Tony Pearson (bodybuilder)
|— Bodybuilder —|
|Nickname||" The Michael Jackson of Body Building "|
January 11, 1957 |
|Height||5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)|
|Weight||205 lb (93 kg)|
|Pro-debut||WBBG Mr. World, 1979|
|Best win||NABBA Pro. Mr. Universe, 1980|
Tony Pearson (born January 11, 1957 in Memphis, Tennessee) grew up in St. Louis, Missouri is an American bodybuilding champion. His bodybuilding championships include individual and couples competitions.
Tony Pearson was born the second youngest of eight children (five girls and three boys). His mother, Daisy Pearson, was a stay at home mom and his father, Sam Pearson, worked as an ice and cole delivery man. Tony grew up during the civil rights era of the early 1960s in Memphis, TN. In 1959, at age two, Tony's parents divorced, at which time he and one of his sisters, Carolyn, were taken to an aunt to raise them. This family member was in her later years and financially and emotionally unable to care for the two young children. In 1970 they moved to St. Louis, MO where he attended Normandy Junior and Normandy High School. In 1973, after years of abuse and neglect, the intervention of his high school counselor and the State of Missouri took custody of Tony from his aunt and placed him in a foster home.
Tony discovers bodybuilding
As a member of his school's wrestling team, Tony suffered a knee injury. At which time he started weight training as a way to rehabilitate his knee. Surprised at how quickly his body responded to weight training, Tony decided he wanted to become a bodybuilder. Seeing his interest and talent, his coach took him to a "real gym," George Turner's gym in Clayton, MO. This gym was the home to some of the professional bodybuilding elite. Ken Waller, Dave Johns, and Samir Bannout were all connected to Turner's gym. After the first day of training the owner of the gym, George Turner, said to the young Pearson, "You've got potential kid. I'm going to train you. I think I can make you a champion." Over the next few months he packed on twenty pounds of muscle and six months later Tony told his trainer that he was leaving. In 1976, at the age of nineteen, Pearson moved to California to fulfill his dream of becoming a professional bodybuilder. After arriving in Los Angeles he was homeless for a of period time. After getting on his feet, the young Pearson ventured to the "Mecca of bodybuilding", Gold's Gym in Venice, California. It was there that he was introduced to all of the great bodybuilding legends of the time, just weeks before the 1976 Mr. Olympia competition.
Tony and Arnold
Later that year (1976) Tony was training in Venice Beach, where he was discovered by Arnold Schwarzenegger on Muscle Beach, who became his mentor. Pearson won his first contest, the 1976 Mr. Venice Beach, and Arnold featured him in the first edition of his book, The Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding Co-Written by Bill Dobbins. Of the young Pearson, Schwarzenegger wrote, "I remember a few years ago seeing a skinny black kid training at the weight pit on Venice Beach. I watched him doing endless sets of squats, with very heavy weight, torturing himself with rep after rep. After a while, his thighs began to grow and soon they were huge, separated and beautifully defined, and only a year and half later he entered and won the 1978 Mr. America contest."
Tony Pearson known for his symmetrical lines and razor sharp definition. Pearson's stage name was "The Michael Jackson of Bodybuilding." His career began to take off as he worked his way through the amateur competitive ranks. In 1978 winning the Amateur Athletic Union's (AAU) Mr. Los Angeles, (Los Angeles, CA), Jr. Mr. USA, (Sacramento, CA), Jr. Mr. America, (Austin, TX), Mr. California (short), (Sacramento, CA), and (AAU) Mr. America, (Cincinnati, OH). At the age of twenty one, Pearson was the second youngest to win Mr. America (the youngest was Casey Viator at the age of nineteen), (Preceded: Dave Johns 1977), (Succeeded: Ray Mentzer 1979). Other bodybuilding competitions won during his twenty-year career include the 1979 World Bodybuilding Guild (WBBG) Professional (the official start of his professional bodybuilding career), Mr. World, ( New York, NY ), (Preceded: Anibal Lopez 1978), ( Succeeded: Anibal Lopez 1980), and the WBBG Olympus Mr. Olympus Pro, (Preceded: Sergio Oliva 1978), 1979 World Amateur Bodybuilding Association, (WABBA) World Championships, (Verona, Italy), the 1980 National Amateur Bodybuilders Association (NABBA) Pro Mr. Universe., (London, England), (Preceded: 1979 Bertil Fox), (Succeeded: 1981 Robby Robinson), 1983 International Federation of Bodybuilding (IFBB) Pro Denver Grand Prix Winner, (Denver, CO). Pearson also competed in the (IFBB) Mr. Olympia in 1984 (New York, NY) and a second time in 1985 (Brussels, Belgium) placing 12th in both competitions.
Pearson was first introduced to couples posing in 1979 when he made a guest appearance with the "First Lady of Bodybuilding", Lisa Lyon, at the Mr. Los Angeles Competition. This was the first time a male bodybuilder and a female bodybuilder performed on stage together. Pearson and Lyon were pioneers in this new category of Mixed Pairs. In 1980, Chris Dickerson and Stacy Bentley won the first International Federation of Body Building (IFBB) Professional World Mixed-Pair Competition. In 1981, Dickerson won again with Lynn Conkwright. In an unprecedented winning streak, Pearson won six International Federation of Body Building (IFBB) Professional World Mixed-Pair titles with four different partners in 1982 and '83 (Shelley Gruwell), '84 (Carla Dunlap), '85 (Tina Plakinger), '86 (Juliette Bergmann), and '88 (Carla Dunlap).
