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Sven Ole Thorsen

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Years active  1977-2011
Height  6 ft 5 in (196 cm)

Name  Sven-Ole Thorsen
Role  Actor
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Born  24 September 1944 (age 71) (1944-09-24) Copenhagen, Denmark
Occupation  Actor, bodybuilder, stuntman, Strongman
Spouse  Anniqua Forss (m. 1982–1991)
Children  Michael Thorsen, Martin Thorsen
Movies and TV shows  Conan the Barbarian, Gladiator, Conan the Destroyer, The Running Man, Captain Power and the Soldi
Similar People  Anniqua Forss, Erland Van Lidth De Jeude, Damian Lee, Basil Poledouris, Sarah Douglas

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Sven-Ole Thorsen (born 24 September 1944) is a Danish actor, stuntman, bodybuilder and strongman competitor. Sven won Denmark's Strongest Man in 1983.


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Using his stature he often plays imposing giants and villains in his films who are somehow beaten by smaller opponents in a David and Goliath manner, but he has also played heroic characters such as Gunnar the legendary warrior in The Viking Sagas. His autobiography Stærk mand i Hollywood (Strong Man in Hollywood) was published on 26 October 2007, and was very well reviewed. The first printing of the book reportedly sold out in 24 hours.

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He is known for his frequent appearances in Arnold Schwarzenegger movies, like Conan the Barbarian, as the hammer-wielding Thorgrim; The Running Man, as the ultimately sympathetic bodyguard Sven; and in Predator, where he played a one-second role as a Russian military advisor ('Knock Knock'). Some of his other most memorable characters have varied widely, from the gritty boater wearing security guard La Fours in Mallrats, to the unbeaten fighting legend Tigris of Gaul in Gladiator, and the witty Lt. Michael 'Tank' Ellis, Ground Assault Unit in Captain Power, to the menacing alien villain Secundus in Abraxas, Guardian of the Universe, who is always hunting for the Anti-Life Equation without any success.

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Thorsen has been credited in fifteen Arnold Schwarzenegger movies (as of 2006) (twelve as actor, three as stuntman or trainer), making him Schwarzenegger's most frequent collaborator. It began with Conan the Barbarian, when Schwarzenegger brought Thorsen and other of his bodybuilder friends (like Franco Columbu) with him to shoot the movie. Later, when Thorsen moved to the United States, he met Schwarzenegger again while he was acting in the movie Commando. Thorsen helped with some of the stuntwork in that movie, and quickly found work in many of the subsequent Schwarzenegger films.

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In spite of Thorsen's thick Danish accent, his voice is almost never dubbed (an exception being Hard Target). Thorsen pursued his role as Tigris (of Gaul) in Gladiator for over a year, beating Lou Ferrigno for the part. The part won him two TAURUS World Stunt Awards in the ceremony's inaugural year.

Thorsen has founded various federations, including The Danish Bodybuilding Federation in 1979 and Cigar Night at Schatzi in Santa Monica, California along with Schwarzenegger. He has a black belt in Shotokan karate and holds championship titles.

Personal life

Sven-Ole Thorsen is 196 centimetres (6 feet, 5 inches) tall and while appearing in Conan the Barbarian (1982) he weighed 138 kilograms (304 lbs), according to his autobiography (page 24 & 110).

He has two sons, Michael and Martin, from his first marriage.

Thorsen met his second wife, the Swedish circus-artist, snake-charmer, pop-singer and athlete Anniqa (born Anniqa Järle) in the 1970s, when she married his close friend, boxing champion Hans Jørgen Jacobsen; Anniqa and Sven-Ole Thorsen were married in 1982.

On his 40th birthday, Anniqa and Sven-Ole Thorsen decided to move from Denmark to the USA, which they did in April 1985. The couple divorced in 1991.

Thorsen started dating singer/actress Grace Jones in 1990, and as of 2007 they have maintained an open relationship. According to his autobiography, all his romantic relationships, marriages included, have been open relationships since the late 1970s.

In 1995, Thorsen started dating Erica Huff, daughter of the soul-singer Leon Huff. Sven-Ole Thorsen lives in Santa Monica, California in California and had two dogs, a Jack Russell Terrier named Jake and an American Bull Terrier named Cleo ( now dead ) he won the Danish "Show of Winners" Award of the Year 2006, honouring people who have a special affiliation with dogs.

In his spare time, Thorsen creates wooden sculptures and enjoys art, which he showed in Danish magazine Euroman. He is also famously fond of cigars, another thing he shares in common with Arnold Schwarzenegger.



1 ^ Arnold Schwarzenegger also appeared in this movie.


Sven-Ole Thorsen Wikipedia