In the early days, Draper says, "There wasn't a whole bunch of encouragement or inspiration from a society which considered you either stupid or egotistical and probably a sissy."
In California, Draper initially trained at a gym many called "The Dungeon", which he described as "a large, awful space dug out of the ground on the corner of 4th and Broadway [in Santa Monica?] ," and later at the original Gold's Gym. Training partners included Frank Zane, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Franco Columbu, and Mike Katz.
Draper is 6 ft. 0 in. (1.83 m) tall, and his bodybuilding competition weight was around 225 lb. (102 kg).
- 1962 Mr. New Jersey
- 1965 IFBB Mr. America Tall Class & Overall, 1st
- 1966 IFBB Mr. Universe Tall Class & Overall, 1st
- 1967 Mr. Olympia 4th
- 1970 AAU Mr. World 3rd
- 1970 IFBB Mr. World Tall & Overall, 1st
- 1970 NABBA Mr. Universe Tall, 3rd
Acting and writing
- Who's Been Sleeping in My Bed? (1963) (uncredited)
- Lord Love a Duck (1966) as Billy Gibbons
- Three on a Couch (1966) (uncredited)
- Walk Don't Run (1966) (uncredited) as Swedish athlete
- Don't Make Waves (1967) as Harry Hollard
TV guest appearances
- Brother Iron, Sister Steel ISBN 1931046654
- Your Body Revival: Weight Loss Straight Talk ISBN 1931046344 
Dave Draper continues to train with weights into his 60s, and to write, including a weekly newsletter which he emails and publishes on his website.