Bodybuilder Joe Mack, known as the former “Mayor of Muscle Beach Venice,” recently received a Lifetime Achievement Award named after him, recognizing volunteer service for weightlifting programs and contributions in the 1990s rebirth of Muscle Beach.
The “Joe Mack Lifetime Achievement Award” was presented to Mack during a Muscle Beach Venice membership reunion dinner at the Sidewalk Cafe on Ocean Front Walk.
Former committee members who trained at the Muscle Beach facility with Mack and worked with him as Los Angeles Recreation and Parks volunteers gathered at the event to honor his service.
“After years of recognizing the need for a long-overdue salute to honor Joe Mack’s achievements and leadership at Muscle Beach Venice, we’re pleased to formally recognize his model of leadership at Muscle Beach Venice,” said Cliff Mosby, past chairman of the Muscle Beach Venice Membership Committee.
During the years Mack served in Muscle Beach, then-champion bodybuilder and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger endorsed Mack’s initiatives and encouraged actions by leaders of the Department of Recreation and Parks to embrace the proposals of Mack and other weight facility volunteers.
Los Angeles city officials worked in partnership with the Muscle Beach Venice Membership Committee in an effort that led to a revitalization of Muscle Beach.
“Without Joe’s dedication to the Weight Pen as a leading volunteer and the inspiration and credibility from Arnold Schwarzenegger’s endorsement, we would simply not have had as dramatic and successful a renovation and renewal of the image of Muscle Beach Venice that we have today,” Mosby noted.
Completed in 1991, the renovated Muscle Beach Venice facility reflected the city’s collaboration with the weightlifting membership, Muscle Beach representatives said. The process included design input for the architecture, and layout of the weight training equipment, stage and facility amenities, as well as revitalized promotion of the site that resulted in international celebration and media attention, the representatives said.
“It was a privilege to have worked with Joe as he grew in his leadership role,” said Darlene Galindo, former recreation director at the Venice Beach Recreation Center. “He richly deserves this lifetime recognition, as he not only devoted substantial volunteer time and energies to Muscle Beach Venice, but also benefited future generations.”
Mack’s contributions led to the City of Los Angeles formally dedicating the title “Muscle Beach Venice” with the word “Venice” added to distinguish it from the original Muscle Beach in Santa Monica. The Los Angeles Recreation and Parks Commission also unanimously voted to officially adopt a logo donated by Mack and fellow volunteers.
In addition, Mack’s efforts led to the city creating an official proclamation to recognize May 31st as annual “Muscle Beach Venice Day.”
The renewed spotlight on the Venice facility in the 1980s and ’90s also paved the way for efforts to honor the legendary site of the original Muscle Beach in Santa Monica, just south of the Santa Monica Pier, where the fitness boom of the 20th century occurred, Muscle Beach representatives said.
The original facility can be traced to pioneer bodybuilders such as Joe Gold, Jack LaLanne and Steve “Hercules” Reeves.
In 1989 the City of Santa Monica, led by then Mayor Denny Zane, subsequently rededicated the original Muscle Beach site.