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Kenny Kassel Tribute E-mail
Written by Jeff Behar, MS, MBA   

Kenny Kassel - Rest in Peace

Approximately 2 years ago, the fitness industry lost one of its finest people: on December 24, 2008 my close friend Kenny Kassel was found dead in his New Jersey home from congestive heart failure Kenny Kassel was a long time friend of mine for 25 years, a great man and a significant figure in the sport of bodybuilding, figure and fitness and a familiar face to many as part of the NPC/IFBB backstage team. Kenny is survived by his mother Mimi and sister Kerul.

Kenny Kasssel

About Kenny Kassel

Kenny Kassel was involved in the health and fitness industry for approximately 30 years and in the entertainment industry for over 15 years. After starting a gym on the east coast, Kenny Kassel began training many bodybuilders. Kenny subsequently began specializing in the training, advising, mentoring and representing female bodybuilders, fitness and figure models.

Kenny Kassel's foray into the entertainment industry began when he started Beauti-Fit Talent Agency, based out of Teaneck New Jersey in order to start and nurture the careers of model Raye "Zap" Hollitt, who became a star of the popular television show "American Gladiators." Since that time Kenny Kassel managed and/or helped the careers of many female figure, fitness and bodybuilding stars, as well as a few notable male bodybuilding stars. In the early 1990s , Kenny Kassel was introduced to Don "the dragon"  Wilson, a martial arts expert and film action star.  Don had needed some fitness people for an upcoming film, and Kenny Kassel was able to provide what he needed. Their friendship turned into an opportunity, when Don asked Kenny Kassel to be his business manager. 

Kenny Kassel was involved in almost every aspect of the health and fitness business. Some of his  many talents, included:
  • IFBB & NPC Official,
  • Show Promoter (Kenny Kassel and partner Bob Bonham, of Strong & Shapely Gym fame, pioneered strength and physique competitions for women with their Women’s Strength Extravaganza, which they promoted in New Jersey in the ’90s and early 2000s to support Female Bodybuilding),
  • Seminar Promoter - dispensing information about how to market yourself, and how to break into the entertainment industry,
  • Writer,
  • Prof. Announcer,
  • Talent Manager,
  • Casting Agent,
  • Owner of Beautiful Talent Agency,
  • Mentor for many women who compete in fitness/figure/bodybuilding.

Kenny Kassel's Memorial Service

Kenny Kassel's funeral was held at Temple Beth, El 221 Schraalenburgh Road Closter, New Jersey on December 28, 2008 where Kenny was surrounded by family and many friends. Kenny Kassel was laid to his rest by his father not far from the Temple in New Jersey.  

The memorial service was very beautiful. Kenny Kassel was blessed to have such a warm and caring family. It was awesome to see Kenny Kassel's family all come together in such a loving way to commemorate Kenny's life. Mimi (His mother), his cousins, second cousins, his sister (Kerul) and brother in law were all so wonderful.

Temple Beth El is the temple Kenny Kassel attended as a child. The Rabbi did a fantastic job of replaying events in Kenny Kassel's life and she spoke with sincerity and hope.  Kenny would have liked the scriptures, prayers, poems and memories that were shared at the funeral and during Shiva. 

In Judaism, shiv'ah or shiva (Hebrew: ùáòä ; "seven") is the week-long period of grief and mourning for the seven first-degree relatives: father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, and spouse. (Grandparents and grandchildren are not included). As most regular activity is interrupted, the process of following the shiv'ah ritual is referred to as sitting shiva. Shiva is part of a suite of customs for bereavement in Judaism. 

The memorial candle that burns throughout Shiva was light in Kenny Kassel's honor. It was a constant reminder of the light Kenny brought into the lives of those who knew him.  Kenny Kassel's life was an example of service, and example that love is not love until it is giving away. There is not a man who loved and cared as much as he did. He is forever cherished in our hearts and our memories and he is missed dearly.

