Bodybuilding Pioneer Joe Weider Dead at 93
Fitness icon brought Schwarzenegger to America
By Neal Colgrass, Newser Staff
Posted Mar 24, 2013 6:24 AM CDT
This Oct. 25, 2003 file photo shows then California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, right, raising the arm of Joe Weider, the creator of Mr. Olympia Bodybuilding competition, in Las Vegas.   (AP Photo/Eric Jamison, File)

(Newser) – Joe Weider, a bodybuilding enthusiast who built a publishing empire and brought Arnold Schwarzenegger to Hollywood, died yesterday of heart failure, the LA Times reports. He was 93. Born in Montreal, Weider pumped weights at a young age to protect himself from neighborhood bullies. He started his own bodybuilding magazine at age 17, and spent the next 30 years promoting the new fitness craze and creating contests for bodybuilders—including the Mr. Olympia competition in 1965.

In the 1970s he paid for Schwarzenegger's life in LA and helped turn him into a star—even telling movie producers he was a Shakespearean actor. "It was all bull," says Schwarzenegger. "I didn't speak much English at all." While Weider pioneered modern bodybuilding with magazines like Men's Fitness and Flex, he was criticized for a big ego and tough business style. He was known to call himself the Jesus Christ of his field. "You get a lot of atheists and devil worshipers that hate God," he once said. "Why should I be loved by everybody?"

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Showing 3 of 12 comments
SC23
Mar 24, 2013 1:33 PM CDT
Im a little older than most here.. not all.. but probably most.. I see these role models and parts of the American fabric dying and I wonder to myself.. who are the replacements.. who are the Joe Weiders, the Jack Lalane's, the Phyllis Dillers, the JFK's, MLK's and Mandellas of our times.. and all I come up with is Beiber and Lohan... RIP Joe Weider, you were part of something great..thank you.
slammer
Mar 24, 2013 9:59 AM CDT
RIP!!!!!!!!
Imhotep
Mar 24, 2013 8:46 AM CDT
He was an inspiration to young men around the world in the late 50's and early 60's who wanted to look good and feel good about themselves. He had powdered formulas you could buy to help you build muscles. NO STERIODS ! Just add raw egg and milk. Tasted terrible but to a kid it was the muscle making miracle juice. His cartoon of having sand kicked in his face by bullies was seen by millions of kids around the world while sitting in a Barber shop. He also fostered women in the body building sport. What ever his faults they were more than compensated by all the good he did for people.