German bodybuilder, now known as the « father of modern bodybuilding ». His father was grau: [Exposition] PDF German and his mother was of Russian descent.
In Brussels he visited the gym of a fellow strongman, Ludwig Durlacher, better known under his stage name « Professor Attila ». Durlacher recognized Sandow’s potential, mentored him, and in 1889 encouraged him to travel to London and take part in a strongmen competition. Florenz Ziegfeld wanted to display Sandow at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, but Ziegfeld knew that Maurice Grau had Sandow under a contract. In 1894, Sandow was featured in a short film series by the Edison Studios. The film was of only part of his act and featured him flexing his muscles rather than performing any feats of physical strength. While the content of the film reflected the audience’s focus on his appearance, it made use of the unique capacities of the new medium.
In April of that same year Sandow gave one of his « muscle display performances » at the 1894 California Mid-Winter International Exposition in Golden Gate Park at the « Vienna Prater » Theater. While he was on tour in the United States, Sandow made a brief return to England to marry Blanche Brooks, a girl from Manchester. Soon, due to stress and ill health he returned permanently to recuperate. He was soon back on his feet, and opened the first of his Institutes of Physical Culture, where he taught methods of exercise, dietary habits and weight training. His ideas on physical fitness were novel at the time and had a tremendous impact. The Sandow Institute was an early gymnasium that was open to the public for exercise. He worked hard at improving exercise equipment, and invented various devices such as rubber strands for stretching and spring-grip dumbbells to exercise the wrists.
In 1900 William Bankier wrote Ideal Physical Culture in which he challenged Sandow to a contest in weightlifting, wrestling, running and jumping. When Sandow did not accept his challenge Bankier called him a coward, a charlatan and a liar. In 1901, Sandow organized the world’s first major bodybuilding competition in London’s Royal Albert Hall. The venue was so full that people were turned away at the door. Holland Park Avenue, thanks to a generous gift from an Indian businessman, Sir Dhunjibhoy Bomanji, whose health had improved dramatically after he had adopted Sandow’s regime. He travelled around the world on tours to countries as varied as South Africa, India, Japan, Australia, New Zealand.