Simplyshredded Exclusive Profile: Serge Nubret “The Black Panther” [1938 – 2011]

Serge Nubret (October 6, 1938 – April 19, 2011) was a French professional bodybuilder, bodybuilding federation leader, movie actor and author. Serge was awarded many bodybuilding titles, including Mr. Europe (1966), Mr. Universe (1976) and WBBG Pro. Mr. World (1977). Serge Nubret’s nicknames were “The Black Panther” and “The Nubret Lion”.

Quick Stats:

Date of Birth: October 6th, 1938
Height: 6’0″
Offseason Weight: 212 lbs.
Competition Weight: 200 lbs.


Serge Nubret spent his first years in Anse-Bertrand, Guadeloupe, in a community of 7,000 people. He moved with his parents to the Paris, France area in 1950, settling in the community of Joinville-le-Pont, and completing his secondary studies before choosing a business program.

Early Years

During his adolescence and young adulthood, he quickly became aware of his exceptional potential for athletics and recalls this reflection in his book I Am…Me and God; in his own words, dedicating himself to bodybuilding was to become his “reason for being.” He explains in his book his destiny of a fixed champion assigned to him by God [“I Am”]. He returned in Guadeloupe in 1958 in order to escape the draft for the Algerian War. It was during this period of his life he discovered bodybuilding, which he practiced simultaneously while pursuing business accounting. Bodybuilding was not encouraged by his father at the time who was concerned that it did not have as much potential for financial income as an accounting career.

Three months after entering the world of bodybuilding, Serge won the title of Mr. Guadeloupe, which he won again the following year. He was sent in 1960 to Montreal to show the flag of Guadeloupe in support for his country at the time of the World Championship organized by the International Federation of Bodybuilders.

It was there Nubret was named “Most Muscular Man of the World.” Returning next to Paris without going to Guadeloupe, he was contacted by the Films Ariane for a role alongside Giuliano Gemma in a Duccio Tessari Italian sword-and-sandal film called The Titans which was released in 1961 and was prelude to a rich career of 25 films.

Pumping Iron Appearance

Nubret is best known in the bodybuilding documentary Pumping Iron where he competed as a last-minute entry against (eventual seven time winner) Arnold Schwarzenegger for the title of Mr. Olympia in 1975. While he looked fantastic, Serge finished second in the Tall Man category to Schwarzenegger, while Lou Ferrigno finished third. He was known for his excellent chest development, which would scare off fellow contestants.

The documentary film Pumping Iron, alongside Lou Ferrigno and Arnold Schwarzenegger, follows the events occurring before the Mr. Olympia 1975—the preparation for the competition as well as its final phase.

For contract reasons, his part is comparatively brief; and, apparently, certain scenes containing him could not be put in the movie. These episodes are discussed further in his book, I am…Me and God.
In the 1980s, Serge appeared regularly in 60 episodes of the television series Breakfast Included, with Pierre Mondy and Marie-Christine Barrault, in which he played a role that mirrored his real life as a bodybuilder/gym owner in Paris.

During the 1970s, Nubret finished third in the 1973 Mr. Olympia and second in 1975. Vice President of the IFBB Europe from 1970-1975, Nubret then founded the WABBA in 1976. He competed until 1984, when he won his last title of WABBA Champion of the World. In Gravelines in 2003, Nubret guest-posed at the WABBA World Championship at the impressive age of 65.

List of bodybuilding awards

  • 1958: Mr. Guadeloupe
  • 1960: IFBB World Most Muscular Man
  • 1970: NABBA Mister Universe 2nd
  • 1970: IFBB Mr. Europe (Tall)
  • 1972: IFBB Mr. Olympia (3rd place)
  • 1973: IFBB Mr. Olympia (2nd)
  • 1974: IFBB Mr. Olympia (Heavy Weight, 3rd place)
  • 1975: IFBB Mr. Olympia (Heavy Weight, 2nd)
  • 1976: Pro NABBA Mr. Universe
  • 1976: WBBG Mr. World (2nd)
  • 1977: WBBG Mr. World
  • 1977: WBBG Mr. Olympus
  • 1981: Pro WABBA World Championships
  • 1982: Pro WABBA World Championships


In 2006, 68-year-old Serge Nubret penned the book I am…Me and God in collaboration with Louis-Xavier Babin-Lachaud. The book is not only autobiographical in nature, but it also includes his personal reflections on his Christian faith and mysticism. Through his life narrative, it adopts a definite position on the role of God in this world, on the conflict between destiny and free will, and on the illusion of this world.

The book indicates the will to succeed and to follow the way traced by God, love of the author’s “reason for being”.

The Loss Of A Bodybuilding Icon

A second work is a 400+ page autobiography entitled Seventy Years Young. At the time of release (April 2009), it was learned that Serge Nubret suffered a stroke in Paris, France. In March 2009, Nubret fell into a coma, and remained in a persistent vegetative state until his death on 19 April 2011 of natural causes at the age of 72.

Serge Nubret (October 6, 1938 – April 19, 2011)