Ben Weider

Last updated

Ben Weider
Born(1923-02-01)February 1, 1923
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
DiedOctober 17, 2008(2008-10-17) (aged 85)
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Other namesThe President
OccupationPresident of the IFBB
Known forCo-creating the IFBB
Height5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight160 lb (72.6 kg)
Relatives Joe Weider
(brother, deceased)
Eric Weider (son)

Benjamin "Ben" Weider, OC CQ CD (February 1, 1923 – October 17, 2008) was the co-founder of the International Federation of BodyBuilding & Fitness (IFBB) along with brother Joe Weider. He was a Canadian businessman from Montreal, well known in two areas: Bodybuilding and Napoleonic history.

Order of Canada order

The Order of Canada is a Canadian national order and the second highest honour for merit in the system of orders, decorations, and medals of Canada. It comes second only to membership in the Order of Merit, which is the personal gift of Canada's monarch.

The National Order of Quebec, termed officially in French as l'Ordre national du Québec, and in English abbreviation as the Order of Quebec, is a civilian honour for merit in the Canadian province of Quebec. Instituted in 1984 when Lieutenant Governor Jean-Pierre Côté granted Royal Assent to the Loi sur l'Ordre national du Québec, the order is administered by the Governor-in-Council and is intended to honour current or former Quebec residents for conspicuous achievements in any field, being thus described as the highest honour in Quebec.

The Canadian Forces Decoration is a Canadian award bestowed upon members of the Canadian Armed Forces who have completed twelve years of military service, with certain conditions. By convention, it is also given to the Governor General of Canada upon his or her appointment as viceroy, which includes the title of Commander-in-Chief in and over Canada. The decoration is awarded to all ranks, who must have a good record of conduct during the final eight years of claimed service.


Life and career

Ben Weider during his service in the 6th Duke of Connaught's Royal Canadian Hussars, 1942. Ben Weider, Canadian Military, 1942.jpg
Ben Weider during his service in the 6th Duke of Connaught's Royal Canadian Hussars, 1942.

Benjamin Weider was born on February 1, 1923 in Montréal, Québec, Canada, to Louis and Anna Weider, Polish Jewish emigrants from the town of Kurów in Poland. [1] [2] [3] He served in the Canadian Army during World War II.

Kurów Village in Lublin Voivodeship, Poland

Kurów(listen) is a village in south-eastern Poland, located in the historic province of Lesser Poland, between Puławy and Lublin, on the Kurówka River. It is capital of a separate gmina (municipality) called Gmina Kurów, within Lublin Voivodeship. The village has 2,817 inhabitants.

Poland republic in Central Europe

Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 administrative subdivisions, covering an area of 312,696 square kilometres (120,733 sq mi), and has a largely temperate seasonal climate. With a population of approximately 38.5 million people, Poland is the sixth most populous member state of the European Union. Poland's capital and largest metropolis is Warsaw. Other major cities include Kraków, Łódź, Wrocław, Poznań, Gdańsk, and Szczecin.

Canadian Army land component of the Canadian Armed Forces

The Canadian Army is the command responsible for the operational readiness of the conventional ground forces of the Canadian Armed Forces. As of 2018 the Army has 23,000 regular soldiers, about 17,000 reserve soldiers, including 5,000 rangers, for a total of 40,000 soldiers. The Army is supported by 3,000 civilian employees. It maintains regular forces units at bases across Canada, and is also responsible for the Army Reserve, the largest component of the Primary Reserve. The Commander of the Canadian Army and Chief of the Army Staff is Lieutenant-General Jean-Marc Lanthier.

In bodybuilding he founded and ran a physical fitness and sporting goods company bearing his name. He was IFBB president until October 29, 2006, when he announced his retirement.

In Napoleonic circles, Weider was known as a forceful advocate of the theory that Napoleon was assassinated by a member of his entourage during his exile in Saint Helena. He co-authored several books, Assassination at St. Helena and Assassination at St. Helena Revisited, with Sten Forshufvud and The Murder Of Napoleon, with David Hapgood about this. Weider also founded the International Napoleonic Society, of which he was the President, and wrote numerous articles for this organization. [4]

Napoleon 18th/19th-century French monarch, military and political leader

Napoléon Bonaparte was a French statesman and military leader who rose to prominence during the French Revolution and led several successful campaigns during the French Revolutionary Wars. He was Emperor of the French as Napoleon I from 1804 until 1814 and again briefly in 1815 during the Hundred Days. Napoleon dominated European and global affairs for more than a decade while leading France against a series of coalitions in the Napoleonic Wars. He won most of these wars and the vast majority of his battles, building a large empire that ruled over much of continental Europe before its final collapse in 1815. He is considered one of the greatest commanders in history, and his wars and campaigns are studied at military schools worldwide. Napoleon's political and cultural legacy has endured as one of the most celebrated and controversial leaders in human history.

Saint Helena island in the South Atlantic Ocean

Saint Helena is a volcanic tropical island in the South Atlantic Ocean, 4,000 kilometres (2,500 mi) east of Rio de Janeiro and 1,950 kilometres (1,210 mi) west of the mouth of the Cunene River, which marks the border between Namibia and Angola in southwestern Africa. It is part of the British Overseas Territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha. Saint Helena measures about 16 by 8 kilometres and has a population of 4,534. It was named after Saint Helena of Constantinople.

