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Remembering Larry Scott

Below are some thoughts and remembrances of this great bodybuilding legend from his friends.


Below are some thoughts and remembrances of this great bodybuilding legend from his friends.


The passing of our first Mr. Olympia – Larry Scott at 75.

Dave Draper summed it up perfectly when he said that Larry’s name and image are etched permanently on the iron of our minds. I could not say it better.

When I first started training, I always did my preacher curls, hoping to develop an arm with the perfect shape, just like Larry’s arm. But it never happened. Larry was a genetic marvel and with hard work and great nutrition, became the best in the world.

He was also the major inspiration for Joe Weider to start a champion of champions contest that was finally named Mr. Olympia. The rest is now history with the 50th Mr. Olympia to be celebrated in September this year. What a pity that Larry can’t be there to celebrate this amazing history with us.

I first met Larry when he attended my Legends’ Reunion at World Gym in Venice, October 2000. It was extremely generous of him to attend and he was happy to pose his still fantastic biceps.I next saw him for a chat and again took a photo of his amazing arm at the 2001 Olympia Expo at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas. Larry was known for his perfectly shaped 20-inch biceps, developed in large part by practicing the “Preacher Curl”.

It was in 5 years later that I next saw Larry. It was at the 2006 FitExpo and Iron Man Pro in California. GMV was the official videographer for this event and I recorded Larry’s inspirational seminar given at the Expo. I subsequently arranged with Larry to turn the seminar into a bio DVD with all of the footage I had on him from throughout his career.

He was a true gentleman to work with and a superstar of bodybuilding. He will be greatly missed. My condolences to the Scott family.

Wayne Gallasch
GMV Productions

LARRY SCOTT was the first Champion of Champions. He was the inspiration for the creation of the “Joe Weider Olympia”, a contest made for The Champion of all Champions. He was not only a Champion in Bodybuilding but a Champion as a friend. Larry epitomized the ideal image of Bodybuilding as the clean-cut All American “Golden Boy”. It was not only an image but he actually lived that image.

Larry was also a Champion of character and courage, as he fought the debilitating disease of Alzheimer’s.

Joe loved him and was so proud of him for all he did to help and encourage the youth of America to live a clean, fit and productive life. Larry’s images and deeds will forever remain as an inspiration to others. My heart goes out to his beloved wife, Rachel, and his family.

With love and admiration,
Betty Weider

Bodybuilding lost an icon today. We’ll all miss the Legend, Larry Scott, a great man who inspired millions. My thoughts are with his family.

Arnold Schwarzenegger
Former Governor of California and 7-time Mr.Olympia

Larry Scott was a true inspiration in my early career. Who didn’t want arms like Larry Scott!! I used the Preacher Bench to do Scott curls hoping my arms would look like his – not that they ever did!

All manufacturers of the Preacher Bench over the years will forever be indebted to Larry Scott for the piece of equipment he made famous.

On a personal note, Larry was a true gentleman and great representative of our sport and will surely be missed.

Jim Manion
President of the NPC

Larry Scott died early Saturday morning. He was 75 years old, a very good man.

The man was smart, witty and clever, cool, calm and collected — a massively muscled bodybuilder of unconventional style, the breakaway crosscut of Gironda’s lean ‘n mean Vince’s Gym. Conspicuously absent, the bench press, squat and deadlift did not confine or define his training a la Muscle Beach. Like his incredible arms, Larry was big and strong of heart and soul and mind.

My memories of Larry manifest as a series of snapshots, not a stream of flowing experiences and connected occasions. They’re old and faded, not because they’re slight or inconsequential, but because so much time has passed. I haven’t seen Larry for 10 years. What’s more, we didn’t share a lot of time together in the day. Larry wasn’t Party Marty, and I wasn’t Jolly Wally. He trained at Vince’s Gym in North Hollywood; I trained at the Dungeon, a shout from the beach. The two arenas, like scissors and rock, did not correspond.

The first picture I conjure for your view is clutched amid a fistful of worn and faded images some 50 years old. That’s Larry in sweats, pants cut off at the knees and top cut off at the shoulders. He’s standing before an upright bench, his particularly huge arms slung over slim padding as he curls a short bent bar. My mind darts in and out of my head as I attempt to access the dim fleeting circumstances.

Dave Draper
Read the entire tribute here.

