What is in this article?:
- Joe Weider, Bodybuilding and Fitness Industry Pioneer, Dies at 93
- Arnold and Joe
Joe Weider, the bodybuilding and fitness industry publishing pioneer who mentored a young Arnold Schwarzenegger to superstardom, died Saturday at the age of 93.
Two days after the death of Joe Weider, the bodybuilding and fitness industry publishing pioneer who mentored a young Arnold Schwarzenegger to superstardom, his office continued to field responses from all walks of life, his publicist says.
Weider died of heart failure Saturday in a Los Angeles hospital at the age of 93. Charlotte Parker, his longtime publicist, tells Club Industry that she has heard from well-known people as well as people who simply enjoyed reading his famous magazines.
"Responses have been pouring in from everyone," Parker tells Club Industry. "We've gotten hundreds of responses from people saying things like, 'He changed my life. He was an amazing person.' It has been amazing."
Weider's publishing empire included Muscle and Fitness, Flex, Shape and Men's Fitness magazines. In addition to publishing and creating bodybuilding events, Weider popularized the use of fitness equipment in people's homes and was a leader in establishing the use of nutritional supplements.
Strength magazines opened Weider's eyes to the world of bodybuilding as a young boy growing up in Montreal, Canada. Weider, the son of Jewish immigrants from Poland, was born in 1919 and spent his formative years in the Great Depression. An undersized kid, Weider was roughed up by teenagers in his tough Montreal neighborhood.
Inspired by the message and images in those magazines, Weider went to a local rail yard and produced a makeshift barbell from an old axle and two flywheels. After religiously working out, his body, and his reputation, quickly began to spread throughout Montreal.
"Then somebody knocked at my parents' door and asked for me," Weider recalled. "He said, 'I represent the Verdun weightlifting club. Would you like to come try out for our team?' When I saw the gym, saw the guys working out, supporting one another, I was mesmerized. That experience changed my life."
At the age of 20, with a seventh-grade education and only $7 to his name, Weider began to work on the first issue of Your Physique, which was published in 1940. Orders poured in immediately, and within 18 months, Weider had turned a $10,000 profit. He soon started the Weider Barbell Co., a mail order business, using his magazine to advertise its wares.
In 1946, Weider and his younger brother, Ben, rented Montreal's Monument National Theater to host the first Mr. Canada contest. They formed the International Federation of Bodybuilders that night. In 1965, Weider created the Mr. Olympia contest—the premier event in bodybuilding—and added the Ms. Olympia, Fitness Olympia and Figure Olympia contests in later years.