So Long, Joe, It Was a Great Ride

/ Posted 03.28.2013

Stubborn. Stupid stubborn. And, because I was cursed with such behavior, I nearly blew my chance to meet—and work– for Joe Weider.

It was nearly 30 years ago—April 1983—to be exact. I had been a professional sportswriter right out of college and, after the newspaper closed its doors, I moved on as Sports Information Director at Cal State L.A for the next five years. I also taught in both the Journalism and PE Departments. When the SID job was eliminated, I stayed on another 12 years as a member of the Department of Physical Education faculty.

A buddy I’d met at the gym several years earlier would always push me to contact Joe. “You’d be perfect for his magazines,” the friend quipped. “You have the combination of being a professional journalist, and a professional in the field of physical education.”

Finally, I relented, and made the call. And, to my surprise, a lunch meeting with Joe was quickly set up by his secretary, for the following Friday. More than a bit nervous, I hit the road for my 45-minute drive to the Weider Headquarters in Woodland Hills. I arrived 30 minutes early (it’s called Type A personality, fans) to make sure I wasn’t a minute late. No matter—Joe didn’t show.

The secretary apologized, but I was too ticked—and immature—to pay heed. I sped home, calling my buddy immediately, and told him what transpired. Soon after the phone rang; it was Joe’s secretary. She apologized, and asked if we could reschedule for the following Friday. Stubborn, stupid stubborn set it. I said no!

Minutes later the phone rings again. It was Joe’s secretary calling back. “Mr. Teper, Joe would like to speak with you.” This time around “honored” replaced stupid stubborn, and here I was, talking to the Master Blaster himself! The godfather of fitness. The guy who played such a major role in popularizing weight training, the use of supplements and vitamins, and workout equipment. The creator of the Mr. Olympia, for gosh sakes! He was apologetic for the mix-up, and asked to meet for lunch next Friday.

Those were among the longest seven days of my life. I have to admit, a part of me wondered if Joe forgets about me again. Like he wasn’t a dude with a lot on his plate. No worries…he was there, right on time. He was well dressed, complete with dress slacks, white shirt and tie, and was very courteous as he reached for my hand and said, “Very glad to meet you, Lonnie.”

Joe drove me to his favorite eatery, noted for its fish, not too far from the office (don’t remember the name of the place). Stubborn no longer, I didn’t let on what I thought of the choices, and ordered halibut. It was good; if I order fish these days, halibut it is.

We got down to business; I went over my writing background, and told Joe I thought I’d be a good fit for his publications. Had a great idea for a story for Muscle & Fitness: how so many athletes in the 1950s and 1960s had to lift weights in secret so their coaches wouldn’t find out. You know, the old, erroneous muscle-bound theory. He agreed it would be a promising piece—BUT wanted me to turn in a sample of my work to see if my writing could strike a chord with his target audience.

Stubborn makes a comeback. “I don’t ‘audition’ at this point of my career, Joe,” I said. “You don’t have to worry, I know who your audience is…I’ve been part of it for years.”

To be honest, I don’t recall what was said next, but we finished an enjoyable lunch, talked about what I liked—and didn’t find so appealing—about his magazines. Needless to say, I was very careful not to spend much time on the latter.

I went ahead with my article, titled it “Can’t Weight to Train” (featuring Otis Chandler, former Publisher of the Los Angeles Times and a premier collegiate shot putter and weight lifter), and it ran a few months later. That started a string of stories I wrote for Muscle & Fitness, Flex and eventually Sports Fitness over the next three of years.

However, I wasn’t getting consistent assignments, so I took the opportunity to join the staff at IRON MAN when John Balik and Michael Neveux bought the publication in 1986. But I would see Joe at various events, particularly the Mr. Olympia that he created back in 1965.

I emceed my first Olympia in 1993 in Atlanta. In Chicago in 1996, Joe saw me at the hotel and said, “Lonnie, no time for jokes this weekend, since you are emceeing all four shows (Mr. Olympia, Ms. Olympia, Fitness Olympia and the Masters Olympia.” During intermission, Joe approached me and said, “Lonnie, where are your jokes?…we need to make this more entertaining.”

Yes, we lost quite quite a man when Joe Weider passed away from heart failure on Saturday, March 23, at 93 years of age. Joe had been in very poor health for some time, so his passing was not a surprise to those who knew him. But, that doesn’t change the fact that people are having trouble dealing with the death of a true icon that influenced so many lives in the world of fitness and nutrition.

