It was a sad Thanksgiving for those of us who knew Reg Park. Owner of one of the greatest physiques the industry has ever known, and one of the classiest men to ever don posing trunks, Park succumbed to the melanoma that had revaged his body in recent times at the age of 79. He was surrounded by family and friends at his South Africa home.
I sat at the same table as Reg and his wife Mareon at the Arnold Classic banquet in March. I didn’t know Reg was sick at the time but he did appear more subdued than usual. As we chatted, I thought of the time two decades back when John Balik called me and said “Reg Park is coming into town this week. Would you like to do an interview with him?” I responded quickly, “Think I’d like to find a cure for male pattern baldness?”
John was with us as I conducted the interview, tape recorder in hand. I’m not sure I did a very good job on that one; I was too much in awe of my subject. My, what a powerful, yet humble figure this man was! I understood within five minutes of our meeting why Arnold Schwarzenegger’s hero was Reg Park.
I felt honored to announce his name, and bring him to the podium, when Jim Lorimer and Arnold named Reg as the winner of their “Lifetime Achievement Award” at Vets Memorial Auditorium a few years back.
It’s vintage Reg Park on his website (www.regpark.net), writing a short note to all those who had sent their best wishes upon hearing of his serious illness. I added my name to the guest book this morning.
I know his son, Jon Jon–not well, but good enough to see that the apple didn’t fall that far from the tree. My condolences to the entire Park family. It’s a great loss but, considering the pain that Reg must have been put through in his treatment for the spreading cancer, I’m happy he can now rest in peace.
Reg Park, thank you for being you.