National Fitness Hall of Fame Museum & Institute

Educate * Motivate * Inspire


Bill Pearl

2010 NFHOF Inductee

NFHOF “Lifetime Achievement Award” Recipient - 2010


Hometown: Yakima, Washington



Bill was born in 1930 in Prineville, Oregon; however, because of the depression, the Pearl family was on the move a great deal and finally settled in Yakima, Washington.

From an early age Bill had an intense desire to be strong and well built.  He was quite a stocky kid and interested in sports.  He played softball, ran track, was on the school swimming team and played football. There were two particular sports in which he made rapid progress: wrestling and bodybuilding.  In 1950 Bill entered the U.S. Navy and was eventually stationed in San Diego, California, where he joined Leo Stern's Gym.  He entered his first physique contest in 1952 and placed third in the Mr. San Diego contest.  Come 1953 and Bill Pearl took the physique world by storm winning the Mr. Oceanside, Mr. Southern California, Mr. California, Mr. America and Mr. Universe titles all in one year.

After competition, Bill was in constant demand as a guest poser. He also had a fabulous strength act which included blowing up hot water bottles until they would burst, spike bending, chain breaking, and tearing auto license plates in half with his bare hands.

Bill opened several health clubs and gyms and for many years he was a consultant for Life Fitness helping to educate the public about the numerous benefits of exercise training.
Bill and his wife Judy, moved to Southern Oregon, where they found their ideal haven in a healthful, clean environment, overlooking the beautiful Rogue Valley. The climate and their wonderful neighbors suit them perfectly, while the surrounding hills and the valley provide them with a deep sense of peace and tranquility when they are at home.  Bill still gets up regularly at 3:00 a.m. to train six days a week and enjoys working on his antique automobiles in his spare time.