And, of course, perhaps Weider’s greatest achievement was having the insight to invite a young bodybuilder from Austria named Arnold Schwarzenegger to move to the United States, where he financed the move and helped Schwarzenegger boost his career in bodybuilding, business and acting.

“Joe became a father figure to me,” said Schwarzenegger in an article by Greg Botehlo of CNN.” He advised me on my training, on my business ventures, and once, bizarrely, claimed I was a German Shakespearean actor to get me my first acting role in “Hercules in New York, even though I barely spoke English.”

Despite being diagnosed with a heart condition, amyloidosis, 12 years ago, Weider never slowed down, according to his publicist, Charlotte Parker. “He was generous, loving, full of life,” Parker says in the CNN article. “He was a great man.”

Gone, but never forgotten. Thanks for all you did, Joe Weider. It was a great ride. R.I.P.

Filed Under: News, People, Reflections

Lucien Demeilles Passes Away

/ Posted 10.08.2012

Lucien Demeille, former publisher of French magazines Pleine Forme and Le monde du Muscle, died in August, according to his wife Josette. Lucien was 85. I never met the man, but heard a lot good things about this extremely talented fella. “Lucien’s magazines reflected the elegance of the man, ” said IRON MAN Publisher John Balik. “Lucien was driven by the aesthetics of French culture–he felt, as so many of us still do today, that Steve Reeves was the ultimate physique. Both Lucien and Bob Kennedy expressed themselves through their artistic talents.” Talented indeed–Doris Barrilleaux told me Sunday night Demeille actually did all of the art work that appeared in his publications.

“Lucien was instrumental in developing Culturisme–the term used for bodybuilding in those days–from the 1940s on,” said his wife, Josette, in an email. “His anatomical drawings are well known in Europe and beyond for more than half a century. He never ceased drawing…he authored several books, including the best seller, Exercise de musculation.”

Josette says Lucien was an outstanding athlete all of his life (swimming and rowing were two of his passions) and had to hit the weights behind his rowing trainer’s back because it was considered taboo during those times. She also revealed that, up to 1956, Lucien was a singer in the famous jazz orientated group Les 4 de Paris. Most of his friends were musicians.

“First and foremost Lucien was a cultured individual, a gentleman who, in spite of his multiple talents, remained level-headed, modest and friendly,” Josette writes. “Even-mooded, with a strong sense of humor, kind and gregarious. It was a pleasure to share his life. Our common venture lasted over 25 years when he passed away…our only regret: that we had not met much earlier in life!”

I wish I could have met him, too, Josette. Special. Real special. R.I.P.

Filed Under: News, People, Reflections

Tribute to Robert Kennedy

/ Posted 06.11.2012

It was a beautiful day in Santa Monica, fitting for what ended up being a beautiful event at the Casa Del Mar Hotel. It was the “Celebration of Life” memorial for Robert “Bob” Kennedy, the publishing icon and New York Times best-selling author (who penned 55 books) who passed away from cancer in April.

I served as Master of Ceremonies, and got to share my many memories about Robert as well as bringing to the podium the special guest speakers, who did likewise. First to take to the podium, natch, was Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who had a 40-plus year media relationship with Kennedy. Kennedy was too ill to make it to Columbus, Ohio this year to receive the “Lifetime Achievement Award”, but Arnold wanted to see Robert one last time before he died. So, he surprised Kennedy at his Caledon Hills, Ontario Canada home on Easter Sunday. Robert’s wife, Tosca Reno Kennedy, told of how Arnold’s visit brought back the twinkle in her husband’s eyes–they even hit a pose for her camera. Four days later Robert lost his battle with the dreaded disease.

Lou Ferrigno followed Arnold; then came Rachel McLish (still looking amazing at 50-something–oh my, those calves!), IRON MAN Publisher John Balik, author/consultant Bob Proctor, Elaine LaLanne, photog Irvin Gelb and last, but certainly not least, Tosca. After Tosca, who has taken over the reigns of Robert Kennedy Publishing, finished her tribute to the love of her life, the family presented Arnold with a canvas painting of Schwarzenegger, crafted by Robert, as a gesture of their lasting friendship. Kennedy, as I found out only a year or so ago, loved painting, and did his work under his father’s name, Wolfgang Kals.

In addition to the speakers, many of the industry icons flew in from all over to share in the celebration. There was the crew from MuscleMag International, including Group Editorial Director Bill Geiger. Shawn Ray, who was emceeing a contest in Omaha, Nebraska the previous evening, make sure he arranged his return trip in time to take part in the celebration. Tom Platz came to pay his respects, so did Samir Bannout, Franco Columbu, Eddie Guiliani, Sharon Bruneau, Victoria Pratt, Mandy Blank and Gene Mozee, among others.

