Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times
Hit: Winning the 2003 California recall election
After a Republican-backed movement succeeded in holding a vote to recall Democratic Gov. Gray Davis, 135 eager candidates filed papers to run for California's highest office. Schwarzenegger used an appearance on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" to declare his run and quickly surpassed experienced Sacramento pols, celebs such as Gary Coleman and porn star Mary Carey. On October 7, 2003, Schwarzenegger won the election to become California's 38th governor.