Bob Paris

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For other people named Robert Paris, see Robert Paris (disambiguation).
Bob Paris
Born Robert Clark Paris
(1959-12-14) December 14, 1959 (age 55)
Columbus, Indiana
Spouse(s) Brian LeFurgey (1996 – present)[1]

Bob Paris (born Robert Clark Paris on December 14, 1959) is an American-Canadian writer, actor, public speaker, civil rights activist and former professional bodybuilder. Paris was the 1983 NPC American National and IFBB World Bodybuilding Champion, Mr. Universe.[1]


Early life[edit]

Paris was born and grew up in Brown County and Columbus Indiana. From a very early age, he was both artistic and athletic. He won National Scholastic awards for his drawings and paintings and wrote short stories in his spare time.[2] Paris was also an avid outdoors man who dedicated a large portion of his time to hiking and backpacking through the wooded hills of southern Indiana; Paris as well would ride his bike through the back roads and canoe the rivers. In high school Paris's interest in acting and theater started early, Paris was in several musicals throughout high school. Moreover, Paris was also involved in his school's debate team and a member of the International Thespian Society. Paris was involved in many sports in high school, he did track and field, golf, and was a talented football player for his school.[2] By the time Paris was a Sophomore, he discovered an old, dusty weight-machine in a back room of his school's basketball gym. After experimenting with weight training, Paris started to really put on some size and strength. Paris had eventually started to lose interest in team sports due to his progress with weight-lifting. From that discovery Paris knew he wanted to be a bodybuilder.[2]

After high school, Paris spent a summer in U.S Marine Corps boot camp at Parris Island, South Carolina. From there Paris started attending college at Indiana State University and later transferred to Indiana University in Bloomingdale. Paris really wanted to see more of the world so he moved to southern California to pursue his life and dreams of becoming a well-renowned bodybuilder and actor. Paris also had plans to begin writing. When Paris first moved to California he had no contacts or friends; He often had to live out of his car. But after 2 years of living in Los Angeles, he had won 2 competitions, Mr. Los Angeles and Mr. Southern California. Paris's career had finally started.[2]


In 2006, Flex Magazine ranked Bob Paris the most aesthetic athlete in the history of bodybuilding.[3] Renowned for both his aesthetics and artistic approach toward the sport, he was also a dedicated advocate for the rights of athletes[citation needed] and an outspoken voice in the push for drug testing at the professional level.[1] He retired from bodybuilding in 1991.[1]

In addition to his writing career, Bob Paris remains a civil rights advocate and public speaker. He is also a model and a classically trained theater actor. Since rising to fame in the early eighties, Bob Paris has appeared on the covers of scores of magazines worldwide.[1]

On October 10, 1998, he made his New York stage debut, starring at Carnegie Hall opposite Bea Arthur, Sandy Duncan, Michael Jeter, Philip Bosco, Alice Ripley and Tyne Daly in the Broadway musical, Jubilee as the character Mowgli.[4]

In 2009, he performed in a recurring role on the first season of the ABC Television series, Defying Gravity.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

In the July 1989 issue of Ironman, Paris came out in the media as a gay man. He was the world’s first male professional athlete, in any sport, to come out in the media while still an active competitor in his sport.[1][5]

The same year, Paris appeared on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" discussing marriage and being gay. Oprah asked Paris, "Bob, why not just stay in the closet." Paris explained how "you fall in love" and that it doesn't feel right to hide it. Paris and his former boyfriend, Rod Jackson, became symbols for gay marriage and advocated gay rights. Although, Paris's career ended up suffering because of him coming out as gay; Paris claims his life was even threatened through mail and by phone.[6] Paris lost about 80% of his bookings and endorsements for bodybuilding.[7]

After seven years of being together, Paris and Jackson split up. Paris admits that he kept trying to keep his relationship going even when he knew better; Paris felt that he would be giving gays a bad image if him and Jackson broke up.[6]

In 2012, Bob Paris explained on his website that he never wanted to be a "lifestyle bodybuilder." Paris enjoyed the discipline and focus bodybuilding engendered; he also simply just excelled at the sport.[8] To Paris, Bodybuilding allowed him to be artistic and a jock all at once, and also bodybuilding allowed him to exert his physical presence to the world in a way that demonstrated that he was a man. Today Paris is still active in fitness but not as serious as he once was. Paris believes exercise is part of having a more fulfilling life.[8] Paris saw himself more as a writer over anything else. Although Paris believes bodybuilding saved his life and structured him to be the man he is today.[8]

Today, Paris lives with his spouse, Brian LeFurgey, on an island near Vancouver, British Columbia. Together since 1996, Bob and Brian were legally married in British Columbia after the province equalized the marriage laws in 2003.[1]

Books written by Bob Paris[edit]

  • Beyond Built: Bob Paris' Guide to Achieving the Ultimate Look (1990)
  • Natural Fitness
  • Straight From The Heart (as co-author)
  • Gorilla Suit (1997)
  • Flawless: The 10-Week Total Image Method for Transforming Your Physique
  • Generation Queer: A Gay Man's Quest For Hope, Love & Justice
  • Prime: The Complete Guide to Being Fit, Looking Good, Feeling Great (2002)

Photography books of Bob Paris[edit]

Bodybuilding Career [1][edit]

As an amateur:

  • 1981 NPC Mr. Los Angeles, (Los Angeles, California), Light-heavyweight class and Overall: 1st
  • 1982 NPC Mr. Southern California (Pasadena, California), Light-heavyweight class and Overall: 1st
  • 1982 NPC California Muscle Classic (Pasadena, California), Light-heavyweight class and Overall: 1st
  • 1982 NPC Mr. California (San Jose, California), Light-heavyweight class: 2nd
  • 1982 NPC American National Championships [Mr. America] (New York City), Heavyweight class: 3rd
  • 1983 NPC National Championships [Mr. America] (San Jose, California), Heavyweight class and Overall: 1st
  • 1983 IFBB World Championships [Mr. Universe and professional qualifier] (Singapore), Heavyweight class and Overall: 1st

As a professional:

IFBB Mr. Olympia:

Additional professional competition highlights:

NPC = National Physique Committee IFBB = International Federation of BodyBuilders


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Legends of Bodybuilding 2, Winter, 2012, Robert Kennedy Publications
  2. ^ a b c d "Bob Paris". IMDb. Retrieved 2015-10-20. 
  3. ^ "Perfect 20: Presents The Top 20 Most Aesthetic Physiques Of All Time". Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  4. ^ "Jubilee Carnegie Hall Concert (1998)",
  5. ^ Ironman Magazine, July, 1989
  6. ^ a b "Mr. Universe Faced 'Tremendous' Repercussions After Coming Out In 1989". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2015-10-20. 
  7. ^ "Former Mr. Universe Bob Paris on Oprah, coming out, marriage - Gay Lesbian Bi Trans News Archive - Windy City Times". Retrieved 2015-11-03. 
  8. ^ a b c "Bob Paris". Retrieved 2015-11-03.