After the painting dedication, there was a video presentation. Then a processional, with the playing of “Amazing Grace.”

I thanked everyone for being part of this affair, and concluded by saying “May Robert’s colorful spirit travel with you always.” A reception followed outside in the patio, where it was good to chat with some people I’ve known for years, others who I just met that day. At the Joe Gold Celebration of Life in 2004, Robert talked to me about honoring those who have passed. “Lonnie, we should do this while people are alive, instead of waiting until they die,” he quipped. I agreed. We blew it again, Robert, eh?. But I know you felt the warmth of the celebration as you watched from your publisher’s desk from above.

Hope we did you justice.

Filed Under: News, Reflections

Remembering Dan Block

/ Posted 04.18.2012

A crowd of around 200 people, including many of the industry’s biggest names, showed up to honor Dan Block on Sunday, April 15, in Aliso Viejo, California. Block died at the age of 58 in March at his Temecula, CA home.

Eric Sternlicht, Pd.D, longtime IRON MAN contributor/advisory board member and close friend, gave the eulogy to the group, which included Jay Cutler, Boyer Coe, Tom Platz, Shawn Ray, Kal Szkalak, John Brown, and Troy Zuccolotto, among others. "Throughout the ceremony a video montage was displayed for all to view," said Sternlicht. "Towards the end of the ceremony, and prior to asking anyone in the audience if they would like to share some memories about Dan, a video and audio recording of industry leaders was played."

Thanks to Mark Nalley, former owner of Flex Equipment Company, where Dan was employed for many years as head of sales, for providing photos from the special day. Sorry I was unable to attend; Ray told me it was a wonderful tribute. One that would bring a smile to Dan’s face, I’m sure.

Filed Under: People, Reflections

So Long, Robert Kennedy, We’ll Miss You

/ Posted 04.13.2012

It is with great sadness that we, the staff of Robert Kennedy Publishing in Mississauga, Ontario, announce the passing of Robert Kennedy, our company’s founder.

Bob passed on April 13 at home from cancer. He was 73 years old. Bob was surrounded by family and friends. He is survived by his beloved wife, Tosca Reno and their four daughters: Chelsea Kennedy, Rachel Corradetti, Kiersten Corradetti and Kelsey-Lynn Corradetti. Bob’s only son Braden Robert James Kennedy passed away last year due to pneumonia complications at the age of 23.

Bob leaves behind a legacy as an pioneer in the field of bodybuilding and physical wellness.

He was born in 1938, the son of an Austrian father and an English mother, both school teachers. He attended Culford private school and Norwich art school in Norfolk, England. Bob was, by his own self-admission, a slender lad. But with the resolve and determination that would mark his future endeavors, he set about transforming himself into a physical specimen. This choice would come to define Bob’s career and friendships and marriage — in essence, his entire life.

Bob and his schoolboy chum Gino (aka MuscleMag’s “Johnny Fitness”) trained in their early teens with jury-rigged weights. At first, they lifted parts of an old candy machine; later they constructed homemade weights from broomsticks and cement-filled biscuit tins. By the time he hit 17, Bob would’ve been nearly unrecognizable to his old friends. Gone was the stringy beanpole — in his place stood a highly muscled young man who had built a remarkable physique using a routine that put his inexhaustible energy to good use. As Gino would say, Bob spent half his young life upside-down, performing endless handstands.

Always a lover of muscle, the two teens would hitchhike the 200-plus miles round trip to London, sleeping in haystacks along the way, to take in the early Mr. Universe shows. Every spare shilling was funneled into the purchase of ultra-rare bodybuilding magazines with titles like Health and Strength and Mr. America — these, too, had to be bought in London, seeing as they weren’t carried in the local shops.

After living in London for eight years and teaching art at the Tottenham Technical College, Bob moved to Canada in 1967, where he taught art and English for five years in Brampton, Ontario. But Bob decided he needed to share his love of bodybuilding with the masses, and to do so required a big risk on his part.

He quit his job, took his $480 in savings and decided to start a magazine.

The first person he called? His old buddy Gino. Despite the fact that Gino still lived in England, was married with a baby, he believed so fully in Bob that he and his family were on the next flight over the pond.