In 2010 at the age of fifty-three, Pearson returned to the stage guest posing with his former Mixed Pairs partner 2001 Ms Olympia Juliette Bergmann at the 2010 "Juliette Bergmann Bodybuilding Classic" in the Netherlands, and also made a guest appearance at the FIBO Power 2011 in Germany.
In 1991 and 1992, Pearson competed in World Bodybuilding Federation WBF shows launched by professional wresting mogul Vince McMahon. A group of thirteen professional bodybuilders were named (WBF Body Stars). Pearson's stage name was dubbed "The Jetman". In 1993 Pearson promoted a supplement line (ICOPRO), Integrated Conditioning Program, developed by Dr. Fredrick Hatfield (also known as "Dr. Squat") for Vince McMahon.
Honors and awards
In 2007, Pearson was inducted into the "Muscle Beach Bodybuilding Hall of Fame" in Venice Beach, CA. Other professional bodybuilders to receive this honor include Arnold Schwarzenegger, Frank Zane, and Joe Weider.
Tony has appeared on: Man from Atlantis: "The Disappearances" television movie (minions) MGM, 1977, Good Morning America Show 1978, The Merv Griffin Show 1979, Rose Bowl Parade, Pasadena, CA, 1979, ABC Wide World of Sports, 1983, 1984, NBC Sportsworld, 1983, 1985, 1986, Soul Train (Health and Fitness Segment), 1987, La ultima Cena……Del, TV Comedy Show Special, 1988, (himself), Empty Nest, Gesundeit (role: stud with suds,) 1994, WBF BodyStars, (TV Show) USA Network, 1991 (himself), Bodybuilders on "Card Sharks" game show, 1987 (himself) CBS, WWF/WBF BodyStar Wars Challenger, 1991 (himself) "Tug of War" between the WBF and WWF Stars. Flex Magazine Workout (co-hosted by Shawn Ray), (TV Show), ESPN 1993
- Height: 5 ft 8 in
- Weight: 200–205 lbs
- Arms: 20 inches
- Waist: 29
Pearson was known to have the best shoulder to Waist ratio in bodybuilding.
|* 1976||AAU Gold's Classic||Teen||overall winner|
|* 1976||AAU Gold's Classic||Teen, Short||1st|
|1977||AAU Junior Mr. USA||Short||3rd|
|* 1977||AAU Mr. Los Angeles||Junior||1st|
|* 1977||AAU Mr. Southern California||Junior||1st|
|* 1978||AAU Mr. America||overall winner|
|* 1978||AAU Mr. America||Medium||1st|
|* 1978||AAU Mr. California||Short||1st|
|* 1978||AAU Junior Mr. America||Medium||1st|
|* 1978||AAU Junior Mr. America||overall winner|
|* 1978||AAU Junior Mr. USA||overall winner|
|* 1978||AAU Junior Mr. USA||Medium||1st|
|* 1979||WBBG Olympus||winner|
|1979||NABBA Mr. Universe||Medium||2nd|
|* 1979||WBBG Pro. Mr. World||winner|
|* 1979||WABBA World Championships||Medium||1st|
|* 1979||WABBA World Championships||overall winner|
|* 1980||NABBA Universe Pro.||winner|
|1980||WABBA World Championships||Professional||3rd|
|1980||WABBA Pro. World Cup||5th|
|1981||IFBB Canada Pro. Cup||4th|
|1981||IFBB Grand Prix Belgium||6th|
|1981||IFBB Grand Prix Wales||5th|
|1981||IFBB Universe Pro.||3rd|
|1981||WABBA Pro. World Cup||7th|
|1981||IFBB World Grand Prix||4th|
|1981||IFBB World Pro. Championships||3rd|
|1982||IFBB Night of Champions||6th|
|1982||IFBB World Pro. Championships||6th|
|*1983||IFBB Grand Prix Denver||winner|
|1983||IFBB Grand Prix England||4th|
|1983||IFBB Grand Prix Las Vegas||6th|
|1983||IFBB Grand Prix Portland||2nd|
|1983||IFBB Grand Prix Sweden||6th|
|1983||IFBB Grand Prix Switzerland||6th|
|1983||IFBB World Pro. Championships||8th|
|1984||Canada Pro. Cup||3rd|
|1984||IFBB World Grand Prix||3rd|
|1985||IFBB Night of Champions||9th|
|1986||IFBB Los Angeles Pro. Championships||5th|
|1986||IFBB Night of Champions||4th|
|1986||IFBB World Pro. Championships||9th|
|1987||IFBB Night of Champions||did not place|
|1987||IFBB World Pro. Championships||8th|
|1988||IFBB Grand Prix US Pro.||6th|
|1988||IFBB Niagara Falls Pro. Invitational||5th|
|1988||IFBB Night of Champions||8th|
|1988||IFBB World Pro. Championships||8th|
|1989||IFBB Grand Prix France||11th|
|1989||IFBB Grand Prix Germany||9th|
|1989||IFBB Grand Prix Spain||9th|
|1989||IFBB Grand Prix Spain (2)||9th|
|1989||IFBB Grand Prix Sweden||11th|
|1990||IFBB Arnold Classic||6th|
|1990||IFBB Houston Pro. Invitational||6th|
|1990||IFBB Ironman Pro. Invitational||8th|
|1991||WBF Grand Prix||11th|
|1993||IFBB Chicago Pro. Invitational||13th|
|1993||IFBB Night of Champions||did not place|
|1993||IFBB Pittsburgh Pro. Invitational||16th|
|1994||IFBB Ironman Pro. Invitational||14th|
|1994||IFBB San Jose Pro. Invitational||16th|
- "The Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding, first edition, page 449.
- WBBG Pro. Mr. World