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Reg Park Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trivia (12) | Personal Quotes (1)

Overview (5)

Date of Birth 7 June 1928Leeds, Yorkshire, England, UK
Date of Death 22 November 2007Johannesburg, South Africa  (melanoma)
Birth NameRoy Park
Nickname Reg the Leg
Height 6' 1" (1.85 m)

Mini Bio (1)

The future Italian epic star was registered as Roy Park in 1928, but little Reg was soon re-named after his father Reginald Park Snr., a well-known gymnasium proprietor in Leeds and owner of the Reg Park Barbell Company. Reg Jnr. played reserve team football for Leeds United before turning to body-building in 1946. He finished Mr Universe runner-up to future film rival Steve Reeves in 1950, then won the title outright in 1951, 1958 and 1965. After marrying South African-born Mareon Isaacs in Johannesburg in 1952, the Parks moved permanently to South Africa where Reg ran a chain of fitness studios. In December 1960 he was invited to Rome to star in two back-to-back Hercules movies, Hercules and the Captive Women (1961) followed immediately by Hercules in the Haunted World (1961). Since these were directed by intellectually acclaimed veterans Vittorio Cottafavi and Mario Bava, Reg Park himself became something of a cult personality in the Italian epic genre. His friend and protege Arnold Schwarzenegger considered Park to be the best of the "peplum" heroes.

Three more sword-and-sandals followed, including Samson in King Solomon's Mines (1964) which, handily for Park, was filmed on location in South Africa.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Jim Marshall

Spouse (1)

Mareon Isaacs (22 October 1952 - 22 November 2007) (his death) (2 children)

Trivia (12)

Mr. Universe in 1951, 1958 and 1965.
Father of environmentalist and tree-planter Jeunesse Park (born 1954) and Montreal Olympics swimmer Jon-Jon Park (born 1957).
His father, Reginald Park, owned a gymnasium and barbell company and followed his father into competition.
In later years he served as a contributor to a muscle magazine and judged competitions.
His wife, whom he married in 1952, was a former ballerina from South Africa.
He was Arnold Schwarzenegger''s bodybuilding inspiration. Arnold trained with him in the late 60s and actually lived with him and his family for a time in their home in South Africa. It was he who urged Arnold into taking the Hercules in New York (1970) film role as a money-making proposition.
On October 22, 1952, he married the beautiful Mareon Isaacs, the sister of bodybuilder star and commercial film technician Johnny Isaacs. The powerfully built Isaacs almost won the Mr. Universe title himself in 1953 and competed into the early 1960s winning several prestigious titles.
Not only massively built but incredibly strong, Park often demonstrated his strength in public promotions, lifting up the back of cars, among other feats.
He was the only British bodybuilder to become a star in the Italian made sword and sandal/mythological muscleman movies that became a popular genre from the late 1950s into the mid 1960s.
At age 42, he competed against Arnold Schwarzenegger in a 1970 body-building contest and was edged out in a closely fought contest - losing the Mr. Universe title to Schwarzenegger by only 1/2 a point. In his last physique competition Park once again placed 2nd at the 1973 Mr. Universe at age 45. Park always maintained that he trained and competed steroid free.
Park was the first bodybuilder to bench press 500 lbs, and the second man in history to succeed with that weight. He achieved the lift on his 25th birthday, just 10 days after Canadian Olympic Weightlifter Doug Hepburn became the first to Bench Press 500 pounds on May 28, 1953. Hepburn outweighed Park by 60 pounds.
Personal fitness trainer in South Africa [2001]

Personal Quotes (1)

Reg was a dear friend, an extraordinary mentor and a personal hero. Other than my parents, there may be no single person who had more to do with me becoming the person I am today than Reg. He was like a second father to me. It was Reg who impressed upon me how hard I would have to work if I wanted to achieve my dreams. I'll always remember him making me do calf-raises with 1,000 pounds at 5 o'clock in the morning. --Arnold Schwarzenegger, regarding Park's influence

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