A Tribute to Larry Scott – The First Ever Mr. Olympia Bodybuilding Champ

LarryScott1Just found out that Larry Scott, one of the all time bodybuilding greats and the first ever Mr. Olympia past away on Saturday, March 8, 2014.  For those that do not know what the Mr. Olympia is, it is the ultimate award for bodybuilding excellence in the sport of bodybuilding.  The Mr. Olympia to bodybuilders is like the Super Bowl to football.  Not only was Larry the first ever to win it, he won it again the following year in ’66.

Another one of my favorite bodybuilders of that time period was Dave Draper.  Even in his seventies, Dave still has a love for the iron.  He is an accomplished writer, with a unique style that makes reading about pounding the iron so entertaining.  These are the guys I admire and look up to.  That is why I am sharing this link with you if you want to read his weekly newsletter.  You can find him at www.DaveDraper.com.   Since he new Larry better than I did, I am going to share his newsletter he wrote today about Larry Scott.  I think you will enjoy it…

1 — Draper here… Larry Scott

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

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 theLarry-Scott
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.

The device he enveloped with mounds of heaving muscle was to
become known as the Scott bench, his custom-shredded attire was
to become the popular dress code of the yet-unhatched millions of
bodybuilding fans. The indistinguishable, sparsely lit store
space was Vince’s gym, named after the gnarly, older guy leaning
against the wood counter fielding a call from the pay phone
hanging on the wall. The tidy little mess was in North Hollywood,
that same Hollywood that was home to stars and glamour and the
Sunset Strip.

I was Jersey-fresh, a pale pile of ill-fitted muscle, yet to findLScott1002
a home, gym or health-food store in sunny California. Muscle
Beach and the sparkling Pacific caught my eye.

Larry grinned as he trained, probably cuz his arms seemed to grow
an inch with each set and rep. I stood there and gawked, noting
that I scowled rather than curled my lips upward while training.
I was Mr. New Jersey, that’s why (think grey and trapped). He was
Mr. California and Mr. America (sunny and free). When he spoke,
he articulated. He didn’t mumble, pause or waste time,
mispronounce words or talk stupid. I think he had college grad
neatly engraved on his forehead, just below his carefully
coiffured hairline.

Gee, I felt self-conscious. I wondered if Larry ever got dirty.

Neither of us drank or smoked in the early ’60s, which was good,
though we did drop acid one evening at the hillside apartment
Larry shared with Bill McArdle. Don Howorth lived in the space
below and joined us as the sun set and pulsating spirits and
planets converged. The four of us grinned at a kaleidoscopic
edge, vaguely drifting in altered time to Jimmy Hendrix and the
Stones. We cool. Don’s shoulders reached from one side of thelarryscott-com_17
room to the other. The digs were small, unnecessarily
accentuating his width.

A couple years later, a lifetime under the iron, we stood
backstage at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, a weird place for a
world display of throbbing muscles. Larry sought the
first-time-ever Mr. Olympia title, 1965, and I, the Mr. America.
We each won to rousing applause. We did a repeat of the treat the
following year, Larry Mr. O ’66, and I the Mr. Universe. Hip Hip

We did what you’d expect muscleheads do behind the scenes of a
bodybuilding contest. We greedily ‘n anxiously pumped up, panted,
ghost-posed, sweated, applied oil, sipped water, encouraged,
feared and rooted for each other and longed to be somewhere else.
I oiled his back, he oiled mine; I said he looked great, he
assured me likewise. Emotions, like colorful spheres of a
carnival juggler, flew high and all over the place, seldom
hitting the floor. A bond is established, lions in a cage, horses
before the starting gun, haunted marionettes, their strings slack
before manipulation.

We both dragged over-sized trophies 3,000 miles across America to
our west coast mantels.

Sometime during the spring of ’66 I watched Larry, my jaw hanging
down to my knees, perform a series of bombastic front-flips and
back-flips accentuated with graceful cartwheels on the evergreen
lawn at MGM’s back lot. Did you see that? Outstanding! He was a
competitive gymnast sometime in another life. I wished I could
tumble — stumbling into a lamp post was my best equivalent. Helarry-scott-arms-plan
was there, as was I and the rest of Muscle Beach and Vince’s Gym,
responding to a studio call for actors with muscles for a part in
a movie called “Don’t Make Waves.”

Twice a week during the winter and spring of ’66, Larry and I,
along with handful of young hopefuls, attended acting classes at
the Century City home of Peyton Price, a then sought-after TV
director. I could stumble and mumble, kick sand and splash. I got
the part. I think it was my hair.

After that, time and place and people and space separate.
Musclebuilding grew up, and we grew up, and we grew old, and

I thought I knew Larry well, that we spent a lot of time
together, been there and back and would cover each other’s butts
when we needed to. Phone calls now and then, how ya doing, what’s
going on, can you believe how time flies? See you at the Expo,
the Dinner, the Old-timer’s Get-together next time you’re in
town. Yeah, yes, you bet!

Larry was mid-’60s cool. The sharpened edge of the cutting-edge
physiques to blast from the earth’s weary surface and rip into
space, a new generation, a new breed of muscular men and women.
Strong and hard, large and shapely, ripped and cut, vascular and
approved. Approved, universal and inspiring. Larry Scott lives
on, as masters do, as mighty men do, as gentlemen and heroes do.

See you around, Mister O.


Here are a couple of Larry Scott videos I think you will enjoy.  The first is a tribute to Larry with rare footage, and the second one is from a seminar in his later years discussing the life of a bodybuilder.  Good stuff, indeed…

[su_youtube_advanced url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SLf2An7SP0I” rel=”no” modestbranding=”yes”]


[su_youtube_advanced url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tVTD9JBOADc” rel=”no” modestbranding=”yes”]

Hope you enjoyed this tribute to the original Mr. O!

Rest In Peace, Larry


‘Til next time,



  • Lance Hallingford

    Reply Reply March 25, 2014

    Hi Richard

    A great and potentially a very profitable niche to work in. Thanks for the tribute to Larry Scott, outstanding achievement needs recognition and it’s a shame this often only comes at someone’s passing.

    While this isn’t my niche and I’m perhaps too old and unfit to start body building, I do share the need and motivation to keep fit and live life effectively whatever our age.

    Regards and keep posting

    • rrose80

      Reply Reply April 17, 2014

      Keeping fit and enjoying a good quality of life is what it’s all about. Thanks for reading Lance!

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