Much like its eponymous antagonist, the Terminator franchise appears to be one that will never die. Since James Cameron’s original film revitalised the action genre in 1984 we have been treated to an excellent sequel, a middling threequel, and a fairly mediocre spin-off in Terminator Salvation, as well as a short-lived television series and a series of graphic novels. With this summer’s Terminator Genisys just around the corner, One Room With A View drops in on the original cast members to see what they’ve been up to for the last 30 years or so.
Linda Hamilton (Sarah Connor)
After reprising the iconic role of Sarah Connor in 1991’s Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Hamilton sat out 2003’s Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines with her character only receiving a mention, and not appearing onscreen. She returned to the franchise in a minor way a few years later with an uncredited voice role in the shaky spin-off Terminator Salvation. Outside of Terminator, Hamilton enjoyed multiple Golden Globe nominations for her leading role as Catherine in CBS’s late-’80s drama Beauty and the Beast opposite Ron Perlman. Apparently unable to stay away from her history with the Terminator franchise for long, she later married its creator James Cameron in 1997, thirteen years after the original came out – but the pair divorced in 1999. Since the turn of the century, Hamilton has quietly enjoyed some moderate success appearing in various roles for television, namely for Weeds, Chuck and more recently Syfy’s Defiance.
Michael Biehn (Kyle Reese)
Like many a name to appear in the Where Are They Now? series, Michael Biehn’s acting career seems to have peaked with the role that made him famous. He reunited with Terminator director James Cameron for Aliens, the 1986 follow-up to Alien, but perhaps because of his success with these roles he has since struggled to break free from being pigeon-holed in military/police parts (seriously, his IMDb page is full of sergeants, detectives, and sergeant-detectives) and as a result never really broke into the leading-man roles many felt his work in The Terminator could have led to. Encouraged by Grindhouse director Robert Rodriguez, he wrote, directed and starred in his own film, The Victim, in 2011, which was poorly received. He could be due a return to the blockbuster material that started his career, however, as he is rumoured to be reprising his role as Corp. James Hicks in Neill Blomkamp’s upcoming Alien project.
Paul Winfield (Lt. Ed Traxler)
Already an Oscar nominee (in 1973, for Sounder) by the time The Terminator came around, Winfield could already count his career as a successful one. Post-Terminator, he remained a prolific actor on both big and small screens, garnering over 120 credits including roles in L.A. Law, Babylon 5, the Spider-Man animated TV series and The Simpsons, as well as the documentary series City Confidential and several iterations of Star Trek. Sadly he passed away in 2004 due to a heart attack, and his stoic and trustworthy presence has been missing from our screens ever since.
Earl Boen (Dr. Peter Silberman)
After a brief but memorable turn as a psychiatrist in the first Terminator film in which he identifies Reese as a “loony”, Boen is actually the only actor besides Arnold Schwarzenegger to appear as the same character in the first three films of the franchise – his well-timed departure from the police station in the original allowing his character to survive when few others did. Boen’s IMDb page lists a staggering 252 acting credits in a huge range of films, television series and video games. Still active at 69, his once manic work rate has understandably mellowed since he retired from screen work in 2003 to pursue his voice-acting career – he now works mostly in the World of Warcraft game series as a variety of characters.
Arnold Schwarzenegger (The Terminator)
And now for the man who needs no introduction. After launching himself into pop culture history with his role as the Terminator, few people can have lived as interesting a life as Arnold Schwarzenegger. Now one of the world’s most famous faces (and bodies), Schwarzenegger’s enormously successful and varied career has encompassed body-building (three Mr. Universe awards amongst many others), family-friendly comedy (Kindergarten Cop, Twins), politics (he famously served two terms as Governor of California) and his well-received recent dramatic work in Tribeca hit Maggie indicates a possible swerve into more serious acting territory. As well as his ongoing careers in acting and generally being a great guy, he currently spends much of his time working out and encouraging others on the internet to do the same, as an active part of the Reddit Fitness community. In terms of the Terminator franchise, his famous quote “I’ll be back” appears to neatly summarise his commitment to it – he has appeared in one form or another in every Terminator film thus far (including an uncanny CG re-imagining of himself in Salvation) and is set to muscle his way onto screens once again this summer in Genisys.