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.”