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Driven: The Tony Pearson Story – Film Review

Driven: The Tony Pearson Story  – Tony Pearson’s Mind/Body Triumphs

by Dr. Laura Wilhelm, LauraWil Intercultural

At the age of 63 when most of us are hobbling towards retirement, bodybuilder Tony Pearson won the title of AAU Masters Mr. Universe 2020.  This was the last in a seemingly endless string of honors for the man known as “The Michael Jackson of Bodybuilding.”

Tony Pearson’s athletic journey began when he had to rehabilitate his knee following a high school wrestling injury.  The required physical training at George Turner’s famous gym in Clayton, Missouri soon became an end in itself, and Pearson moved to Venice Beach in 1976 at the age of nineteen to compete as a bodybuilder.

The handsome young man so full of heart soon attracted the attention of none other than Arnold Schwarzenegger out on Muscle Beach.  That year Pearson won his first title, Mr. Venice Beach, and Schwarzenegger featured him in his bodybuilding encyclopedia co-written by Bill Dobbins.  Pearson soon went on to win the Mr. America contest in 1978 at the early age of twenty-one.

And the rest was bodybuilding history as Pearson pulled down title after title all over the world for forty long hard years.  These thrilling events are described in the biographical documentary DRIVEN: THE TONY PEARSON STORY released by Tequila Mockingbird Productions on October 6th, 2023.

Many viewers of DRIVEN will be shocked to learn of the childhood abuse and neglect endured by one of the world’s strongest men.  Yet Pearson’s will to survive and thrive never ceased to move him forward towards ultimate triumph.

Bittersweet hero tales like DRIVEN will always be part of America’s national psyche.  Here even an overlooked loner from unfavorable circumstances can succeed on the world stage and come to be loved by countless fans.  DRIVEN should inspire many to seize the day and finally fulfill their potential.


Driven: The Tony Pearson Story premieres on major streaming platforms in all English language speaking territories, including Apple, Amazon, Google Play and VUDU, on October 6, 2023.  https://generationiron.com/watch-driven-tony-pearson-movie/

Dr. Laura Wilhelm holds a B.A. in Russian and Classics from Reed College and a Ph.D. in Russian language, literature, and linguistics from the University of Kansas.  Born in Philadelphia, Laura has lived in Los Angeles since 1994 and covered the exciting local and international entertainment scene in publications such as Cold Heat News, FVM Global, Hollywood Weekly, The Hollywood Times, Indie Entertainment Magazine, and Magic Image Hollywood Magazine.  Dr. Wilhelm runs an award-winning consulting company called LauraWil Intercultural; teaches courses on professional writing and public speaking; and serves as a board member, judge, and media partner for the French Riviera Film Festival. 

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