Tony Sansone at his peak . Nowadays nearly everyone is a member of a gym, and perfecting the body beautiful is taken to the point of obsession. This phenomenon can be traced back to one man: Anthony Sansone (1905-1987), the first male physique icon and the most admired bodybuilder of his time. Like his contemporary Rudolph Valentino, Sansone was one of the first to make male beauty a desirable commodity. Images of Sansone's body spurred the physical culture movement that would sweep the country. , Sansone set and shaped the physical ideal that a whole generation of men would follow. A charismatic figure, Sansone moved within a number of worlds and interacted with some illustrious characters: art (Gertrude Whitney), bodybuilding (Charles Atlas), dance (Alexandre Gavrilov), Hollywood (Johnny Weissmuller), theater (David Belasco), and photography (Nickolas Muray).