Sep 1, 2013

Richard Bennett: The Unknown Bodybulder

During the Golden Age of Bodybuilding, when Physique Pictorial and many other magazines were distributing semi-nude (and nude) photos of musclemen to a worldwide, mostly gay male audiences, a surprising number of models managed to make the transition to tv or movies: Davis Cole, Doug McClure, Sammy Jackson, Gary Conway, William Smith, and so on.  But most, due to limited acting ability, lack of media contacts, or lack of interest, found their way into other careers.  Some are so obscure that, half a century later, we know practically nothing about them.

According to the Vintage Male Physique blog, Richard Bennett was photographed in both nude and semi-nude poses, primarily by Danny Fitzgerald.  Not much is known about Danny Fitzgerald, except that he published under the name Demi-Dieux, Demi-Gods, in magazines like Demi Gods and Young Physique during the 1960s.

But they weren't just nudes for their own sake; they were exquisitely composed, studies in light and dark, hardness and softness, strength and fragility.

And intensely homoerotic.  No way could you buy these magazines under the pretense that you were looking for musclebuilding tips.

He drew his models primarily from New York City, often selecting toughs, street hoods, and hustlers.  But Richard Bennett wasn't among them.  His perfect physique is not the haphazard muscle of a street hood, but of someone with the time and money to spend countless hours at the gym, sculpting his body with artistic precision.

Richard Bennett was not a pro bodybuilder, but he does appear on the rosters of amateur competitions from the late 1940s through 1965.  He had no wins, but he could have.

What was his life like, before and after the shots?  What did he do for a living?  Who were his friends and lovers?  Was he gay, bisexual, heterosexual?

A correspondent stated that he still lives in New York City and he has a house upstate, so he must be an economic success.  And he has a brother who looks like James Dean.

That's all.  Otherwise, even in the Age of the Internet, Richard Bennett remains a mystery.