The look expressed by the young soldier Mark Nixon (1936-1998) was not exactly what Uncle Sam was putting on his recruiting posters at the time. But this "young man, talented, handsome - radiant with personality" did sport a uniform in all seriousness during the days when his picture first appeared in Tomorrow's Man magazine. It was in 1955. Mark was a student at Culver Military Academy in Indiana, and a photographer-classmate had submitted a contest-winning shot of Mark to the publication. "Posing was an art to me", Mark said. "I took it seriously." It's somewhat ironic that Mark's artistic instincts first surfaced while he was at Culver. But he remembered striving for attention as a boy, trying to be different, even exhibitionistic.
Mark's father, who had attended Culver and sent both his sons there from their home in Atlanta promised Mark a car for his graduation if he accomplished three things : a position in the upper half of his class, a varsity letter in sports, and an officer's rank. Mark had no trouble with the first two of theses conditions. "But the military competition did not attract me", he said. He excelled instead in other areas. He was a soloist in the choir, and as costume and set designer for school productions, he was the first Culver student to win honors in art. Alas, he didn't get the car.
Lack of transportation was hardly enough to discourage him from his creative pursuits, however. After years of wearing the compulsory uniform and dreaming of clothes, he went to Washington University and majored in fashion design. Still athletic, he broke a backstroke swimming record there, and continued with posing as a sideline.
He has been photographed by most of the leading photographers including Bob Mizer (AMG), Bruce Bellas (Bruce of L.A.), Don Whitman (Western Photography Guild), Chuck Renslow (Kris of Chicago). He appeared on the covers such magazines as Young Physique, Adonis, Body Beautiful and Vim. After four years, armed with his B.F.A. degree, Mark moved to Los Angeles, found work designing sportswear, and was soon offered a position in New York with McGregor, the world's largest sportswear manufacturer. Despite his success, he eventually became dissatisfied. "My creative designs were going into the wastebasket." The only clothes he found interesting were the ones he made for himself. So he left McGregor and went back to the coast.
He began to read up on architecture and taught himself to draw plans. Designing homes soon became a full-time job, and Mark even drifted away from posing for the physique magazines, which had begun to give away to porno publications. Working on houses gave him the satisfaction and notoriety he began striving for during that "exhibitionistic" youth. William Markly Nixon III had a reputation as "architect to the stars" in Beverly Hills, California, before moving in south of Mexico city in the 1980s. There he turned a ruined hacienda into the renowned El Rancho Cuernavaca, a hotel that became backdrop to several Hollywood movies and photo shoots. The setting was often billed in magazines as Under the Volcano, a reference to the novel written by Malcolm Lowry in and around this town. He was found dead in his home, with tens of stab wounds to his body.