The first issue of Bob’s flagship publication, MuscleMag International, was cut and pasted together on a kitchen table in Brampton. The magazine — envisioned as “A New Concept Magazine Dedicated to the Survival of the Fittest” — battled early setbacks (including a 110,000-copy order of the first issue … with no means of distribution!!) to become one of the premier bodybuilding publications in the industry.

Bob spent much of the ’80s writing books. Of the 53 books he wrote, several were New York Times bestsellers. Whenever he wasn’t writing, Bob could often be found in the studio — photography and painting were lifelong passions. His canvases are hung in the company headquarters in Mississauga, Ontario, and in the homes of private collectors around the world.

Not content to rest on his laurels, Bob branched out. He opened a string of 26 fitness stores and franchises and a fitness clothing line; all were eventually sold to concentrate on the core business of book and magazine publishing.

Spotting a need for publications dedicated to women’s fitness, he built Oxygen into a category leader. Reps!, Clean Eating and American Curves are other popular titles under the Robert Kennedy Publishing banner. His book imprint publishes the best-selling Eat-Clean Diet books, written by Tosca Reno.

Bob and Tosca, along with their children and pets, maintained a quiet residence in the Caledon Hills of Ontario, just north of Toronto. A tireless worker, he maintained regular hours in the office (and the gym) into his 70s. Bob could often be found at the light table going over magazine pages, or snapping photos down in the studio. Always a hands-on boss he penned the publisher’s page for every magazine in his chain and trained his keen visual eye on each page of every publication; Bob made sure to put his personal “stamp” on every issue.

For his efforts just last month Bob was honored in Ohio at the Arnold Classic by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger with the Lifetime Achievement Award, one of the sport’s highest honors. A beloved fixture in the bodybuilding and fitness scene, Bob had thousands of friends and supporters. His love and devotion will be sorely missed.

Filed Under: People, Reflections

Remembering Dan Block

/ Posted 03.18.2012

www.ironmanmagazine.comThe shocking news came a week ago; Dan Block, who had suffered from health issues the past few years, passed away at his Temecula, California home on Sunday, March 12. Block was 58 years old, and left a wife, Karen, his brother, Tim, of San Clemente, CA, and sons Ryan, 27, and Riley, 17.

I knew Dan for nearly 30 years; I saw him compete as a bodybuilder, knew he was a high school and college cross-country star, and eventually ordered Flex equipment through him for the weight room at Cal State University, Los Angeles in the mid to late 1980s.    But, I wasn’t nearly as close to Dan as IRON MAN contributing author Dr. Eric Sternlicht, who first met Dan back in 1979 through Tom Platz at Block’s Gym in Santa Ana, CA.

“Dan was an industry leader and an innovator,” says Dr. Sternlicht, “and was the face of Flex at trade shows and within the business. Dan was highly respected and sought after for his knowledge and expertise. He had a knack for remembering people’s faces and names, and made everyone feel at ease, and to trust his word.

“As a person, Dan was principled, honest and well respected by both his clients and by his competitors in the industry. Dan was profiled on the cover and in a feature article in the National Fitness Trade Journal’s spring, 2003 publication, and received the Journal’s Distinguished Service Award in 2004.

“Dan’s athletic prowess ranged from being a competitive high school and college runner, amateur bodybuilder and, even for a time, a competitive road cyclist. We raced together many times. He introduced many friends to each sport he was involved in, and quickly became close with those already involved in each sport.  He always moved to the top level in each activity he pursued.

“Dan loved to train as much as compete…he had an incredible drive and determination, and the ability to dedicate the time and energy necessary to come into a competition knowing he had done more than any of his foes.

“In recent years Dan had suffered from health issues; due to circumstances from a failed back surgery in 2003, Dan had permanent nerve damage that continued to worsen and limit the quality of his life. He fought long and hard to overcome it, but it became more and more difficult to deal with the pain and deteriorating muscles.

“Dan’s strong character and personality won’t be forgotten, and his spirit will live on through his sons, and with his friends, for years to come.”

For further information regarding the trust fund set up for Dan’s sons, and the remembrance celebration, to be held in Orange County in mid-April, write to

Condolences to all of Dan’s family and friends. To Dan, R.I.P.


Filed Under: News, People, Reflections

Delmonteque Service Set for Wednesday

/ Posted 11.29.2011

On January 23, 2011, the fitness world lost one of it’s greatest stars when Jack LaLanne passed on at 96. On November 21 we saw another industry icon, Bob Delmonteque, leave this earth at the age of 93. The cause of death, according to Bob’s daughter Michele Ecklund, was brain cancer. “Bob had brain cancer for several years, but I don’t know the exact date of diagnosis,” Michele wrote me earlier in the week.