Sharing Your Memories about Kenny Kassel

So that we can share the many sides of Kenny Kassel with his friends from around the world MuscleMagFitness would be interested in:

1. How  you met Kenny Kassel
2. Stories of vacations and trips with Kenny Kassel
3. How Kenny Kassel may have changed, or touched your life

 How to Add Your Comments and Pictures to the Kenny Kassel Online Memorial Above

  • Email your pictures and experiences to Jeff Behar at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .
  • Post your stories directly here.

Online Celebration of Kenny Kassel

Kenny Kassel has helped, befriended, and introduced thousands upon thousands of people together, in the health, fitness, figure, bodybuilding, acting, and modeling industries.  With that being said, I know there are tens of thousands of people that have unique stories regarding their specific interactions with Kenny Kassel.

The following are just some of these stories. Musclemagfitness will update this page as new stories and pictures are sent to us.

Maddy Howard 

 

 

 

Maddy Howard
 

"Sometimes, when one person is absent, the whole world seems depopulated "

---Allphonse de Lamartine

Kenny Kassel was a man of integrity, a man of substance and he had the biggest heart. Kenny Kassel's passing has left a void in many people's lives.

Kenny Kassel was one of those people that came into your life and you were forever changed by it. I miss him more than words could express but know that he lives in my memories.

  • I will see Kenny Kassel every time I watch the Pink Panther, Get Smart or The Honey Mooners.
  • I will see Kenny Kassel every time I see a colorful Hawaiian type shirt or hear a loud voice call my name.
  • I will see Kenny Kassel in every smile and feel him in every hug.  
We have lost a star here, but Heaven has surely gained one.   Continued prayers for Mimi Kassel, Kerul Kassel and all of Kenny Kassel's wonderful family as they grieve his loss and honor his memory.   With love today and always

Maddy Howard

 
Don Wilson

I loved Kenny like a brother.  He made my  life better and I hope I did the same for him.  I will always honor his memory and miss his good natured spirit.

Don "the Dragon" Wilson

Brenda Kelly

While I was staying in NJ with boyfriend, Bob Bonham for the Holidays, Bob received a phone call from competitor, Matt Bristol on Christmas Eve. morning with the shocking news. Our great friend, Kenny Kassel had passed away.Our hearts were heavy with grief. It was like a surreal dream. I couldn't believe this was happening.

Kenny Kassel had been a mentor to me and taken me under his wing at my first NPC Nationals in 1999. He had become my manager and put me into commercials, movies, photo shoots had me emcee tons of his shows and represent his talent agency, Beautifit at all of the top Fitness Expo/Contests. Bob had been one of his best friends for 25 years and they started working together in 1998 promoting the highly successful Women's Strength Extravaganza.

We were asked by Kenny Kassel's mother, Mimi to speak at the service. Bob wrote most of the notes and I would do the speaking with him standing beside me on the stage and even though I have spoken in front of many audiences, I was not sure I would be able to get through this one. I would have to dig deep down and be strong for Kenny.

We had many people come up to us and thank us for this since a lot of his other business associates as well as older friends of his Synagogue were not really involved in what Kenny did for the bodybuilding sport.After the funeral service, Bob, Denie and I joined the funeral procession to the cemetery and stood at Kenny's final resting place that was next to his father's grave. We learned the tradition of the 3 shovels of dirt thrown on the coffin by the loved ones and that was extremely difficult for me emotionally. I just kept telling myself I was so glad to be there for Kenny and his family and friends.Kenny was one in a million with a heart of gold.

When I overhear someone asking the name of a certain women competitor or model, I have heard the response - oh that is one of Kenny Kassel's girls. Kenny was always surrounded by us women who loved him in every town at every show and even on movie sets. He was always generous, charming and a complete gentleman. We would talk on the phone for hours, work together with each other's seminars, go to The Baked Potato in Hollywood for jazz or just meet for an out of town dinner. It will take me a long time to realize Kenny is not here with us.

Kenny Kassel was blessed. He got to do all of the things he could dream up and he took us all with him.

Thank you Kenny for your light, love and life here with us. I will always be proud to be one of "Kenny Kassel's Girls".

Brenda Kelly

 

Lisa Schlichter

I have known Kenny Kassel the better part of my life. Kenny Kassel was my friend, mentor, teacher, confidant. I cannot believe he is gone.

Lisa

Kenny Kasssel

Editors note: Lisa is pictured above to the left

 

 
Lisa Alvanos Bowden

Kenny Kassel will be missed by anyone who had ever had the chance to meet him. I was such a likable guy, friendly, optimistic, and a great listener.

Ironic that I was just thinking about him a week prior to his death and started to search or him online. My memories are fond of the times we spent together, Champions Day, Extravaganzas, jusging and the 1993 Nationals.

  Paul Allen

As a founding producer of MuscleSport USA in 1987, I had the good fortune of meeting Kenny for the first time at his Women's Extravaganza event in New Jersey. Kenny was not only extremely welcoming; he was gracious enough to help educate me in many areas in and around the bodybuilding world. This was the beginning of a terrific friendship. Although we had some long gaps in between due to geography, our friendship was rekindled at Raye Hollitt's Women's Strength Show several years ago in North Hollywood and has been strong ever since.

Kenny Kassel is one of the rare people that, if you are fortunate enough to get to know, you immediately recognized his genuine goodness, respect and desire to help others. He has made a tremendous impact on my life as well as thousands of others whose lives he has touched. I will miss him and know that the world was a better place with him in it."

Paul M. Allen

Senior Vice President &
Chief Technology Officer, Long Beach Studios, LLC

 
Tom Platz
 
I have very fond memories of Kenny in the early 80s. Kenny had read in an article somewhere that I loved bagels. So every Olympia, he brought me a bag of NY bagels (the best). To this day, when I eat a bagel, I think of Kenny.
   
Eryk Bui
Eryk Bui

I am deeply saddened by the death of my dear friend Kenny Kassell. 

I officially met Kenny Kassel back in 2004 at the Olympia ... just a few weeks away from the NPC Nationals, the year I earned my IFBB pro card. I was introduced to Kenny Kassel via Richard Rossan and Wayne Gallasch of GMV Productions.

Kenny Kassel interviewed me on several occasions and spent a great deal of time sharing advice on how to handle myself as an IFBB Pro then, and continued to offer his wisdom throughout my brief but rewarding IFBB career.

No matter how busy Kenny Kassel was at bodybuilding,  figure, and fitness events, Kenny Kassel always made himself available to anyone and everyone.  His warm smile will be missed.  Wherever you  are, whenever the sun hits your face ... close your eyes, smile, and enjoy as it is Kenny Kassel's everlasting presence.

Please keep Kenny Kassel in your thoughts and prayers. 

Eryk Bui
IFBB Pro

 

 

 

lonnie teper

  Lonnie Teper

 

Damn, first the shocking death of Steve Stone just three months ago, and now the news of Kenny Kassel's passing. Steve was only 52, Kenny Kassel was just 53; yes, as the saying goes, the good do die young. Kenny was a terrific guy, always doing everything he could to give guidance and directions to athletes. And his advice was straight from the heart.    

I first met Kenny Kassel at the 1986 Women's Nationals, the first contest I covered for John Balik at IRON MAN Magazine. Over the years Kenny and I worked very close together; he was part of the backstage crew at most of the contests I emceed; you could always see us going over the pronunciations of all the competitors backstage, or in the lobby of the host hotel. Below is a photo Ron Avidan took of me and Kenny going over the Figure competitors at the prejudging Saturday morning at the Nationals in Atlanta.

Kenny Kassel often invited me to visit his Palm Springs, California condo and I wished I had attended at least one of his New Year's Eve parties. Bet I missed a helluva time. And, we will all miss you dearly, Kenny. It's hard to summarize what you meant to the industry, but everyone you touched already knows.

Lonnie Teper and Kenny Kassel

 

 

 

 
Jody Bruce 

I was lucky enough to be friends with Kenny Kassel since 1999 when we met in a bodybuilding chat room on AOL. Kenny Kassel was such a dear friend and I am going to miss him so much.

