Bodybuilders Through the Ages

Over the past 150 years, bodybuilders have gone from circus sideshows to celebrities, imparting fitness lessons along the way

Jack LaLanne (1914 - 2011) (Bettmann / Corbis)

Arnold Schwarzenegger

Arnold Schwarzenegger
(Maura McCarthy)

Schwarzenegger began his competitive bodybuilding career at the age of 17 and went on to win, among other accolades, seven Mr. Olympia competition titles. He embarked on an acting career in 1970, scoring box office hits with films such as Conan the Barbarian, The Terminator, Predator and True Lies. His professional aspirations took a political turn in 1990 when former President George H. W. Bush appointed him chairman of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, and in 2003 Schwarzenegger was elected governor of California.

About Jesse Rhodes

Jesse Rhodes is a former Smithsonian magazine staffer. Jesse was a contributor to the Library of Congress World War II Companion.

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