Reg Park (7 June 1928 – 22 November 2007) was an English bodybuilder, businessman, and actor. His first title was Mr Britain in 1946. He then won the Mr Universe in 1951, 1958 and 1965. He also starred in five films, four featured as Hercules and in one, Hercules in the Haunted World (1961), he co-starred with Christopher Lee. Besides his own career and titles, he is probably best known as an idol and mentor to Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Reg Park was born in Leeds, West Yorkshire on 7 June 1928 Showing athletic interests early in life, Park dedicated his teenage years to excelling in football where he played in the reserves for Leeds United. He had no specific interest in bodybuilding until age 16 when he met muscleman David Cohen. Upon learning that Cohen lifted weights at his friend’s house, Park joined in out of curiosity. Park’s legendary physique would begin to grow from barbells, dumbbells and a simple chinning bar.
During his national service he was a Physical Training Instructor in Singapore. Upon discharge from the British Army in 1948, he witnessed his first physique contest; the inaugural NABBA Mr. Universe contest in London, in which John Grimek edged out Steve Reeves in controversial fashion. It was this contest that inspired Park to compete himself.
He started the gym industry in South Africa which today is a hugely popular and rapidly growing business. Reg introduced weight training to many top level and world class athletes including the likes of Gary Player, Bruce Fordyce and many others in South Africa long before weight training became popular and in fact was looked down upon and was thought to make one muscle bound and slow one down.