Abbye Eville, also known as Pudgy Stockton of Santa Monica, California, was born on August 11, 1917. She acquired the nickname “Pudgy” during her childhood, and it stuck with her; little did she know that it would soon become known worldwide. As soon as she graduated from high school, she took a sedentary job answering phones but soon became disappointed with how the inactivity affected her body, so she began lifting weights
“In those days, lifting weights was thought to be unfeminine. The misinformed think if women strength-trained, they’d become masculine looking. We laughed knowing they were wrong.”
Pudgy was a perfect example of a muscular woman. She spent most of her time at Muscle Beach performing any number of highly skilled athletic feats. With the height of 5 feet, 1 inch, weighing 115 pounds, she held a 100-pound dumbbell overhead while standing on the hands of her husband. Besides being proud of her vibrant health and fitness, she also showed off her figure by posing with some of the top muscle men of her era. These men included Steve Reeves, George Eiferman, Joe Gold, and John Grimek.
In 1947, Pudgy and her husband Les organized the first women’s weightlifting contest in the United States. In 1948, she was crowned “Miss Physical Culture Venus.” A pioneer physical culturist, Bernarr Macfadden, awarded her a cash prize of $1,000. Puddy also wrote articles and columns for Strength & Health magazine, and her writings were popular among both men and women. Abbye was honored by the Association of Oldetime Barbell and Strongmen in 1991. In 1988, she received the Steve Reeves International Society Pioneer Award, and in 2000, she was inducted into the Joe Weider Hall of Fame. She died of Alzheimer’s disease on June 26, 2006, at age 88.