Joe Weider, Fitness Mogul and Schwarzenegger Mentor, Dies at 93

The body building icon brought the future movie star to L.A. in 1968 and helped him land his first film role.

Joe Weider, who created a fitness empire which grew to include dietary supplements, internationally known magazines, and a series of body building competitions, has died. He was 93.

Weider, who began a lifelong relationship with body building as a skinny teen during the Great Depression, died of heart failure Saturday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, The New York Times reports.

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In addition to marketing his own fitness equipment, Weider founded a number of magazines, including Muscle and Fitness, Flex, Men’s Fitness and Shape. Along with his brother, Ben, he started the International Federation of Body Builders, sponsor of the Mr. Universe and Mr. Olympia contests.

In 1968 Weider brought Arnold Schwarzenegger to Los Angeles, paying him $100 per week to write articles endorsing his products for his magazines. Schwarzenegger would go on to win multiple Universe and Olympia titles, and grace the covers of Muscle & Fitness and Flex more than 60 times.

“He advised me on my training, on my business ventures, and once, bizarrely, claimed I was a German Shakespearean actor to get me my first acting role in ‘Hercules in New York,’ even though I barely spoke English,” Schwarzenegger said in a statement. “He was there for me constantly throughout my life, and I will miss him dearly.”

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Weider was born in Montreal to Polish immigrants, and moved to the United States as a young man. He was married to his first wife, Vicky Uzar, until around 1960. Together they had one daughter, Lydia Ross. Weider married his second wife, model Betty Brosmer, in 1961.  They had no children together. In addition to the aforementioned, Weider is survived by three grandchildren, Alexandra, Rosie and Tavi.