I went with Kenny Kassel back in 2004 to the Baked Potato;  What a neat little jazz club. I was going through a tough spot and he told me "Jodie, you need a vacation, your coming out to Palm Springs, then off to LA with me for a week." I can honestly say it was a great time! And Kenny was the perfect host. During that trip I got to meet some wonderful people, see LA only thorugh the eyes of Kenny Kassel and his favorite spots. A trip that I will certainly treasure.

Authors Note: The Baked Potato is a Jazz club in Studio City California and one of Kenny Kassel's favorite places to visit when he was in Los Angeles. Kenny invited several of his friends there on many occassions, include Jeff Behar, Maddy Howard, Brad Axelrod, Paul Allen and so many others.

 

Tanya Merryman

 

I am shocked, Kenny Kassel was a huge support system back stage for me and now he is gone. Kenny Kassel has been there through the years for most of us that have a history on that stage and now he is gone as well as our good friend Steve in 2008. God Bless.
 
Sharon Bruneau
Kenny kassel passed away???!!! I am truly sorry to hear. May God bless him and his family. So sad!!

 

Sherry Goggin

I am so sorry to hear about Kenny Kassel as he is loved and will be missed by everyone. I will keep his family and friends in my prayers. If there is anything I can do to help, please let me know.
 

David Clark
I had the pleasure of meeting Kenny Kassel when I was in New York in 2004 with Rob and Deb Czempinski (they new Kenny Kassel well) for a ProShow she was competing in. Kenny Kassel  was very kind and took us around a lot of places.He will be missed greatly.

 

Andria Lea

Jeff, Thank you so much for doing these things in Kenny Kassel's honor. Kenny Kassel was a friend of mine and very influential to my life and modeling career, and I am so sad that he has passed. I was hoping to see Kenny in a couple months too. He will definitely be missed by many including myself.

 

Kim Higley

I am shocked and saddened by the loss of Kenny Kassel.

Kenny Kassel was def a jewel to be around!!

xoxoxo

Kim

 

Dave Goodin

I met Kenny Kassel just 2 years ago at the Pro Ironman. Kenny Kassel was so nice to me and took the time to sit down and offer some advice on how to help my girlfriend gain exposure in the super-competitive fitness model industry. Since that first conversation Kenny Kassel was a friend and always had a good word for me whenever we ran into each other at the various shows over the last 2 years. Kenny Kassel was a wonderful man and will be sorely missed!

Lori Braun

This is too sad, Jeff. I still can't believe it.

I just start to cry when I think about Kenny not being here. Please let me know about the dinner/memorial please.

XXXXO

Lori

More from Lori (courtesy of http://www.loribraunblog.com)

A very special man who helped everyone in our sport and was especailly there for the female bodybuilders and athletes. I cannot imagine the sport without Kenny.

I met him at my first bodybuilding show. We worked together and were good friends ever since.

Kenny only had kind words to say about others. We all loved him dearly. He had a heart of gold.

This is a major loss for the bodybuilding and fitness industry. I will miss Kenny Kassel's kind smile, assuring presence and calm.

Kenny Kassel was a walking bodybuilding encyclopedia for not only the women, but the men as well. He knew every person and every single detail that happened behind the scenes.

I believe that Kenny did what he truly loved most and surrounded himself with people whom he choice to be around. He was living life on his terms and always made things happen for the better. Anyone who knew Kenny Kassel would say that he just made their live richer in some way. He lived outside of the box doing things his way and always encouraging his friends to live their lives the same way.

An innovator and creator, he thought it and then made it happen. Ahead of the curve and taking risk was Kenny Kassel's way. Let's all learn from him as we go through our lives. Not to be afraid, rather be strong mentally as well as physically and take on the tough challenges life brings you and turn them into something wonderful.

Kenny Kassel will never be forgotten by anyone who knew him. What a colorful and amazing man! One of the good guys. Another muscle angel is now in heaven watching over us.

