Bob Delmonteque has died. He passed away on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 24, 2011 in Los Angeles. His age was reported as 85, which is a small fib, because when Bob reached 85, he remained 85 for the rest of his life. For his website, bobdelmonteque.com (still online as of this writing), Bob wrote a brief bio in which he says he was born Nov. 9, 1919, which would have made him 92. His given name was Mike Diaks.
The online autobiography completely omits the part of Delmonteque's life that may be of greatest interest to readers here. After the end of WWII, Delmonteque became one of the great early male physique models. He was initially made famous by photographer Douglas of Detroit, whose photos of Delmonteque appeared in nearly every male fitness and physical culture magazine of the day — this at a time when frontal male nudity could land you in jail.
While doing research for the Quaintance bio, I made an effort to locate as many people as possible who might have known Quaintance personally. One of those was Bob Delmonteque. I telephoned him (he had great disdain for email) and he graciously invited me to spend a day with him at his home in Woodland Hills, Calif. This was in the spring of 2003.
He regaled me with stories of his youth and his modeling days. Being thirtysomething at the height of his modeling career, he realized he would not long be able to support himself that way, so he decided to become a photographer. At the same time, he was pursuing his "straight" career as a fitness guru and trainer to the astronauts and stars, not the least of whom were John Glenn, Marilyn Monroe and James Dean.
Of all the men and women I interviewed who knew Quaintance, Delmonteque was the only one with anything negative to day. Quaintance was not straight-acting enough to please Bob, who found fault with his wigs, his tailored clothing, his "prissy" way of walking and talking and more. Nevertheless, we spent a pleasant day and I learned a lot, both about Quaintance and about Delmonteque himself, as well as some of the artists, models and public figures he represented or trained over the course of his long career.
What's so interesting about Delmonteque's life is that he bridged such disparate cultures. He achieved success as a nude model for men's magazines that were chiefly of interest to the gay community, and many of which served as the "porn" of their day. Later he became a photographer himself for those same magazines. But at the same time he established himself as a fitness guru and trainer, with illustrious clientele; he earned a Ph.D.; and in his later years he spoke, taught and traveled widely as an expert on aging.
Anyone interested in learning more can visit his website or type his name in any search engine.