Eugene Sandow, possibly history’s first famous bodybuilder has the notable distinction of being one of the very first people ever hired to appear in a motion picture.
In 1893, the Edison Kenitiscope was a brand new invention, and the folks at Edison Labs were looking to take the technology from a novelty to a full on attraction. This is not the first kinescope film, as many earlier ones survive, just the first to feature a hired performer.
Sandow himself was an innovator who took the existing strongman tradition and elaborated it to include aesthetics and competitive display.
Sandow was, famously, billed as the strongest man in the world at his time, but he used his platform to publish books and encourage the growth of muscle photography.
Sandow’s first edison reels were among the most successfull kinescope reels of their time and he was called back in 1903 for a second set.
Being very Early Sandow’s writings went on to influence practically all modern bodybuilders and his philosophy of training most on the large muscles has an impact on bodybuilding to this day.
And Sandow was famously camera-friendly to the point of being in the running for the most photographed man of his time.