Bodybuilding and fitness icon Joe Weider
is dead at 93. He died in Los Angeles on March 23, 2013. Weider is considered the father of bodybuilding. He built a fitness publishing empire during his long career. His publishing company, Weider Health and Fitness, published titles including Muscle and Fitness, Flex, Shape
, and Men's Fitness
Weider grew up in childhood poverty. He was born in a tough neighborhood in Montreal, Canada in 1919. Weider was a small child and was easy prey for older and tougher teenagers. Weider attempted to join the Montreal YMHA wrestling team, but the coach turned him down for fear he would be injured. Undaunted, Weider made his way to a local newsstand to find inspiration.
Weider said, "I went to the local 5 and dime store and I bought two magazines for a few pennies. One was the 1930 edition of the Milo Barbell Company's magazine, Strength and it really opened my eyes."
Weider made a makeshift barbell out of equipment scavenged from an old train yard. He built up his physique and was eventually invited to try out for a local weightlifting club. He completed in his first weightlifting contest at 17 and launched his first magazine, Your Physique
, in 1940.
Weider also created the Mr. Olympia contest in 1965 and the Ms. Olympia contest in 1980.
Arnold Schwarzenegger was one of the bodybuilders mentored by Weider. Schwarzenegger says, "Today, I lost a dear friend and mentor, and the world lost one its strongest advocates of living a healthy lifestyle. Joe Weider was a titan in the fitness industry and one of the kindest men I have ever met."
Schwarzenegger's full statement on Weider's death can be found here
Weider is survived by his wife, Betty Weider.
Photo: Weider Health and Fitness/Business Wire