LOS ANGELES, March 23 (UPI) — Joe Weider, who turned fitness into a multimillion dollar business and mentored Arnold Schwarzenegger, has died in Los Angeles, a publicist said. He was 93.
Weider died Saturday of heart failure, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Weider, a native of Montreal, built a publishing company that produced such fitness magazines as Muscle and Fitness, Flex, Shape, and Men’s Fitness magazines. He created a bodybuilding competition, Mr. Olympia, in 1965 and met Schwarzenegger two years later at a bodybuilding event in Europe.
Weider invited Schwarzenegger to come to Southern California and financed his early development, eventually helping Schwarzenegger land a part in the TV movie “Hercules Goes Bananas.”
Schwarzenegger — who went on to become an international box-office superstar and then was elected governor of California — told the Times in 1989 Weider built him up for producers, even going as far as telling them the muscular actor with limited English skills had played Shakespearean plays in Germany.
“It was all bull,” Schwarzenegger said. “We went to meet these guys and Joe said, ‘Don’t say anything. I’ll do the talking.'”
In a statement, Schwarzenegger called Weider one of the world’s “strongest advocates of living a healthy lifestyle” and “a titan in the fitness industry.”
“I knew about Joe Weider long before I met him,” Schwarzenegger said, “he was the godfather of fitness who told all of us to ‘Be Somebody with a Body.’ He taught us that through hard work and training we could all be champions.
“He leaves behind a fantastic legacy of a fitter world,” Schwarzenegger said.
Weider is survived by his wife, Betty Weider.
Copyright 2013 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).