VALE, MIKE MENTZER - passed away 10th June, 2001.
I first met Mike at Gold's Gym in Santa Monica in the mid seventies. I was looking for an outstanding "new" physique star to record and promote through my super 8 posing films and photos. I found not just a star in Mike but also a legend and a friend for life.
During a brutal filming session of endless pumping and posing in the hot summer sun at the Marina Del Rey Beach or up at Muscle Rocks near Malibu etc., he never complained or asked me "how much longer?". As long as I had film in the camera, Mike would put out 110% effort. It was as if he had a sense of destiny and that I was the one privileged to record his fantastic physique at its peak during the period from July 1977 up to 1980.
I shot posing or training moves of Mike on 6 occasions in this period - from the Marina Beach and oil wells to Muscle Rocks, to his apartment for a heavy duty training at home segment, plus guest posing for me in Australia. Then I had the pleasure of recording 2 more sessions, both with Mike and Ray together.
Firstly it was a high intensity workout shot in Jim Morris' gym after midnight after the gym had closed. Then a duo posing session on the Marina Del Rey Beach with the two brothers followed by a solo posing session with Ray.
I will never forget these times we worked together in California, and without doubt, Mike has been the most recorded and most popular bodybuilder I have ever filmed and photographed over the last 35 years. He was the king - he will remain a legend.
Mike's physique was Herculean yet symmetrical and he exuded masculinity and strength. He was a standout in every way from his huge calves to his massive arms and forearms.
Several Mentzer connections with my home of Australia are worth mentioning.
Ray Mentzer lived "down under" for a number of years after his retirement from competition. Sadly the diagnosis of his kidney problems forced his return to USA.
In mid-1980 I presented Mike in seminar plus posing in my home city of Adelaide, South Australia. He bought the house down. Then about 4 months later Mike was back in Sydney, Australia, for what turned out to be his final contest, the 1980 Mr. Olympia. I had the good fortune to record this event too, which was the last contest for both Mike and his great rival, Arnold Schwarzenegger. The rest is history with Mike placing a controversial fifth. The year before he had achieved a class win, and took second overall to Frank Zane in the 1979 Mr. Olympia.
Mike and I kept in touch by phone and email and in fact he called me just a week before he died, to discuss advertising sponsorship of his new video project. This doomed shoot took place a few days later with Mike and Ray during a grueling 5 hour session. Early the next day, Mike passed away and tragically Ray died 24 hours later.
Mike and Ray lived and died as champions. Although both suffered from poor health in latter years I never heard a complaint from Mike and he was extremely positive when we last spoke. He told me about all the new projects he was working on.
Mike was a charismatic legend and the two Mentzer brothers will always be remembered as the instigators of high intensity, heavy duty training. They will never be forgotten.
Rest in peace, Mike & Ray - you were the greatest!! You will be greatly missed and you will always be remembered by all of us.
Mike Mentzer 15th November 1951 - 10th June 2001
Ray Mentzer 2nd August 1953 - 11th June 2001
It is hard to believe that 5 years have passed since the deaths of Mike and Ray Mentzer. They will always be remembered as two of the first truly hardcore champions. Their knowledge, intensity, curiosity, intelligence, drive and perseverance made them what they were. Two outstanding legends of the sport of bodybuilding.
God bless the Mentzer brothers and their memory.
Please click here for Wayne's 2010 update.