Sten Gabriel Bernhard Forshufvud was a Swedish dentist and physician, and amateur toxicologist who formulated and supported the controversial theory that Napoleon was assassinated by a member of his entourage while in exile. He wrote a book, in Swedish, about this in 1961, which was translated the following year as Who Killed Napoleon? He later published his ideas in English, in the 1983 book Assassination At St. Helena: The Poisoning Of Napoleon Bonaparte, a book on whose authorship Ben Weider, co-author of the book The Murder Of Napoleon, published the year earlier, which also advanced Forshufvud's ideas, collaborated.

In 1975 he was made a Member of the Order of Canada and was promoted to Officer in 2006. [5] In 2000, he was made a Knight of the National Order of Quebec. On October 12, 2000, he received the French Legion of Honor, that country's highest honour, which was established by Bonaparte himself. Weider was also a 1984 nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize, [6] a member of the Quebec Sports Hall of Fame, and a Commander of the Venerable Order of St. John. He also had several honorary doctorate degrees. The Institute on Napoleon and the French Revolution at the Florida State University History Department has recently created the Ben Weider Chair in Revolutionary Studies. In total, Ben accumulated over 66 awards and honours during his lifetime. [7]

Nobel Peace Prize One of five Nobel Prizes established by Alfred Nobel

The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Swedish industrialist, inventor, and armaments manufacturer Alfred Nobel, along with the prizes in Chemistry, Physics, Physiology or Medicine, and Literature. Since March 1901, it has been awarded annually to those who have "done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses".

Florida State University university in the United States

Florida State University is a public space-grant and sea-grant research university in Tallahassee, Florida. It is a senior member of the State University System of Florida. Founded in 1851, it is located on the oldest continuous site of higher education in the state of Florida.

From 1998 to 2005, Ben Weider was Honorary Lieutenant Colonel of the 62nd (Shawinigan) Field Artillery Regiment, RCA. In 2005, he was promoted to Honorary Colonel of that military unit. In October 2006, Ben Weider unexpectedly retired as president of the IFBB.

A title of honor or honorary title is a title bestowed upon individuals or organizations as an award in recognition of their merits.

Colonel is a senior military officer rank below the brigadier and general officer ranks. However, in some small military forces, such as those of Monaco or the Vatican, colonel is the highest rank. It is also used in some police forces and paramilitary organizations.

In 2008, he was given the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 20th Anniversary Arnold Classic (only the eighth time in the competition's history that this award had been presented). [8]

Weider owned one of the most extensive collections of Napoleon memorabilia, including one of the bicorne hats worn by Napoleon during the invasion of Russia in 1812, of which only 12 are known to still exist today. Three weeks before his death, he donated his entire set of Napoleonic artifacts, over 60 pieces in all, to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, making it one of the largest collections of its kind in the world. Prince Charles Napoleon, great-great-grandson of Napoleon's youngest brother Jerome, was on hand to inaugurate the museum's new permanent gallery on Oct. 23, 2008. [9]


Weider died on October 17, 2008, at the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal. [1] [2]

A movie called Bigger was released in 2018 on the life of Ben Weider and his brother Joe Weider. [10] Tyler Hoechlin will be seen playing as Joe Weider, while Julianne Hough plays Betty Weider, his wife, Aneurin Barnard will be seen playing the role of Ben Weider and Calum Von Moger will be playing Arnold.

Published works

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  1. 1 2 "Montreal body building guru Ben Weider dies". October 18, 2008.
  2. 1 2 Grimes, William. "Ben Weider, 85, a Bodybuilding Pioneer".
  3. Carlson, Michael (December 2, 2008). "Obituary: Ben Weider". the Guardian.
  4. "Napoleon and the Jews" by Ben Weider Archived September 7, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  5. Governor General Announces New Appointments to the Order of Canada Archived November 15, 2007, at the Canadian Government Web Archive
  6. Bodybuilder created an empire – The son of poor Polish immigrants went on to lift his discipline to international prominence and become a renowned philanthropist, author and Napoleonic scholar – Montreal Gazette – October 19, 2008 Archived October 22, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  7. 1,000 mourners honour Weider – Napoleon exhibit featuring his collection will go on: 'It was very important to him' – Montreal Gazette – October 21, 2008 Archived October 25, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  8. "Ben Weider and Jim Lorimer". Wilkins, Rob (April 30, 2008). Archived July 5, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  9. BONAPARTED – CanWest News Service – Montreal, QC – September 23, 2008 Archived September 24, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  10. "Bigger" via

Commons-logo.svg Media related to Ben Weider at Wikimedia Commons

Military offices
Preceded by
Antonio Lamer
Honorary Lieutenant Colonel of the 62nd (Shawinigan) Field Artillery Regiment, RCA
Succeeded by
Jacques Duchesneau
Preceded by
Gérard Dufresne
Honorary Colonel of the 62nd (Shawinigan) Field Artillery Regiment, RCA
Succeeded by