Ben was the co-founder of theInternational Federation of BodyBuilding & Fitness (IFBB) along with brother Joe Weider. He was a Canadian businessman from Montreal, well known in two areas: Bodybuilding and Napoleonic history.
In bodybuilding he founded and ran a physical fitness and sporting goods company bearing his name. He was IFBB president until October 29, 2006, when he announced his retirement.
In Napoleonic circles Weider was known as a forceful advocate of the theory that Napoleon was assassinated by a member of his entourage during his exile in Saint Helena. He co-authored several books, Assassination at St. Helena and Assassination at St. Helena Revisited, with Sten Forshufvud and The Murder Of Napoleon, with David Hapgood about this. Weider also founded the International Napoleonic Society, of which he was the President, and wrote numerous articles for this organization.
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, that country’s highest honour, which was established by Bonaparte himself. Weider was also a 1984 nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize, a member of the Quebec Sports Hall of Fame, and a Commander of the Venerable Order of St. John. He also had several honorary doctorate degrees. 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. In total, Ben accumulated over 66 awards and honours during his lifetime.
From 1998 to 2005, Ben Weider was Honorary Lieutenant Colonel of the 62nd (Shawinigan) Field Artillery Regiment, RCA. In 2005, he was promoted to Honorary Colonel of that military unit.
In 2008, he was given the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 20th Anniversary Arnold Classic (only the eighth time in the competition’s history that this award had been presented).
Ben owned one of the most extensive collections of Napoleon memorabilia, including one of the bicorne hats worn by Napoleon during the invasion of Russia in 1812, of which only 12 are known to still exist today. Three weeks before his death, Ben donated his entire set of priceless Napoleonic artifacts, over 60 pieces in all, to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, making it one of the largest collections of its kind in the world. Prince Charles Napoleon, great-great-grandson of Napoleon’s youngest brother Jerome, was on hand to inaugurate the museum’s new permanent gallery on Oct. 23.