The recent passing of our first Mr. Olympia Larry Scott particularly hit me hard as Larry was my idol and responsible for my passion for bodybuilding. As a young skinny teenager back in the early 60’s I picked up an issue of Joe Weider’s Muscle/Power magazine, which was filled with photos of a young Larry Scott. I immediately became fascinated with his incredible arms particularly his football shaped biceps. To me Larry personified the ideal male with his blond hair, California bronzed tan and superbly balanced physique. More than anyone else he captured the male ideal and was the main superstar of the Golden Age of Bodybuilding. As a youngster growing up in Rural Eastern Canada the warm beaches of California seemed like another world away from me. But through the pages of Muscle/Builder each month I was taken to Muscle Beach, Santa Monica and felt like I was there watching Larry workout. When he won the first Mr. Olympia I was elated and pinned up that photo of him wearing the Mr. Olympia crown on his head. There was something about that photo that captured the essence of Larry Scott and his majestic physique. I sent for all his courses and followed his career until his retirement following his 1966 Mr. Olympia win. The announcement of his retirement was devastating as I wanted to see him continue to defend his Mr. Olympia crown.

As the years went by, I was fortunate to have become a noted Bodybuilding Author/Photographer and eventually got to meet Larry Scott. We developed an instant friendship. It was easy as Larry had the kind of friendly humble personality that attracted people. There couldn’t have been a better champion than Larry to be our first Mr. Olympia with his charisma, modest personality and God like physique! He was a of a true champion and came at a time when the bodybuilding world needed a hero. My best personal memory of Larry came at the 40th Anniversary of the Mr Olympia where we ran into each other at the Subway concession at the Orleans Hotel. We shared some great stories over our subs. How many kids can say that they got to meet their childhood idol? Better yet, how many of those childhood idols lived up to your expectations? Larry Scott is one of the rare few that surpassed them! Rest In Peace my friend!

Garry Bartlett

While Larry Scott has passed, his legacy will remain. It was in the fifties that he arrived with Roger Pugmire (Torrey) from Idaho. He was a thin but muscular kid and we all liked him. Roger went on to make films while Larry concentrated on bodybuilding. We even formed a club known as the Gnomes (still don’t know why). Every weekend the Gnomes would trek down to State beach. In the evening we’d have dinner, see a show and then go for ice cream. That continued for me until I left to raise a family. As Larry got bigger and he did indeed, I decided to put him into a film documentary I planned to make called “Project Power”. It was getting easy to see that Larry was heading for great things. Eventually I began working for Weider and covered the first Mr. Olympia contest. To those who weren’t there you missed the true turning point of our sport. The greatest bodybuilders of the time were there. Rick Wayne, Earl Maymard (Mr. Universe) and Dave Draper who won the America. But it was the last event that made the contest turn every thing into a moment in history. Scott was the last to pose. It was the one thing that handed a gift of greatness for all that followed. I was sitting with Weider. Bud Parker didn’t get out more than “And now from Studio Ci….” Everyone knew and the crowd went wild. Groups of fans surged toward the stage. I thought the cement at the Brooklyn Academy of Music would crack. Still no Larry Scott. Weider started yelling “Isn’t he great?!” “But Joe,” I replied “he’s not even on the stage.” “I know,” yelled Joe “but isn’t he great!” Still no Scott. At last a mass of oil seemed to move in the darkness of the back stage. Ever so slowly the mass moved on to the dias. The noise was deafening. Larry didn’t pose and just soaked in the adulation. Finally he nodded and waved a “blessing” to the crowd. He then gave a posing routine that was unforgettable. The following year he won the title again and then retired.

Always a good friend and a champion. Some, if not many, may not know of him or remember his name but he was always a great friend, a gentleman and a generous man. Most of the champions of today owe their fame to the one who set the standard – Larry Scott. Rest in peace my friend.

Dick Tyler
Former Editor in Chief, Muscle Power in the 60’s

The Death of a Legend: Larry Scott, RIP

A couple of year’s back Larry Scott called me out of the blue late one morning. Because the first-ever Mr. Olympia (1965-66) had shown signs of memory loss in recent conversations with him, I wasn’t surprised that the conversation was pretty incoherent.

On Saturday, March 8, it all made sense. The news came via a Balik text message—Larry Scott had passed away early that morning in Salt Lake City, Utah. He was 75; reported cause of death was Alzheimers. Larry’s phone call, to me and to several other industry personnel, was to say “Thank you….and good-bye.” He knew the end was near, and wanted to touch base with his friends before it was too late,

The dreaded disease, the sixth leading cause of death in the United States,and fifth highest for those 65 and overall, took over Larry’s body fairly rapidly. In 2010, I interviewed Scott for an hour (along with several other Mr. Olympia winners) on video tape, and he seemed to be in good control of his faculties. The interview ran on the website soon after—check it out to give me much more insight on who this great champion was, on and off a bodybuilding stage.

