Dave Draper

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David Draper
Personal info
Born (1942-04-16) April 16, 1942 (age 79)
Secaucus, New Jersey, United States

David Draper (born April 16, 1942) is an American bodybuilder, actor, and author.

Early life[edit]

Draper was born in Secaucus, New Jersey.[1] His weight training began at the age of ten and was a well-formed habit by the time he was about 12, in the mid-1950s.[citation needed] In high school he participated in wrestling, gymnastics and swimming, but was most inspired by training with weights.[citation needed]



At 21, he won the Mr. New Jersey title. Six months later he moved to Santa Monica, California, working for the Weider Barbell Company until 1969. During this period he also worked in motion pictures.

In the early days of bodybuilding, Draper says, "There wasn't a whole bunch of encouragement or inspiration from a society which considered you either stupid or egotistical and probably a sissy."

In California, Draper initially trained at a gym many called "The Dungeon", which he described as "a large, awful space dug out of the ground on the corner of 4th and Broadway", and later trained at the original Gold's Gym. He trained in the company of the world's top bodybuilders which included Frank Zane, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Franco Columbu, Mike Katz and Robby Robinson.[citation needed]

Draper has been open about his past use of anabolic steroids: "I was ten years into my training, 235 pounds and already Mr. America before steroids came on the scene. I used them sparingly under a doctor's supervision and noticed marked improvement in my muscularity and separation." [2]

Draper is 6'0" (1.83 m) tall, and his bodybuilding competition weight was approximately 235 lb. (106,6 kg).[citation needed]

TV guest appearances[edit]

Appearing as David The Gladiator, Draper was a movie host on KHJ Channel 9 in Los Angeles, from 1964 to 1965. From 8–10 pm Saturday nights, he hosted a 'sword and sandal' movie from the 1950s and '60s.

Draper played himself in the 1967 episode of The Beverly Hillbillies titled, "Mr. Universe Muscles In," in which Granny thinks that he is ill with "the barbell bloat." The storyline included Draper suggesting that Ellie May is pretty enough to be "Miss Universe" which had the Clampetts thinking since he was Mr. Universe, that he wanted to marry Elly May, not understanding that "Universe" was not his last name.

He appeared in the 1967 movie, "Don't Make Waves" and had a scene with co-star Sharon Tate.

He appeared in The Monkees playing Bulk, in the October 16, 1967 episode "I Was a 99-lb. Weakling". He later appeared in Here Come the Brides in the December 19, 1969 episode, "Lorenzo Bush".

Personal life[edit]

After a reported battle with alcoholism in the late 1970s, and with rehabilitation which he gained sobriety in 1983, Draper resumed his bodybuilding career to guest-pose at bodybuilding competitions and appear at exhibitions.[3]

Dave Draper continues to train with weights into his 70s, and to write, including a free weekly newsletter, emailed and published on his website nonstop since 1999.[citation needed]

He lives in Aptos, California.[4]

Competition history[edit]

  • 1962 Mr. New Jersey[5]
  • 1965 IFBB Mr. America Tall Class & Overall, 1st
  • 1966 IFBB Mr. Universe Tall Class & Overall, 1st
  • 1967 Mr. Olympia 4th
  • 1970 AAU Mr. World 3rd
  • 1970 IFBB Mr. World Tall & Overall, 1st
  • 1970 NABBA Mr. Universe Tall, 3rd


Beverly Hillbillies 6 x 06


  • Brother Iron, Sister Steel ISBN 1-931046-65-4
  • Your Body Revival: Weight Loss Straight Talk ISBN 1-931046-34-4
  • Iron On My Mind ISBN 1-931046-77-8
  • West Coast Bodybuilding Scene Dick Tyler with Dave Draper, ISBN 1-931046-29-8
  • Iron In My Hands

See also[edit]


External links[edit]