May 19, 1992 East Los Angeles Los Angeles County California, USA
Born Robert Henry Mizer. Photographer and filmmaker. The 1998 movie Beefcake was part documentary/part dramatization of his life. In a fifty-year career, he built his reputation by photographing bodybuilders and youths, often in posing straps or less. In December 1945 he established the Athletic Model Guild (AMG) in his large family home, a compound with multiple buildings and courtyards that eventually included sets used to depict diverse locales and allowed for both still and moving pictures to be shot. Violation of the Comstock Law for distributing obscene material through the mail landed him in jail for nine months in 1947. In 1951 he launched his main publication, Physical Pictorial, suggesting that the photos therein were instructional material for the fitness minded but were largely considered homoerotic. By the early 1950s he began making short films and by the early 1980s had produced over three thousand titles. He photographed over ten thousand men, including the first photos of actors Ed Fury, Glenn Corbett, and Joe Dallesandro. In 1980 he began using videotape and in twelve years recorded over seven thousand hours of footage. He worked right up to the end of his life and his catalog is reported to include nearly one million images.