollywood restaurant chain in 1991, which went on to have more than 20 locations around the world.
Last year, Stallone reacted to Wills’ aphasia diagnosis.
“Bruce is going through some really, really tough times,” Stallone said of his Consumables co-star in an interview with the Hollywood journalist in 2022. “So he was sort of incommunicado. It kills me. It’s so sad.”
Stallone also sent his best wishes to Willis in an Instagram post. “We come from afar, praying for the best for you and your wonderful family,” he wrote.