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Arnold Schwarzenegger honors 'fantastic' Bruce Willis' legacy: 'Action heroes, they reload'

The 75-year-old 'Terminator' star lauded Willis' illustrious career after his family announced in 2022 that the actor would be retiring due to a speaking disorder called aphasia.

Arnold Schwarzenegger honors 'fantastic' Bruce Willis' legacy: 'Action heroes, they reload'
Cover Image Source: (L) Arnold Schwarzenegger speaks on September 07, 2021 in Cologne, Germany. (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images) (R) Actor Bruce Willis at TCL Chinese Theatre on August 19, 2014. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Arnold Schwarzenegger has high praise for fellow actor and long-time friend Bruce Willis, who announced his Hollywood retirement due to a speaking disorder called aphasia. Willis' family announced the news in 2022 and later revealed that he has since been diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia. During a chat with CinemaBlend, Schwarzenegger, 75, lauded Bruce, 68, and appreciated his work as an actor.

“I think that he’s fantastic,” the 75-year-old said of Willis. “He was, always for years and years, a huge, huge star. And I think that he will always be remembered as a great, great star. And a kind man.”

Image Source:  California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (L) and actor Bruce Willis speak onstage during the 14th annual Hollywood Awards Gala at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on October 25, 2010 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Hollywood Awards)
Image Source: California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (L) and actor Bruce Willis on October 25, 2010, in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Hollywood Awards)

Schwarzenegger noted that he understands and respects Willis' decision to retire "under his circumstances, health-wise." The "Terminator" actor shared a final note for the movie star, with whom he shared the screen within "The Expendables" franchise and co-founded the Planet Hollywood restaurant franchise alongside Sylvester Stallone. "In general, you know, we never retire. Action heroes, they reload," he said.

According to Entertainment Weekly, Schwarzenegger has always been an admirer of Willis. In the new book, "The Last Action Heroes: The Triumphs, Flops, and Feuds of Hollywood's Kings of Carnage," author Nick de Semlyen recounts how the Austrian actor "guffawed through a screening of the movie at Fox, not least at the moment when McClane exclaims, 'They have missiles, automatic weapons and enough plastic explosives to orbit Arnold Schwarzenegger!'"

Willis' daughter, Rumer, 34, announced via Instagram in 2022 that her father had been diagnosed with aphasia, which affects language abilities, and was "stepping away" from his career. "We wanted to share that our beloved Bruce has been experiencing some health issues and has recently been diagnosed with aphasia, which is impacting his cognitive abilities," she wrote. "As a result of this and with much consideration, Bruce is stepping away from the career that has meant so much to him." This year, on March 19, Willis' wife Emma celebrated the actor's 68th birthday with a tearful message on Instagram.


According to the Independent, Emma said, “Sometimes in our lives, we have to put our big girl panties on and get to it. And that’s what I’m doing. But I do have times of sadness, every day, grief every day, and I’m feeling it today on his birthday.”

“As much as I do it for myself I do it for you because I know how much you love my husband,” she said before telling herself, “Don’t cry, Emma.” The actress also shared an Instagram reel captioned, “My birthday wish for Bruce is that you continue to keep him in your prayers and highest vibrations because his sensitive Pisces soul will feel it. Thank you so much for loving and caring for him too.”


In a joint statement shared with the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration on February 16, 2023, Willis' family revealed that his condition has progressed. “We now have a more specific diagnosis: frontotemporal dementia (known as FTD),” they wrote. “Unfortunately, challenges with communication are just one symptom of the disease Bruce faces. While this is painful, it is a relief to finally have a clear diagnosis.” 

Calling it a “cruel disease”, they shared that “FTD is the most common form of dementia, and because getting the diagnosis can take years, it is likely much more prevalent than we know.” They added, “Today, there are no treatments for the disease, a reality that we hope can change in the years ahead. As Bruce’s condition advances, we hope that any media attention can be focused on shining a light on this disease that needs far more awareness and research."

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