Tuesday, 26 March 2013


In honour of Joe Weider's obit running in the Guardian, I went back and found my obit of his younger brother Ben, which I wrote for the G in December 2008, just around the time I started this blog, but which for some reason I never included here. You can link to it here

I love the contrast between the brothers. I mentioned in Joe's obit that, where Ben became a scholar of Napoleon, you might accuse Joe of harbouring a not-very-well concealed Napoleonic complex, the complex little man making himself big (in every sense of that word) with drive and ego to match.

They seem a perfectly matched pair: Ben staying in Montreal, becoming a philantropist, marrying a local girl and building the structure of their fitness empire, while Joe moved to California, married a pin-up, crashed Hollywood via Arnold, and constantly sold himself and his lifestyle alongside equipment, dietary supplements, and sage advice.

Both brothers were long-lived, but I wonder if they were the kind of men who would have been regardless of what avenues they'd pursued. I'm almost tempted to read Brothers Of Iron, except I suspect it contains a lot of, shall we say, mythologising--and any book with forewards by both Arnold and Juan A Samaranch can't be all good.

It's a fascinating story, and it makes me want to go back to Montreal and live near Park LaFontaine. The neighbourhood has changed, and I suppose it's too late for that now.

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