Arnold Schwarzenegger Mourns the Death of One of His Idols

by Liz Holland

Mourning the death of body-building icon Dave Draper, Arnold Schwarzenegger expressed his grief online Tuesday evening. Former Mr. Universe Dave Draper passed away peacefully Tuesday morning.

Sharing His Story

Arnold Schwarzenegger eloquently shared his thoughts on Dave Draper’s passing and how Draper inspired him. In a series of tweets, Arnold writes, “Dave Draper was an inspiration to millions of people all over the world, including me. He was one of my idols. In Austria, I kept his photo on the wall above my bed for motivation, and when I saw him starring in ‘Don’t Make Waves’ I thought, ‘My dreams are possible.’”

Schwarzenegger goes on to detail meeting Draper for the first time face to face, and the heartwarming role he played in Schwarzenegger’s life.  Schwarzenegger writes, “When I got to America and finally met Dave, I learned his heart was as big as his pecs. He even hand-built my first furniture when I moved to Santa Monica, and man, he was talented. Can you imagine meeting your idol, becoming his training partner and traveling the world together? I was in heaven. He couldn’t have been more welcoming, and he always pushed everyone around him in the gym to be better. He was an amazing writer and a great family man. I will miss the Blond Bomber, but his memory will always be with me. My thoughts are with Laree and the family.”

Dave Draper’s Legacy Will Live On

Dave Draper earned an impressive amount of accolades throughout his lifetime. To name a few, the New Jersey-born icon won his first notable title of Mr. New Jersey at age 21. Draper went on to earn the title of Mr. America, and then Mr. Universe the following year. Additionally, Draper also earned the title of Mr. World. The late 60s and early 70s was an undeniably busy time for the ‘Blonde Bomber’s’ body-building career. However, the muscular champ had an affinity for acting as well. 

Draper’s first notable appearance on-screen comes when he hosts a TV show called “David the Gladiator”. A role earned due to his impressively large muscles, Draper would dress as a gladiator and host what his IMDB page describes as, “muscle-men type historical flicks starring Steve Reeves and Rock Stevens.” The show aired on Saturday nights in Los Angeles. Draper went on to star in the aforementioned film, ‘Don’t Make Waves’ as Harry Hollard. It was this film that Arnold Schwarzenegger says inspired him to pursue his own acting career. 

A Peaceful Goodbye

Following his passing, Draper’s wife Laree announced on Facebook, “Hi, friends, as the word’s getting out, I wanted to let you know so there’s no confusion. Dave died early this morning. I was with him and it was calm and peaceful. It, as his doctor told me a little while ago, was a good death.”

Draper will be honored and remembered by many and is survived by his wife Laree.