Earl Maynard – Mr. Universe
Earl Maynard is a world-renowned bodybuilder, actor, and filmmaker from Barbados. He is an inspiration to the world who has amassed an incredible collection of achievements including:
— being listed in Fitness Halls of Fame across the globe,
— starring in 17 Hollywood blockbusters such as the Jackie Chan movies,
— winning Mr. Universe three times for his bodybuilding,
— writing, producing and directing many successful movies,
— trained with the legendary Mohammed Ali.
This guy, from the rock that is Barbados, rocks – and has a reputation for being one of the most relaxed, hardest men alive.
Unbelievably, it wasn’t always this way, and his body didn’t come naturally to him. At seventeen Earl was a skinny, puny, weak teenager weighing just 120 pounds, despite being five foot 11 inches.
What’s more, he was often sick and in feeble health and struggled with bronchitis and pneumonia. Earl decided that something had to be done and he joined a gym to try and improve his health.
“I was always ill – if there was something going around, I caught it. So I started working out and bodybuilding to improve my health and get stronger; however, I never envisaged it would lead to bodybuilding and world recognition.”
Earl remembers that it took nine months before he saw a marked improvement in his body and he had been going to the gym for one and a half hours a day, four days a week.
Earl’s hard work paid off – after nine months training he looked healthy, stacked and healthy. Following this success, he entered the ‘Mr. Junior Barbados’ bodybuilding competition. To his amazement, he won, and his success encouraged him to enter two more local contests, in which he came first again.
After this Earl realized he had done more than just achieve good health; he had found his niche in life. So he entered three further competitions in a British magazine called ‘Health and Strength,’ which was extremely popular in Barbados at the time.
They were a series of three monthly contests titled:
— The best before, and after success.
— The outstanding overseas entrant of the month.
— Who could be a national star in due course.
You had to buy each magazine to get the coupon you needed to enter, and your entry consisted of a ticket and a photograph sent to England each time.
It wasn’t easy, but Earl saved up enough money to pay for the magazine each month and managed to enter all three competitions. It was worth it. Earl won all three and was invited to England to compete. Earl’s career had taken off!
Earl flew to England to compete; however, once there he caught chicken pox and wasn’t able to take part in the competitions. Ironically, he felt lucky he did not compete as he didn’t feel he was good enough to compete internationally.
He spent the next year in England, training hard so that the following year he could enter again, beat the competition and get to the top – and that’s precisely what he did.
The following year Earl took part in the competition for the first time and won Mr. London, AND Mr. England; what’s more, he was the first non-white to win Mr. England – Earl had attained the unthinkable!
Three years later he entered Mr. Universe and came seventh, but before he could begin again, he was called up to do service in ‘The Royal Air Force.’
Earl recalls that this was amazing for his self-development – the Royal Air Force was supportive of him as an athlete, and he was able to train hard.
“My military training was fantastic for me as an athlete and as a person. Following the experience, I went on to win Mr. Universe and Mr. World.”
There have been many high points to Earl’s career; for instance, starring in the blockbuster Hollywood movies ‘The Deep‘ and ‘The Brawl,’ and being placed in the ‘England Athletics Hall of Fame.’
Incredibly, Earl has not only had a successful career, but he has also found time to have a family.
Earl now lives with his wife in Christ Church, Barbados and they have four daughters and one son. One of his daughters has followed in his footsteps and is the head of one of the most significant fitness facilities in California.
Throughout his, career Earl has trained with Mohammed Ali and the Kansas City Chief’s American football team.
“I have met some wonderful people who have helped me in my development. I have been in the UK and US Halls of Fame, and have been honored all over the world including Germany, South Korea, Israel, and Lebanon.”
However, out of all the highlights of Earl’s career, filmmaking is the thing that touched him, and he continues to work in this field today.
“It came naturally to me to perform in movies as I had already learned to be adaptable. I normally played the bad guy, and ‘The Deep’ made a lot of money. I acted with some top people such as Nick Nolte and Jackie Chan, and it gave me worldwide recognition.”
Earl quickly realized that he was passionate about film and decided that by writing, producing and directing his films he could lengthen his career.
In 2006 he wrote and directed ‘Flight of the Mongoose,’ and he has done four more films since. Earl has recently been working on a pilot for a film called ‘Bajan Blue,’ a film for British audiences, which is about an ex-military man who is mentored by Earl and then falls on hard times, such as going through a divorce and is unable to cope. He goes back to Earl, his old mentor, in Barbados and they work together to transform his life.
“I wrote and directed all my films and am I am doing a new one called ‘Deadly Calypso,’ my latest one.”
Earl has also produced a documentary called ‘Slavery to independence and beyond‘ and ‘Stalwarts of the Caribbean‘ (which highlights the people who came out of Combermere School and what they achieved).
Earl revealed that he is going to live in Barbados for the rest of his life and continue to make movies. He has people on the ground who promote his films overseas.
“It’s tough as you get very little assistance from the powers that be, but I have my equipment and my crew, and there is some good talent on the island. I once worked with a bunch of Cubans, and the Barbados youngsters learned so much from them.”
Earl would like to see the Barbados Government get more involved in the film industry as he believes it could do wonders for the Barbados tourist industry.
Earl still trains at least four times a week and has a private gym in his house. His advice to other athletes including bodybuilders is:
“Don’t take shortcuts – get good nutrition and sensible exercise as your health is more important than your physique.”