The Napoleon Bonaparte Podcast #46 – In Memory of Ben Weider

Hi folks. As you’ll have seen in my last post, Ben Weider, President and Founder of the International Napoleonic Society, passed away on October 17, 2008. As Ben was a major influence in Napoleonic circles, a tireless promoter of the Emperor’s achievements, and, not least, a very close friend and colleague of David’s, we wanted to share with you some thoughts on Ben. I was at David’s house in Olympia this last weekend, shooting video of his AMAZING Napoleonic collection for our upcoming DVD pack, and we sat down to pay homage to Ben. This interview also features a chat with our friend Sean Richarz, composer of the musical Les Cent Jours De Napoleon (The 100 Days of Napoleon) that I mentioned when we were in Ajaccio last July and an opportunity for you to win one of five free signed CD’s of the music from the musical! Listen to the show to find out how to enter the competition.

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On behalf of David and myself, I want to sincerely THANK YOU ALL for going on this journey with us over the last couple of years. It’s been a highlight of my podcasting career to be able to produce this for you. Of course I need to thank the one and only J. David Markham for giving us all so much of his time and knowledge freely and willingly over these last couple of years. I really do believe he has not only taken us all on a wonderful journey, but has also left a benchmark in podcasting and education.

Ben Weider RIP

Ben Weider
Ben Weider, President of the International Napoleonic Society, passed away on October 17, aged 85.

I know David was a very close friend of Ben’s and I’m sure he’ll want to talk a lot about him and his contribution to Napoleonic history when I catch up with him for dinner on the weekend. I’ll shoot some video for the site.

I consider myself very fortunate to have received my Legion of Merit certificate and medallion in July, both signed by Ben.

Ben recently donated his awe-inspiring collection of Napoleonic memorabilia (including one of Napoleon’s hats) to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and was to attend the opening on Thursday this week. On the request of the Weider family, the exhibition will open to the public as planned on Friday, October 24.

For those of you who aren’t aware of Ben’s achievements, here’s a short list from his profile on Wikipedia:

– He was the co-founder of the International Federation of BodyBuilders (IFBB) along with brother Joe Weider;

– He co-authored a book, The Murder Of Napoleon, with Sten Forshufvud which promoted the view of Napoleon’s death from arsenic poisoning;

– Weider also founded the International Napoleonic Society, of which he was the President;

– In 1975 he was made a Member of the Order of Canada and was promoted to Officer in 2006.

– In 2000, he was made a Knight of the National Order of Quebec.

– On October 12, 2000, he received the French Legion of Honor.

– Weider was also a 1984 nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize

– The Institute on Napoleon and the French Revolution at the Florida State University History Department has recently created the Ben Weider Chair in Revolutionary Studies.

– From 1998 to 2005, Ben Weider was Honorary Lieutenant Colonel of the 62nd (Shawinigan) Field Artillery Regiment, RCA. In 2005, he was promoted to be the Honorary Colonel of that military unit. In October 2006 Ben Weider unexpectedly retired as president of the IFBB.

– In 2008, he was awarded the lifetime achievement award at the Arnold Classic 2008.

On behalf of all of our listeners, I’d like to thank Ben for his enormous contribution of the memory of Napoleon and send our sincere condolences to his family. My thanks also to Larry Bertoia for bringing the news of Ben’s passing to our attention.

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