Magnús Scheving is an Icelandic actor, public speaker, motivator, writer, entrepreneur, producer, and athlete. He has been a prominent figure to bring in a revolution in the health culture of Iceland through his entertainment brand 'LazyTown.' Scheving is a prolific athlete, five times Nordic Champion, and eight times the Icelandic Champion of aerobics. In the 1990s, when Scheving was pursuing a career as an extensive public speaker, he realized the lack of awareness regarding obesity and other health-related issues hence he created 'LazyTown' to promote healthy habits among the youth through multiple mediums. Scheving started 'LazyTown' with a book and later created and directed a TV series advocating healthy living through his superhero character of 'Sportacus.' For years, Scheving has collaborated with several organizations and world leaders on campaigns for child obesity. Additionally, Scheving owned and managed one of the most popular health and fitness clubs in Iceland for five years. For his contribution to society, Scheving has been felicitated with several awards and titles and is enlisted by the 'European Commission' and the 'United Nations.'
Childhood & Early Life
Scheving was born Magnús Örn Eyjólfsson Scheving on 10 November 1964 to Eyjólfur Magnússon Scheving and Þorgerður Hjartardóttir. He was raised in the small town of Borgarnes in Iceland. He has an older sister and a younger brother.
Scheving holds a degree in sports science from the 'University of Iceland.'
Scheving ran errands in his home town as a child. He worked as a telephone exchange messenger boy when he was 15. He had a bet with his friend, Fjölnir Þorgeirsson, that they would choose a sport for each other, about which they knew nothing, and master in it. Þorgeirsson chose aerobics for Scheving which he eventually mastered in.
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As per the bet with Þorgeirsson, Scheving learned aerobics and in 1992, he became the 'Icelandic Men's Individual Champion' in aerobic gymnastics. The following year, he was titled the Scandinavian champion and was voted 'Athlete of the Year' in Iceland in 1994. He had won the European championship twice in 1994 and 1995.
Along with aerobics, Scheving grew an interest in the motivational speaking and eventually became renowned public and motivational speaker around the world. He even created a parental chat show in Iceland about developing healthy habits in children that he hosted from 1991 to 1993.
In 1991, Scheving founded 'LazyTown,' a children's entertainment brand to encourage them leading a healthy lifestyle. The company initially was a children's book publication house but later became a production house as well and created a live show in Iceland which was a huge success
In 1995, Scheving published a children's book titled 'Áfram Latibær,' under the 'LazyTown' franchise. Around this time, he was also into a carpentry business, to earn for his world-tour plans. He simultaneously worked as a fitness teacher at a local school.
Director Baltasar Kormákur adapted 'Áfram Latibær' into a stage play that toured Iceland from 1996 to 1997 and popularized 'LazyTown' across the country. 'LazyTown' later delved into brand-related merchandise as well.
The popularity earned 'LazyTown' a contract from 'Nickelodeon' in May 2003 which helped its first TV series (first aired in 1999) to go international. The show had Scheving in the leading role of the local superhero 'Sportacus' (2004–2007 and 2013–2014) who lives in a futuristic blue airship above 'LazyTown' and promotes healthy living. In an attempt to keep children from junk foods, Scheving decided to show 'Sportacus' losing energy whenever he eats unhealthy. The first episode of 'LazyTown' was aired on 'Nick Jr.' on August 16, 2004.
In 2003, the 'Icelandic Marketing Association' named Scheving the 'Marketing Man of the Year' and the 'Channel 2 Broadcaster' and the 'Icelandic Financial Newspaper' awarded him the 'Entrepreneur of the Year.'
In 2005, Scheving guest appeared as 'Sportacus' on an episode of British comedy chat show 'The Paul O'Grady Show.' He reprised the role in 2008 on the spin-off 'LazyTown Extra.'
As the founder and creator of the 'LazyTown' franchise and for Scheving's prolific works for the cause, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, President of Iceland presented him a 'Lifetime Achievement Award' at the 'Icelandic Edda Award' ceremonies in 2006. 'LazyTown' won a BAFTA, a 'US Telly Award,' and two 'Emmy' nominations.
Scheving starred as 'Anton Poldark,' a Russian terrorist in the 2010 American comedy film 'The Spy Next Door.' In 2011, 'Turner Broadcasting' bought 'LazyTown Entertainment,' and Scheving announced his exit from the show in late 2014. He was replaced by Dýri Kristjánsson. Scheving also retired from his position of 'LazyTown Entertainment' CEO.
The coveted 'Nordic Council' had presented Scheving the 'Nordic Public Health Prize.' Among other accolades, he has the 'PROTOS Communication' award (in Mexico) to his name for promoting healthy living in Spain. He also has an 'Export Award' presented by the President of Iceland.
Since mid-2016, Scheving has been managing 'ROK' restaurant, a Scandinavian/seafood restaurant in Reykjavík, along with his partner, Hrefna Björk Sverrisdóttir.
Family & Personal Life
Scheving was first married to Ragnheiður Melsteð for 24 years until their divorce in 2014. They had two children. He then got engaged to Hrefna Björk Sverrisdóttir in 2017. Scheving has a daughter from a previous relationship with Halldóra Blöndall.
Scheving has collaborated with several world leaders on campaigns, such as 'Let's Move' campaign with Michelle Obama, the 'Change 4 Life' public health campaign with David Cameron, the 'European Commission,' former president Felipe Calderón in Mexico, and with First Lady Cecila Morel in Chile on 'Elige Vivir Sano.'