When bodybuilding titans such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lou Ferrigno, Frank Zane, and Franco Columbu all gather under one roof to pay tribute to someone, you can damn well be sure that someone is going to be an exceptional person. And that’s just what Joe Weider was.
One by one, the presenters took to the podium in front of a packed room at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica to honor the man who was so instrumental in their success – not just as professional bodybuilders, but as human beings. They praised him for his vision, and refusal to quit. They thanked him for his constant words of encouragement, and for standing by their side through the tough times. They credited him for getting their career off the ground, and some even referred to him as their second father.
For those who personally knew Joe Weider, these stories of kindness, generosity, loyalty and love came as no surprise. The mightiest and most powerful of men stood up one after another, holding back the tears as they shared their favorite memories about the man who had made so much possible for them.
And while each story was unique and heartfelt, one common thread seemed to find its way into each presenter’s speech; Joe’s unmistakable voice. For one afternoon, everyone became a Joe Weider impressionist. Even the most impersonated Hollywood action hero of all time did his best Joe Weider impersonation, and judging from the crowd’s response, he nailed it – just as Joe did with professional bodybuilding throughout his extraordinary life.