On Sunday, fitness guru Jack Lalanne died of pneumonia-related respiratory failure at age 96, a statement from his agent reported. He died at his home in Morro Bay, California, “surrounded by his family…and in no distress,” his daughter added.
LaLanne’s workout show was a television staple from the 1950’s to the 1970’s, long before dieting and fitness became an obsession for many Americans. Fellow bodybuilder and former governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger credited LaLanne with bringing exercise into the home.
“He laid the groundwork for others to have exercise programs, and now it has bloomed from that black and white program into a very colorful enterprise,” Schwarzenegger said.
LaLanne ate well and exercised his entire life while continuously encouraging others to do the same. “The only way you can hurt the body is not use it,” LaLanne said, “Inactivity is the killer and, remember, it’s never too late.”
At age 60, LaLanne swam from Alcatraz Island to Fisherman’s Wharf while handcuffed and pulling a 1,000-pound boat. At age 70, again handcuffed, he pulled 70 people in 70 boats 1 ½ miles through Long Beach Harbor.
LaLanne liked to joke, “I can’t die. It would ruin my image.”
LaLanne opened the nation’s first modern fitness gym in 1936, which included fitness equipment, a juice bar, and health food store. His fitness program, The Jack LaLanne Show, debuted in 1959 and ran for 34 years.
Not all fitness gurus, however, enjoyed life’s longevity like Jack Lalanne. Here are six other male and female experts who were not so lucky: