Famous bodybuilder and fighter for healthy sports Bill Pearl was born in 1930 in Prainville, Oregon. He was born in a very difficult time for America, the period of the “Great Depression” and this left its imprint on his childhood. The family had to travel a lot in search of work and a quiet life, because Bill spent his early years simply on the road. In the end, the Pearl family settled in Yakima, Washington.
As a child, Bill wanted only one thing – to become not just strong, but the strongest. This desire did not appear in an empty place: a guy from a large poor family did not just get along with peers and often had to defend his point of view not only with words. Thanks to the hard work that Bill had to deal with since the age of 10, his physical development was many times better than that of his peers. However, he lacked the main thing – real high-grade training with “iron”, the existence of which he had not even suspected for a long time.
The turning point in his life came at 14 years. Then his friend came to his home and brought with him something that for a long time will become Bill’s favorite voodoo – a magazine about bodybuilding. From its pages on the young Pearl looked stars such as John Grimek, Clarence Ross and very young Steve Reeves. They inspired Bill to take part in this heavy sport.
So, now Bill knew how to build the body of his dreams, but to fulfill his goal he lacked another important tool – simulators, even the most primitive ones. They simply did not exist in his small town. Therefore, Pearl worked all summer, diligently shore up every dollar earned and in autumn ordered his first bar. However, it had to wait a few more months, since there was war and iron in the world, first of all, it went for other purposes. When his hands touched the bar for the first time, he finally became convinced that his whole destiny would be connected with bodybuilding.
Over the years of schooling, Bill not only succeeded in his training, but also became a storehouse of information about bodybuilding and its heroes. Most of all, he admired the “father” of bodybuilding legendary Eugene Sandov. By the way, Bill grew strong and stocky young man, in addition to his individual training, he also engaged in football and swimming, which contributed to the development of his shoulders. He was not inclined to the rapid development of muscles due to his natural data, but he achieved everything through hard and painstaking work.
When the boy turned 20 years old, he was called to serve in the US Navy, where there was practically no time for training, but the loads were enough without it. Two years later, he was sent to San Diego, where he was given the opportunity to train in a real gym. A week later he became a member of the Leo Stern sports club, where he received not only access to the simulators, but also a proper leader. In the same year, he first appeared on the podium as a bodybuilder at the Mr. San Diego competition, where he took third place.
1953 was the best in the career of Bill Pearl: he won the tournament in Southern California, received the title of Mr. America and Mr. Universe. In 1954, Bill leaves military service and moves to Sacramento, where he opens his own gym. This became possible thanks to the bonds that he received for the period of service (4 years). Since he himself was very fond of bodybuilding, to make his gym the best – it was a matter of principle and Bill did not spare the means for this. At the same time, he continued to actively train and in 1956 again won the title of Mr. US. Then for 5 years he was the main competitor of all outstanding bodybuilders of the time, especially the intense competition was between Bill Perle and Reg Park. In 1961, Pearl won the professional contest Mister Universe NABBA, held in London, where each of the judges gave him the first place.
In 1962 Bill Pearl sold the club in Sacramento and opened a new one in Los Angeles. In addition, Pearl could not sit still, he wanted to constantly prove to the world that he was the strongest man on the planet, both in body and spirit. Bill set records of the country for press, deadlift and many other exercises with “iron.” He also traveled around the world, visited many countries and organized exhibitions and demonstrations in every country in support of healthy bodybuilding. He began to be recognized in the streets and the circle of admirers of his talent grew exponentially. Pearl’s body became almost legendary. Bill Pearl was especially known because he led a very active lifestyle, and did not close himself only in training. It was his secret – how to maintain an excellent form of muscles and incredible physical strength, not sitting out for days in the gym.
In 1967, he decided for the last time to take part in the contest Mr. Universe and again won it unanimously. Many began to admit that at that time Bill Pearl was the strongest bodybuilder in his weight class. The next four years he spent in trying to create a sports club that would be interesting to very different layers of the population. He wanted to unite people under one sporting principle. In 1970, Pearl decided to open a private medical clinic accessible to anyone. Thanks to large financial investments, it becomes the best in the US at that time.
Interestingly, since 1969, Bill Pearl is a vegetarian and does not eat animal products except milk and eggs. The skeptics thought that this step was tantamount to suicide – a bodybuilder-vegetarian. It sounded quite unnatural and many decided that Perle’s career as a bodybuilder had already been completed. However, he had other considerations on this score.
There were rumors that Bill did not take part in the competition, as he feared defeat from younger rivals. When these rumors reached him, a proud nature and a desire to be better as a child, Pearl declared his desire to take part in the show Mr. Universe 1971. At that time he turned 41 years old. Before the competition there were still about six months and Bill entirely devoted to his preparation for the contest. He categorically refused to take any medications and only relied on himself.
The famous Victoria Palace full of spectators, literally roared with delight, when the chief judge of the tournament announced: “The winner of the 23rd annual professional tournament Mr. Universe becomes … Bill Pearl!”. He did the really impossible – he proved to everyone that a person is not subject to age or medical achievements. But still he understood that he was already old for such contests. As Bill himself said, he “felt like an old man who wanted to behave like a child.” That’s why in 1971 he left the bodybuilding as a real champion.
However, he still did not leave the sport and started cycling for three years. During this time, he reduced his weight and gained an excellent athletic form. In 1975, he left the world of sports and decided to devote himself entirely to mental work: lectures in support of bodybuilding and healthy sports, as well as writing the book “Keys to the inner universe.”