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Happy Birthday, Arnold


Arnold’s birthday always reminds me of his parties in the late ’70s and early ’80s and the cast of characters he would assemble. There would be the usual suspects from the gym—me included. Even then, however, the group also included actors, filmmakers, writers and artists—a guest list representing the various parts of his life. Incidentally, Arnold’s interest in art and artists was nurtured early on by Joe Weider, a lifelong collector who was very happy that Arnold was such an apt pupil.

At each step along his way Arnold attracted the best and brightest of the time. Literary connections opened on his collaboration with Charles Gaines and George Butler on the book Pumping Iron, which became the historic movie. “Stay Hungry” exposed Arnold to such talents as the legendary director Bob Rafelson (“Five Easy Pieces”), a young Jeff Bridges and, of course, Sally Field. Later John Milius (“Conan”) and James Cameron (“Terminator”) joined the group. In a way they all had a part of their start toward greatness in conjunction with Arnold’s own rise. Arnold’s collaborations with Milius and Cameron led to blockbuster success for all involved.

Arnold’s parties were always very casual affairs with plenty of ice cream—even before the cake. About two blocks from Arnold’s house was a wonderful ice cream shop—Clancy Muldoon’s. One year the “task” of picking out the flavors and buying the ice cream fell to me. Because I wanted the best for Arnold and his guests, I, of course, had to taste many of the flavors. Arnold and I both love ice cream, but my observation has been that he’s better at moderating his love than I am: He knew he’d picked the right person for the job.

Bodybuilding was always a part of Arnold’s life but never his entire life. He could compartmentalize—he was in control and comfortable—and could always move from segment to segment seamlessly while being totally in the moment with any group. His parties were like that too—a relatively small, diverse group of, say, 20 people held together by his interests.

Fast-forward to now, and I am again in charge of the “ice cream”—this time in the form of iconic photographs by Gene Mozée, himself one of the seminal characters in California bodybuilding. Gene is a bodybuilding “renaissance man,” from gym owner in the ’50s to protégé of legendary photographer Russ Warner to prolific writer, covering all aspects of the weight sports. Gene’s contributions to bodybuilding are second to none. To enjoy his classic photos of Arnold, the “ ice cream” of this birthday celebration CLICK HERE. Enjoy! IM

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