Joe Weider, the man who launched Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Hollywood career, has died in Los Angeles at the age of 93.
Joe Weider, who was known for creating the Mr. Olympia bodybuilding contest, built a magazine empire that included publications like Muscle and Fitness, Shape and Men’s Fitness.
The bodybuilding guru died of heart failure, his publicist announced.
Arnold Schwarzenegger paid tribute to the man he called “the godfather of fitness.”
“He taught us that through hard work and training we could all be champions,” he said in a statement on his website.
“When I was a young boy in Austria, his muscle magazines provided me with the inspiration and the blueprint to push myself beyond my limits and imagine a much bigger future.”
Arnold Schwarzenegger, a former Mr. Universe and Mr. Olympia said Joe Weider had encouraged him to come to the US and helped launch his acting career, securing his first role in a TV film called Hercules Goes Bananas.
Producers had asked Joe Weider if he knew of “a muscleman who could act a little”, said Arnold Schwarzenegger, adding that Weider had told them: “I got the perfect guy, he’s done Shakespearean plays in Germany, he’s a great actor, but his English isn’t too good.”
In his statement, Arnold Schwarzenegger said Joe Weider had supported him throughout his career – with illustrious film credits including Hercules in New York, Kindergarten Cop and Dr. Dolittle II – and even when he made the move into politics.
“He was there for me constantly throughout my life… and I will miss him dearly.”
Joe Weider is survived by his wife, Betty.