At Jack LaLanne’s 90th birthday party, held at the Casa Del Mar Hotel in Santa Monica, the fitness guru who promoted the benefits of pumping iron decades before it became fashionable, told me “I can’t die, it wouldn’t be good for my image.” Jack held on another six years before he succumbed to respiratory failure due to pneumonia Sunday afternoon at his Morro Bay home on California’s central coast, according to his agent, Rick Hersh.
LaLanne, who said he exercised every day, swore he didn’t eat sugar since he was 15 years old. He opened what is believed to be the nation’s first health club in Oakland, CA, in 1936, and in the 1950s starred in what was the first ever television exercise program.
Jack was full of energy every time I saw him, and never left without rattling off a few of his long list of witty lines. When I asked him at the birthday party, which was co-produced by IRON MAN Magazine, how he was going to top towing a boat across the San Francisco Bay with his teeth (for his 70th), he snapped, “I’m going to tow Elaine (his wife of 51 years) across the bathtub tonight.” Check out the video interview I did with Jack at Muscle Beach in 2007 to get my drift.
Jack, you may be gone, but I wouldn’t have to tell you you’ll never be forgotten. Thank you for what you brought to this world.