Vintage Strongman…Eugen Sandow…”The Father of Modern Bodybuilding”
Eugen Sandow (April 2, 1867 – October 14, 1925), born Friedrich Wilhelm Müller, was a Prussian pioneering bodybuilder known as the “father of modern bodybuilding”.
Eugen Sandow was a Victorian strongman who was colossally famous in his day and possessed what was deemed to be the most perfect male body. He rose from obscurity in Prussia to become a music-hall sensation in late Victorian London, going on to great success as a performer in North America and throughout the British Empire. He was a friend to King Edward VII and was appointed Professor of Physical Culture to King George V. Sandow’s physical culture system was adopted by hundreds of thousands around the world. He lost his fortune at the time of the First World War.
Sandow died in London on October 14, 1925 of a stroke at age 58. He was buried in an unmarked grave in Putney Vale Cemetery at the request of his wife, Blanche. In 2002, a gravestone and black marble plaque was added by Sandow admirer and author Thomas Manly. The inscription (in gold letters) read “Eugen Sandow, 1867-1925 the Father of Bodybuilding.”
In 2008, the grave was purchased by Chris Davies, Sandow’s great-great-grandson. Manly’s items were replaced for the anniversary of Eugen Sandow’s birth that year and a new monument, a one and a half ton natural pink sandstone monolith was put in its place. The stone, simply inscribed “SANDOW” (written vertically), is a reference to the ancient Greek funerary monuments called steles.