Woodland Hills Crash Victim Was Pioneering Body Builder

Times Staff Writer

A Woodland Hills woman who was killed Monday when her sports car overturned on Mulholland Drive was considered a pioneer female body builder by friends and experts in the sport.

Kay Young, 42, known better as Kay Baxter through the dozens of body building competitions she entered and the fitness publications in which she was featured over the last decade, died when her gold Corvette crashed near Cass Avenue.

Police said Baxter was driving on the wrong side of the road when she swerved to avoid hitting an oncoming motorcycle and her car flipped. Neil Axe, 23, of Gardena, who was with Baxter, suffered only minor injuries.

A Pioneer

Baxter was described by associates as a pioneer in female body building who in recent years had prospered as a fitness trainer, with clients such as David Lee Roth and Cybill Shepherd, and through appearances in physical training videos. She had recently finished filming a lead role in a not-yet-released martial arts movie.

"She was well-known because she was one of the first female body builders," said Joe Weider, founder of Weider Health & Fitness, which publishes a variety of fitness magazines in Woodland Hills. "She was a pioneer, and she had many fans. Whenever her picture was in one of our magazines, she got many, many letters."

According to Weider and others who knew Baxter, she started entering body building competitions--from local contests to Miss Olympia championships--in the late 1970s.

Few Titles

Bill Dobbins, a fitness writer and author of the International Federation of Body Builders rules for female competition, said Baxter won few titles because she had an extremely well-developed physique, which was not in favor with competition judges a decade ago. He said such a physique is the norm in female competition today.

"Unfortunately, she was ahead of her time and didn't get the recognition she deserved in terms of winning contests," Dobbins said. "She really pointed the way to what female body building was going to become."

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