Funeral services for Delmonteque, a noted model, author and photographer, will be held at Holy Cross Cemetery this Wednesday, November 30, at 1 p.m. The cemetery is located at 5835 W. Slauson Ave. in Culver City, CA. Michele said there will be a reception following the service.

I knew Bob for 25 years. Like Jack, Bob was always a bundle of energy, with a sense of humor that matched his physical attributes. He loved it when he saw the shocked expression on people’s faces when I told them how old this lithe fella really was. I always kidded with him, saying it was his full, thick head of hair that I wanted more than his supreme physique. Of course, he knew I would taken settled for both in a heartbeat.

Godspeed Bob, you were a true inspiration to all of us. And say hi to Jack for us in between your sets at his “Heaven’s Fitness Center.”

Filed Under: Reflections

Braden Robert James Kennedy — RIP

/ Posted 04.01.2011

TORONTO, March 29, 2011 — /PRNewswire/ — Robert Kennedy, is the founder of Robert Kennedy Publishing which specializes in health and fitness.

The magazine-publishing arm includes six titles: MuscleMag International, Reps!, Oxygen, American Curves, Maximum Fitness and Clean Eating magazines as well as many books.

Kennedy also published the late Fitness Icon, Jack LaLanne’s last book “Live Young Forever” and this New York Times Best Seller (Hardcore Bodybuilding, Reps!, RockHard!, Beef It!, and Pumping Up! ) has also written over 53 books. His wife Tosca Reno, TV celebrity health and fitness guru, is the NY Times Best Selling Author of “The Eat Clean Diet” series also published by Robert Kennedy Publishing based in Toronto.

His beloved only son Braden Robert James Kennedy recently passed away due to pneumonia complications at tender age of 23.

Braden, who suffered a head injury as a result of an automobile accident 13 years ago, bravely endured, despite being bedridden with round-the-clock nursing care, unable to speak, eat or move, and consigned to his bedroom with his favorite film mega-stars, Will Smith and Jim Carrey.

Robert states “With unbearable sadness we mourn the loss of our son, a braver human being I’ve never known. His infectious laughter will never be forgotten. He taught our family the meaning of unparalleled courage amid the most unbearable of circumstances.”

His wife Tosca Reno Kennedy and step-mother to Braden continues: “Our love and admiration for him is boundless. He leaves a gaping hole in our hearts it is true but he has filled us with so much not the least of which is his bravery. Even during those long last hours he did not give up easily and endured what was handed him with grace.”

Braden is survived by sister Chelsea, father Robert, stepmother Tosca, stepsisters Rachel,Kiersten and Kelsey-Lynn, caring aunts, uncles and cousins and loving grandmother Joan.

Services will be arranged by: J.S. Jones & Son Funeral Home, 11582 Trafalgar Rd., Georgetown, Ontario. Viewing to be held on Tuesday, March 29th 6-9 PM. The funeral mass will be on Wednesday, March 30th at 12:00 PM at Holy Cross Catholic Church, 14400 Argyll Road Georgetown, Ontario.

In lieu of flowers, donations to the Red Cross (Japan Earthquake Relief) would be appreciated and can be made online at or by calling 1-800-418-1111

There are no words. Our thoughts and hearts at Iron Man go out to the Kennedy family. As John Balik said, “That chapter has come to a close but the nights will go on.”

Filed Under: Reflections

Frank Hillebrand, 45, R.I.P.

/ Posted 02.22.2011

It was about 5 p.m. on Saturday when I heard the tragic news. The sad information came via a Facebook post from IFBB pro Rodney Davis; former IFBB pro Frank Hillebrand passed away Saturday while working out at the gym in Las Vegas. Hillebrand, who was one of the area’s most popular personal trainers, was only 45 years old. Davis said early reports indicate a heart attack as the cause of death, but nothing was official as of this reporting. Davis followed up with a more in-depth email regarding the specifics of Hillebrand’s death, and I quote him:

"Lonnie, I went to Gold’s Gym on Lake Mead & Buffalo (it’s one of the two most popular Gold’s in Las Vegas…Jay Cutler, Dennis Wolf, Jeannie Paparone and other pros train there) on Saturday afternoon, February 19. It had rained the night before, so it was an especially clean and clear day.

