NEW YORK — Dan Lurie, whose chiseled physique and feats of strength earned him the title of America’s most muscular man and made him a cover model for fitness magazines and a walking promoter for both the sport and the business of bodybuilding, died Nov. 6 in Roslyn, N.Y. He was 90.
Not as recognizable a name as Charles Atlas, Joe Weider, Arnold Schwarzenegger, or Lou Ferrigno, Mr. Lurie was not just strong but freakishly strong.
According to his website, Mr. Lurie once did 1,665 push-ups in 90 minutes, and in a photo he can be seen at age 17 holding a 150-pound barbell above his head with one arm.
Doctors determined he was born with a heart defect, and they told his parents he was not likely to live past 5. Yet by the time he was 19 he had finished second overall in the 1942 Amateur Athletic Union Mr. America contest, at which he was judged to have the best arms, best legs, and the second-best back, and was voted most muscular for the first of three times.
In the 1960s, Mr. Lurie started a magazine, and later he wrote to Ronald Reagan, informing him that as the publisher of Muscle Training Illustrated he was naming him the fittest president in history. Reagan invited Mr. Lurie, then 60, to the White House, where in 1984 they arm-wrestled.
The president, who had just turned 73, won, raising some eyebrows about the legitimacy of the contest. Mr. Lurie was silent on the matter, but years later, on his website, he confessed that he had thrown the match. “I wasn’t going to beat the president,” he wrote.