In fact, I asked him to shoot some pictures for me at the Expo the following day, and he obliged without hesitation. The man named after the Scott Curl was always pleasant in every meeting we had; he laughed with me, not at me, when I told him doing Scott Curls had allowed me to “out peak” him in a biceps posedown.

Gone, but never forgotten. You called that morning to say “Thank you” to me? No, champ, you got it backwards. Thank you* for all that you did for our industry, and for the way you carried yourself.


Lonnie Teper

Larry was one of the real class acts and intelligent bodybuilder champions that was always ready with a big smile, firm handshake and positive comment. The sport could not have asked for a better first Mr Olympia representative and last time we spoke I discussed his being a future Inductee for the International Sports Hall of Fame. Larry’s great spirit will live on in those lucky enough to have known him personally.

Dr Robert Goldman
Chairman-IFBB Medical Committee
Founder-International Sports Hall of Fame

It’s difficult in this day and age to communicate how massive a star Larry Scott was to the bodybuilding community of the ‘60s. By the time of the initial Mr. Olympia contest held at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 1965, Scott was to bodybuilding what The Beatles were to popular music. As he came onstage the audience went nuts. They whooped in delight, stomped their feet, some stood on their seats. Those present swear they had never seen anything like if before or since. As if to anoint his king like status Larry received a crown for his win. (There was no prize money: In 1966 he received $1,000 but no crown.)

It’s often said in obituaries that no one ever said a bad word about the deceased but in Larry’s case it appears to be true. He was a true gentleman, devoid of conceit or posturing. He was the Golden Boy of a Golden Era, and the burning light of that goldenness inspired countless multitudes, and will never fade. Larry Scott’s legacy and life’s achievements will never die as long as weights are lifted, and he will forever be remembered and celebrated as the first Mr. Olympia. Rest in Peace Mr. Scott.

Peter McGough
Former Editor in Chief of Muscle & Fitness

I was 19 years old and the first Mr. Olympia was being held at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. The anticipation of seeing the great Scott was unbelievable. Everything that came before his appearance was just bodybuilding fodder. Bud Parker was the emcee and when the moment of Larry Scotts appearance arrived the introduction could not be heard. The thunderous applause applause and the commotion literally shook the hall. I feared the whole place would collapse under my feet. His routine was flawless, and his execution on the dais of each pose brought even more adulation from the audience. To this day I have never witnessed a more vociferous reaction. He was the first of the great Mr. Olympias and inspired a generation of trainees who sought to emulate the Scott physique

John Calascione
Former IFBB Judge

An incredible physique, easy to work with and a real nice guy.

Michael Neveux

I remember Larry Scott as a gentle man and a very humble individual.
Whenever we met he always reminded me of one particular occasion where he was a guest poser at a bodybuilding contest in N.J.

The contest was sponsored by Chris Devin and since Larry had a private room,
Chris asked me if I would assist Larry getting ready and keep him informed of the time frame before his appearance.

I was just beginning my bodybuilding career, and I was excited to have the opportunity to assist this great bodybuilder and my hero.

All I did was to keep everything running smoothly for him. Larry never forgot and whenever we met he would remind me and thank me and greeted me very warmly.
I find it strange that he was so grateful for something so small. Now a days we need more Bodybuilders like him, very difficult to find.

Rest in peace my friend you made me proud to be a bodybuilder.

Anibal Lopez

Though I did not get to know Larry Scott, personally, until many years later, I was certainly an admirer of his amazing physique as far back as 1962. It was then, in the very last row of the Brooklyn Academy of Music that I saw Larry Scott for the first time, easily winning the IFBB Mr America contest. For four more years at that same venue, Scott was the major draw, barely losing to muscular Harold Poole in the IFBB Mr Universe contest in 1963, winning it in 1964 and then in spectacular fashion winning the inaugural Mr Olympia contest in 1965 and repeating in 1966. The overall caliber of the top contestants was first class, yet Larry Scott WAS the show. Tan and blonde, with outstanding arms (especially arms), delts, lats AND legs, it can unequivocally be stated that Scott realized his full physical potential.

As a side note, Rheo H. Blair was wise enough to feature Larry Scott in his protein ads in Iron Man magazine. Only guessing, but I am quite positive that I was not the only aspiring bodybuilder, inspired by those Scott biceps, to spend large sums of $$ to purchase Blair’s amazing tasting vanilla protein powder and mixing it with heavy whipping cream.

The early 60’s- THE era of LARRY SCOTT. Not soon to be forgotten.

Roger Schwab
Former IFBB Judge

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