Remembering Casey Viator

/ Posted 09.06.2013


Casey Viator was a bodybuilding prodigy winning the AAU Mr. America as a teenager, the first and only person to ever do so. I first saw him at the AAU Mr. America contest in 1970 which I co-promoted with Bill Pearl in Culver City California. He was an 18 year old sensation who had won the both the AAU Teenage Mr. America and Most Muscular titles prior to his Mr. America appearance. His size and potential were mindboggling. He literally stunned the crowd and while he didn’t win that year (he was third), he was the talk of the event.We remained friends throughout his career and corresponded via email. He was a one of a kind.

Rest in Peace.

John Balik
Publisher, Iron Man Magazine

Below are some thoughts and remembrance of this great bodybuilding champion from his friends.

TRIBUTES TO CASEY VIATOR

I first met Casey Viator in 1971 when a friend and I drove down to Deland, Florida to purchase some Nautilus equipment. Arthur Jones who invented the machines invited us to his facility where Casey was training. I was privileged to witness Casey training his legs. To say he was strong was an understatement. He did 20 leg rep extensions with 250 lbs, 20 leg presses with very heavy weights (cannot remember the exact amount but it was heavy) and 20 barbell squats with 505 lbs all in a row! and then collapsed! Casey and I have not spoken in about 10 years but I was privileged to spend 5 or 6 days with him in Daytona Beach and stayed in touch until recently. He was a good friend and I will always remember the great time we had.

Jim Manion
President of the NPC

Casey had one of the most unique genetic profiles we have seen. Amazing athlete at such a young age and gone so soon, He will be greatly missed.

Robert M. Goldman MD, PhD.

CASEY VIATOR BY CHRIS LUND

I was always curiously captivated by Casey Viator, ever since I saw photos of those outrageous arms and calves, which he displayed when he sensationally won the 1971 AAU Mr America, at the tender age of 19!

Later, I was actually shocked when I read in Ironman, that genius Nautilus inventor, Arthur Jones had advised Casey not to compete in body building contests, until 1978. Seven years after his sensational Mr America victory!

For his Pro debut Casey chose the NABBA Mr Universe, which was held in London, England, every year, and everyone, including me, could not wait to set eyes on him. We all wanted to see how Casey Viator, would match up to previous Mr Universe winners, such as, Reg Park, Bill Pearl, Frank Zane, Boyer Coe, Serge Nubret, Bertil Fox and of course Arnold!
We were not disappointed, and when I saw him pumping up backstage, I simply could not believe my eyes. Walter O’Malley, one of Britain’s greatest ever bodybuilding champions was standing right behind me. Walter just couldn’t keep his thoughts to himself. “Look at those bloody calves, will you? I’ve never seen anything like it, in all my years in the game!”

After placing second to Dave Johns at this contest, Casey decided to try his luck with the IFBB, and between 1979 to 1982 he either won or placed second or third in most of the contests he entered. When he placed third behind Frank Zane and eventual winner Chris Dickerson, Casey Viator quit bodybuilding contests for good. He said, “I had, had enough of all the craziness!”

Sadly, Casey and I, made contact with each other recently, for a Flex UK and European, LOOKING BACK article, which came out only last month. (August issue) Casey was really looking forward to the article coming out, and he literally poured his heart out, giving me information I didn’t know about.

He was also really happy at this stage in his life, and had just finished his second book, ARTICLES OF MASS DESTRUCTION. He also ran a very successful international personal training business at www.caseyviator.com

Sometimes, it’s often easy to claim that certain bodybuilders were one of the best ever, however, in Casey Viator’s case, he was just that!

What can I say about the incredible Bodybuilding champion who dominated the bodybuilding world by winning the prestigious Mr. America title while still a teenager? For starters, he was kind, gentle, humble, and was never too busy to give a pointer or two to someone just starting to train. I will treasure our first meeting, along with his mentor, Arthur Jones, during one of his California visits; and I will treasure our last conversation, when only recently he reached out and said he was still training hard (of course!) in Florida and helping others achieve their own dreams. If there is any solace in losing a friend and a champion, is maybe that this gifted young man achieved in his lifetime what many never will. My heart goes out to the loved ones that Casey left behind, and the many who loved him. Casey’s legacy will live on forever.

Rachel McLish
The First Ms. Olympia

My respect for Casey Viator is based on what of his writings I have read, on what was written about him, and what those I knew to have personal relationships with him, felt about him. All of which is that he was well respected in all aspects. I admire him for that.

Jim Morris
AAU Mr.America

I had the honor to know Casey from the beginning of his bodybuilding career and share the stage with him. His natural strength and perfect genes made him a natural for bodybuilding and a formidable competitor. He could have done so much more. Rest in peace my friend,you will for ever be remember.

Anibal Lopez
AAU Mr. World

He was one the best guys and also one of the strongest champs. I do not think we ever were able to see how great he could have been as a bodybuilder.

Danny Padilla
IFBB Mr.Universe

Casey was the first well known bodybuilder that I photographed for articles in MUSCLE TRAINING ILLUSTRATED in 1979. At the time, he was dating, Susan Fry, who was helping me get women’s bodybuilding recognized. We shot the photos at, Arthur Jones’ Nautilus gym in DeLand, FL. Our paths often crossed when he appeared as a guest poser at the Florida competitions.

Doris Barrilleaux
The First Lady of Bodybuilding

Casey Viator, most likely the greatest teenage physique in US Bodybuilding history, but unfortunately the ultimate potential was never fulfilled because of demons he was neither able to overcome nor control. Rest in peace old friend.

Wayne S. DeMilia
Co-Promoter of the Night of the Champions

Casey was a fierce Night of the Champions competitor both on and off the stage.

Charles Blake
Co Promoter of the Night Of the Champions

I first heard about Casey from the magazines when he won the Mr. America title. He was the sensation of the day not only for being the youngest AAU Mr. America ever but also for his Herculean physique packed with thick, dense muscle. The accounts of his workouts at the famous Nautilus Quonset Hut were legendary. In the early 1980’s I finally met Casey at Gold’s Gym Venice. Spotted him occasionally, talked to him and witnessed his workouts often. Casey’s gym sessions were true to the stories. He manhandled massive weights like they were child’s play. He also loved to relax and enjoy life when his workouts were over. What always struck me about Casey is that he always took time to say hello, shake your hand and took a genuine interest in your answer. He was truly a legends and one if my first inspirations in bodybuilding. He is sorely missed.

David Young
Iron Man Magazine Author

Casey Viator was an inspiration to me. I’ve always been in awe of what Casey was able to accomplish through a combination of hard work and God-given genetics, becoming the youngest Mr. America ever at the age of 19. That is a record that may never be broken.

Lee Labrada
IFBB Mr. Universe

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