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The Ageless Black Prince

At 64 Robby Robinson is just as much a phenomenon today as he was in the late ’70s, when he dominated the pages of Muscle Builder/Power. In 1975, after his fifth-place finish at the Mr. America, Robby was talking about leaving bodybuilding. He was ready to move back to Florida, but he made a fateful stop along the way. Arnold was filming “Stay Hungry” in Alabama and had invited Robby to visit. I was standing next to Arnold when Robby arrived. Arnold immediately embraced him and started to tell Robby what he thought of his potential. Essentially, he thought that Robby could be Mr. Universe in two years and be competitive at the Olympia. Robby stayed in Alabama for some of the shooting and returned to California—and the rest is history.

Robby trained like a man possessed and took bodybuilding with him. He had and has a special charisma. In the ’70s it had more swagger, but today you encounter a quiet confidence. Blessed with wonderful genetics, Robby took that gift and has made it an artful example of what is possible at any age. Rod Labbe’s in-depth conversation with the 64-year-old Black Prince starts on page 100. The interview and Michael Neveux’s incomparable photos come together as a three-dimensional portrait of a man dedicated to perfection.

Joe Weider’s 90th-birthday party was an intimate gathering of friends to honor a man whose lifelong obsession was the foundation for everyone present. Those in attendance had a chance to tell their stories, and many were surprisingly similar—how a magazine and in particular a photograph started us on a lifelong path. Thanks, Joe, for being the catalyst that you are. See photos from the party on page 152.

Part of my own lifelong obsession with bodybuilding is tied to Muscle Beach and the memories that iconic location conjures up. On pages 178 and 179 you’ll find pictorials of the ’10 Memorial Day and Fourth of July Muscle Beach events. If you have a chance to see any of the shows in person, don’t miss it. Each has its own character and is a special bodybuilding experience.

At the Fourth of July Muscle Beach extravaganza I got the chance to meet Phil Collen, the lead guitarist of Def Leppard. The first thing I have to tell you is, he is very excited about bodybuilding and the part it has played in his life. The second thing is that he’s devoid of any “rock star attitude.” His story begins on page 126, and be sure to check out Ian Sitren’s video interview with Phil at here


  1. Pingback: The Ageless Black Prince | Iron Man Magazine |

  2. Tony DiCosta

    July 26, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    Hi John,

    Thanks for sharing your eyewitness account of Robinson’s meeting with Arnold on that day. Truly an interesting tidbit of bodybuilding history.

    Sadly, I somehow missed the coverage of Robby in the December issue . . . an oversight I am eager to correct. Would you mind directing me to a contact person for back issues? I searched the magazine (and web site) and could not find where to buy back issues. I know, I know, it is probably there somewhere, but I sure couldn’t find it.

    Thanks for your help.

    BTW: I am the friend of Bob Bonham who contacted you about a year ago regarding writing some articles for I.M. You directed me to Steve Holman and the rest, as they say, is history. Also, I was honored to take 2nd place in the 60 year-old lightweight class at the Masters Nationals July 23. It was only my third contest and first National event so I am happy with that placing, though a rookie diet mistake cost me (in my opinion) a possible 1st place finish. Clearly this sport is far more cerebral than most people ever know.

    Tony DiCosta

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