Jack LaLanne, Fitness Show-Off and Pioneering Healthy Eating Advocate, Dies at 96

Photo: AP File Photo

Bay Area native Jack LaLanne died over the weekend at his home in Morro Bay, California. He was 96 years old. A self-described “sugarholic” as a teenager, LaLanne went on to become a health nut and had a pioneering weekday exercise show for housewives in the 1950s on local TV station KGO — he joked in 2009 with a Chronicle reporter, “I spent a lot of time on the floor with your mother.” Taking inspiration from early “clean eating” advocate Paul Bragg, LaLanne made a career as a muscle man fond of public stunts, an author of eleven books about health and fitness, and an entrepreneur whose latest venture, the Power Juicer, made him a star of the late-night infomercial hours in recent years. The Onion awarded him a fake “Early Morning Emmy” in 2008 for Most Special Offer.

In 1968, at the age of 54, LaLanne challenged the then 21-year-old Arnold Schwarzenegger to a duel at Muscle Beach in Southern California in which he beat the Austrian at both push-ups and chin-ups.

San Francisco restaurant John’s Grill, where LaLanne celebrated his 95th birthday last year alongside his equally fit 84-year-old wife, will be setting a table in his honor today. Their menu includes Jack LaLanne’s Favorite Salad, which features Dungeness crab, shrimp, tomato, avocado, seasonal greens, and a blue cheese vinaigrette.

Below, some vintage LaLanne, advising his female audience about “supermarket smarts,” and cutting back on “white flour, white sugar foods.”

TV pioneer Jack LaLanne got viewers off the couch [AP]
Earlier: Jack LaLanne at 95 [Chron]

Jack LaLanne, Fitness Show-Off and Pioneering Healthy Eating Advocate, Dies at