Hall of Fame bodybuilder and Manteca resident Ed Corney – who had a career spanning nearly four decades – has passed away.
The Hawaii native who was immortalized in the legendary bodybuilding film “Pumping Iron” – which helped establish the career of Arnold Schwarzenegger – suffered a brain aneurism late on Christmas Day that claimed his life one week later. Corney was 85 years old.
News of his passing circulated on Facebook amongst multiple generations that he mentored in the gym – from people who worked at the places that he trained at to former training partners that have known him for decades.
Known for helping to popularize “posing” in bodybuilding competitions, Corney had a reputation for always taking the time to talk to people about the sport that he loved.
Former Manteca resident and Hollywood stunt performer Harry Mok said that he met Corney decades ago in San Jose, and the elder statesman of bodybuilding took him under his wing and helped him train to get the physique that he needed for a burgeoning Hollywood career.
“I was very fortunate to be trained by Ed early on – he gave me a huge amount of support, knowing that I was in the film industry and wanted to have that Bruce Lee physique,” Mok said. “When I found out Ed lived in Manteca, and ran into him at the gym, it was a nice reunion.
“Ed will surely be missed by many around the globe.”
Corney finished second in the Under 200-pound division at the 1975 Mr. Olympia Championships – a competition that was filmed for “Pumping Iron” and showcased the battle between Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno, who would go on to become “The Incredible Hulk” – and built a resume that included a first place Masters Olympia win in 1995 in the 60-and-over category.
His late start in the competition circuit – his first competition was at age 33 where he won the Mr. Fremont title in 1967 – made him the eldest of the group that he competed against, Mok said, especially against the younger, up-and-coming bodybuilders like Schwarzenegger. But being known as “one of the best posers of his time” helped distinguish him as one of the best in the world, even during the Golden Era of bodybuilding.
He was inducted in the International Federation of Bodybuilding Hall of Fame in 2004, five years after he suffered a heart attack during shoulder surgery, and then suffered a pair of strokes as an after-effect of the heart attack.
Even the health issues couldn’t keep him out of the gym.
“After the stroke, Ed continued to train, and he was certainly a die-hard when it came to training,” Mok said. “He was certainly a die-hard when it came to training – he was able to maintain his workouts for quite some time.
“I hadn’t seen Ed for a while and was just speaking about him the other day – I was concerned about his health. Then I heard the news.”
Corney was an avid Corvette enthusiast, and according to an interview with his grandson on YouTube, was shopping for one just a week prior to his passing.
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