"I got there at 2 p.m. to train arms, and I saw Frank there with two of his good friends/clients that he works out with. One of them was Dr. Julio Garcia. This was one of those days where I saw Frank across the gym, but we never directly crossed paths so, sadly, I didn’t speak to him this day.

"After I was done training I was leaving the locker room and saw a fireman running inside to meet other firemen who were already inside. I knew something was seriously wrong because there were at least six firemen there all hovering and working on someone in the front lobby.

"I was expecting to see an older member or someone out of shape, but to my total shock it was Frank laying lifeless on the floor, with his feet elevated, shirt opened, with an EKG and defibulator hooked up to him. Apparently, he was having trouble breathing during his training, so he was taken to the front lobby to relax, but he collapsed to the floor shortly after.

"A fireman was doing compressions; they worked on him while a large group of us, in a semi-circle, were pulling for him. After about 15 minutes an ambulance took Frank to the hospital, but it was too late. I think he died in the gym, which is probably the way he would have wanted it—with all his friends surrounding him, in the environment he loved.

"Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE who knew Frank liked him very much. He was a very sweet man, and you could see that smile on his a mile away. The gym will never be the same. Rest in peace, my friend."

I was the emcee at several of Hillebrand’s contests—the 1992 IRON MAN Pro (10th) and Arnold Classic (11th), and the 1993 Arnold Classic (12th) and the San Jose Pro Invitational (7th). Hillebrand, a former World Amateur champion out of Germany, placed seventh in the 1990 Mr. Olympia.

Hillebrand appeared on the August, 1996 cover of IRON MAN with model Camille Jones. If I remember correctly, I interviewed him as well for that issue. And, that he had already retired from competition by that point.

Heartfelt condolences to all of Hillebrand’s family and friends.

Filed Under: News, People, Reflections

Celebrating Jack LaLanne

/ Posted 02.02.2011

About 500 of us celebrated the life of Jack LaLanne on Tuesday, gathering in the Hall of Liberty at Forest Lawn Cemetery in the Hollywood Hills at 1 p.m.

As expected, a large group of industry icons were in attendance, including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lou Ferrigno, Joe Weider, John Balik, Robert Kennedy, Richard Simmons and Denise Austin.

Arnold led the way of several who took to the stage to give tribute to LaLanne, who died a week ago Sunday at the age of 96. “It doesn’t matter where you go, there’s a health club, and it all started with Jack LaLanne,” said Schwarzenegger. “Jack is now in heaven and, of course, that’s going to be very annoying for a lot of people up there. It’s not going to be pretty, because we know what’s going to happen. Residents of heaven have a new wake-up call at 6 a.m., and they are doing thousands of push-ups and stretching exercises.

“The people are in a state of shock because they were promised if they were good, they could rest in peace. There will be no resting now.”

As Kennedy, Publisher of MuscleMag International, said, “Jack opened the first health club in Oakland, California, in 1936…that was the start of the fitness revolution as we know it today.”

Ferrigno talked about how, as a starving newcomer to California in 1976, he came up with $35 for dinner. Well, for two dinners. Lou’s a big man, with a big appetite, as we all know. “The waiter came by and said the bill had been paid for by Jack,” Ferrigno said. “There he was, standing right there in the restaurant, Jack LaLanne, one of my idols. I couldn’t believe it.”

Simmons said he hated LaLanne when he first saw him on television. “He was everything I wasn’t,” Simmons said. “He was fit. He ate healthy. He had self-esteem.” When LaLanne appeared on the “Richard Simmons Show” in 1980, they became friends, he said. “I’m here to pay tribute to a legend, and someone who influenced me to be a better person.”

The line of the day, natch, went to Arnold. “People doubted what Jack was promoting in his early years,” Schwarzenegger said. “They warned if you lifted weights you could get heart problems, become a narcissist, turn gay, or it could reduce your sex drive. How do they explain the fact that Charlie Sheen works out every day? So, that’s nonsense.”

Schwarzenegger told the audience he met LaLanne at Venice Beach shortly after he moved to the United States in 1968. He reminisced about LaLanne asking him and Franco Columbu to join him in a work out. “After we went non-stop for about 30 minutes, I said ‘This guy’s a machine…a real machine.’ Little did I know I would end up playing a machine in the movies.”

Jack’s three children were there and, in perhaps the most fitting tribute to the king of fitness, Dan Doyle LaLanne shared his father’s final moments. Dan held up a dumbbell, and said “He had one of these in his left hand when he died.”

Now, would we expect anything less?

Filed Under: People, Reflections