Lori

 Viet

My name is Viet. I don't know Kenny at all, but a lot of people I talked with online said he was a great person.

I now wished I could've have known him before he died.

May God be with him for eternity.

Author (Jeff Behar) Note: You heard right Viet, Kenny Kassel was a amazing man, a great manager, a great agent, a great emcee, a great expoeditor, a great son, a great brother, a great ambassador to the fitness, bodybuilding and  figure industry....an all around great person.


 

Kenny Kassel and Bob Bonham

Kenny with his best friend of more than 25 years, Bob Bonham. Bob Bonham owns Strong and Shapely Gym in Rutherford NJ, a 25,000 square foot facility where thousands of bodybuilding and fitness champions have broken a sweat. Bob Bonham and Kenny Kassel promoted several shows together over the years, including but not limited to the Teen Nationals, Gaspari Classic, Collegiate Nationals, Jr. USA, and over 15 years of the Notable Women's Extravaganza (a notable bodybuilding and strength event), as well as Champions Day Parties,and other numerous other bodybuilding and fitness events.  I (Jeff Behar) have always treasured my 25 year friendships with both Bob and Kenny, working, attending or participating in their events. Kenny Kassel will be truely missed by all. 

nicole Rollazzo kenny kassel brenda Kelly

IFBB Pro Nicole Rollolazo, Kenny Kassel and Fitness Supermodel Brenda Kelly striking a pose and looking great! Kenny always had a way with the ladies and stunning beauties on each arm.

lonnieruthkenny
Mandy Blank, Debbie Kruck, Kenny Kassel, and Ruth Silverman at the Orleans Hotel bar in Las Vegas after the Mr. Olympia finals; they were toasting to the life of Steve Stone who has just passed away that weekend at the Olympia. Steve Stone was one of Kenny’s closest friends, and a friend of mine (Jeff Behar)  as well for 25 years. Steve Stone, like Kenny was a amazing guy and known for his friendly, outgoing and altruistic personality.
Grace Grimes and Kenny Kassel
Grace Grimes and Kenny Kassel. Grace, a figure and fitness model, ACE certified personal trainer, actress, and MET-Rx team athlete, is one of many female figure and fitness athletes that he advised and befriended over the years.

Lori Braun, owner of femalemuscle.com (largest female bodybuilding sites on the web), with Kenny Kassel at one of the many events they both attended together. Lori and kenny were friends for many many years.  

 

Kenny Kassel and Timea Marjova

 

Kenny with Timea Majorova, the most photographed fitness model in the world. Kenny helped manage Timea's career and helped make Timea a household name in the USA.   
Kenny Kassel and Maddy Howard
Kenny Kassel with fitness champion and top model Maddy Howard. Kenny helped manage Maddy's film career, and also partnered with Maddy on several projects.
Kenny Kassel and Joe Weider

  Kenny Kassel backstage at the Mr. Olympia with the legendary Joe Weider.

Kenny Kassel

Senior Kenny Kassel with that smile that all his friends will miss.

Kenny Kassel

The Man, the Myth, the Legend...the only known picture of Kenny without flashing that warm friendly smile that everyone who knew Kenny fondly remembers.

 

Jeff Behar, Bill Dobbins, Timea Majorova, Lauren Powers and Ruth Silverman at the Baked Pototo Jazz Club Celebrating the Life of Kenny Kassel 
Jeff Behar, Bill Dobbins, Timea Majorova, Lauren Powers and Ruth Silverman at the Baked Pototo Jazz Club Celebrating the Life of Kenny Kassel

 

The Baked Pototo Jazz Club The Baked Pototo, Kenny's Favorite Club in LA where he loved to take friends and listen to good music, have a good meal, some good drinks and relax with the people he loved!
Lauren Powers, Jeff Behar, Timea Majorova and Sharon Bruneau at Kenny Kassel Tribute
Lauren Powers, Jeff Behar, Timea Majorova and Sharon Bruneau at Kenny Kassel Tribute outside the Baked Pototo Jazz club in Studio , one of Kenny's Favorite Places.
 
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