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Art Zeller Award Goes To Gene Mozee

2001 Winner of the Art Zeller Award for Artistic Achievement

Gene Moz'e was presented the '01 Art Zeller Award for Artistic Achievement at the IRONMAN Pro Invitational in February, but it's not the first award he's won. Gene began bodybuilding in 1951 at the age of 16 and a bodyweight of 129 pounds. After meeting Ed Fury at the '51 Mr. Los Angeles, he began training at Fury's elaborate garage gym and soon entered his first contest. As a competitive bodybuilder he won several best-poser awards, and at a bodyweight of 222 his arm was measured at 20 3/8 inches. He was also a powerlifting champion, winning 30 meets in the 181-pound class. In 1959 at a bodyweight in the 190s he became the first person to officially bench-press 400 pounds with a two-second pause and using a grip no wider than 32 inches.

Gene was a gym owner as well. In 1957 he bought the Pasadena Gym from John Farbotnik and owned it until 1964. During that time he helped train 12 bodybuilding-title winners and hundreds of athletes, including David 'Deacon' Jones of the Los Angeles Rams.

As for his journalism career, it started when he was the editor of his college newspaper. That experience enabled him to become the editor of Physical Power magazine, which was published by Walt Marcyan, in 1959. To further his abilities and so he could illustrate his stories on great athletes, Gene studied photography at Glendale College and Los Angeles Trade Technical College. He learned muscle photography from Russ Warner and Wolfgang Schramm and was honored as the barbell world's first true photojournalist by the great John Grimek. He was also famous for his glamour photography, which he learned from Peter Gowland. In the '60s he worked in the photography departments at Paramount, MGM and Warner Bros. movie studios.

From 1973 to 1976 Gene was the editor in chief of Joe Weider's Muscle Builder magazine. That was during the heyday of Arnold Schwarzenegger's bodybuilding career. Gene was the first muscle photographer to show bodybuilders using their actual training poundages in exercise photos, as previously the subjects had always posed with light weights to highlight their physiques. He called them action shots.

Gene's credentials as a photojournalist include more than 2,000 published magazine articles, many illustrated by his photographs; more than 100 cover photographs; and 3,000 published photos. He has written 22 training booklets for superstars such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Larry Scott and Franco Columbu as well as four booklets of his own. He also helped launch the careers of Mike Mentzer, Robby Robinson, Denny Gable, Roger Callard, Bob Birdsong, Dale Adrian and Dave DuPre.

On July 4, 2001, Gene received the highly coveted Spirit of Muscle Beach award, joining such legendary winners as Steve Reeves, Vince Gironda, Joe Gold, Armand Tanny, Larry Scott, Dave Draper, George Eiferman and Reg Lewis.

Gene is currently the official photographer of Venice Muscle Beach and is working on a book about the history of bodybuilding. He's been a staff photographer and senior writer for IRONMAN magazine for 12 years. He's truly a deserving winner of the Art Zeller Award for Artistic Achievement. IM

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