Lisa Lyon – Pioneer, Photo Gallery

Born 1953 Los Angeles, California, USA Lisa Lyon competed only once in her brief bodybuilding career, but what she lacked in competitive longevity, she more than made up for in helping the women’s side of the sport gain initial media attention. Although Lyon briefly served as unofficial chairperson for women’s bodybuilding in its infancy, her fondest desire was to explore bodybuilding as an artistic medium. Elevating bodybuilding to the level of fine art, Lyon was photographed by the likes of Helmut Newton and Robert Mapplethorpe, and was the first female bodybuilder to appear in Playboy (October 1980).


7 Responses to “Lisa Lyon – Pioneer, Photo Gallery”

  1. Ken O'Neill January 30, 2010 at 10:51 pm #

    what ever happened to Lisa Lyon. Frank Zane told me many times over how bright, creative, and spiritual she was. Rumors hold she spent time in mental institutions, resurfaced in photos with Patti Smith, then became John Ivy’s ‘adopted daughter.’ I do know she was phi beta campa for her undergrad and took a ma in film science, grew up in the film industry in little house on the prairie before bodybuilding, excelled in kendo. As such, even time in a mental gig suggests an outsider copying with the insanity of mass, lemming culture, not a crazy person. Thirty years ago I was enthralled and captivated not only by the aesthetics of this amazing young woman, but all the more so by the hints of an amazing person – amplified by what Frank and Christine Zane had to say about her.

    I write infrenguently for Iron Man Magazine, mostly covering alternative paradigms of training or leading edge new breakthroughs from the dominant paradigm. I’d love to catch up with Lisa, maybe do an article synergistically working with her. I knew John Lilly very slightly through Gregory Bateson, and that threw programs offered on University of California Santa Cruz campus in 1976. Aside from 50 years of training, I also hold certification equivalent to that of a Zen master since 1972 earned the old fashioned way in Kyoto, Japan, and a lot of work in consciousness studies, postmodern theory, post-colonial theory, la symbolique, etc. All of which is to say I ain’t no patriarchal, bone headed, masculine chauvinist musclehead. I also love what I’ve seen of your sites extolling if not commodifying feminine aesthetics.

    best regards & stay strong

    Ken O’Neill
    Wimberley, Texas

  2. len mckeon August 27, 2010 at 6:29 pm #


    just read your article enquiring about Lisa Lyon …managed to locate some Youtube videos on her ‘ major arcana ‘ etc …you have probably seen them ..or if not i could send you the link …

    I have often wondered about Lisa as well …so i hope you locate her ..I notice there is a photography service called Lisa Lyon Photography ..maybe , since she was involved in Film ..this is hers’..?

    Best of luck


  3. Susan Beckett December 24, 2011 at 10:48 am #

    You certainly do not come across as a patriarchal bone headed masculine chauvinist musclehead as a female body builder of thirty two years we know there is enough of them out there. I agree with everything you said about one of my idols she is unique and a fascinating person and I personally would be thrilled if you were to do a piece on her. Stay strong.

  4. r.lambroschino April 29, 2012 at 8:12 am #

    A true true beauty ephemeral in time eternal outside of it. These glimpses remain

  5. STEPHAN TODD September 12, 2012 at 1:33 pm #

    I hope that she resurfaces someday, she was and still is a great inspiration for people of any gender and It would be my dying wish to meet her. Although I was very young at the time she competed and became a public figure, the fact is that she is both timeless and ageless and she truly is a superior woman.

    Best regards,


  6. Pamela Arnone July 31, 2013 at 4:05 am #

    I met Lisa in 1983 then lost contact after she was in VAMP movie. Hope she is alright, really liked her and was disappointed we didn’t stay in touch. She gave me her book and signed it for me. PAMELA ARNONE we were one year apart in age so Lisa is probably 55 now

  7. peter Palpin August 14, 2014 at 1:58 pm #

    i knew lisa and she was everytihng the top guy said and i would love to talk to you. did you ever find her. i a few times have gone looking for her she was so cool a true artest. she was in love with Jay Silva who was training with her and rob b rob-in-sin. who hates god down here sad for him. and way jay was killed. shot sad but true but he passed his 111 year at best test. and Lisa is too. i was so attracted to her body face and soul heart she was aww some but i knew she was in love with Jay and never thought she would be remote lee intererested in me. any way lisa if you are other there me and the one and only clear and dear would love to meet up with you as you would say wo wo wo wo wo wo wo wo:):):)

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