Jack LaLanne – the man who was known as the “fitness guru” – died in his Morro Bay home Sunday as a result of pneumonia at the age of 96.
LaLanne was known for getting Hollywood and television viewers to go healthy long before the fitness craze was the “in thing” to do. "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."
Speaking on her husband of 51 years, Elaine LaLanne said, "I have not only lost my husband and a great American icon, but the best friend and most loving partner anyone could ever hope for."
He was born Jack François Henri LaLanne on September 26, 1914 to French immigrant parents. As a child LaLanne was addicted to sugar but after a lecture by nutritionist Paul C. Bragg and later meeting Bragg and being told he was a walking garbage can, LaLanne turned his life around…and later the world’s. LaLanne began a strict regiment of a healthy diet and exercise program. By the time he was 18, LaLanne was running a home bakery where he sold healthy baked goods. The make shift gym that he constructed in his backyard was also used to help train firemen and police officers.
In 1951 LaLanne starred in his own television show “The Jack LaLanne Show” and despite predictions that the show wouldn’t last six weeks, the series ran for 20 years. He was known for creating exercises that anyone could do with items in their home. Besides his own show, LaLanne appeared in a number of television shows as himself and as an actor including the role of Hercules in “The Year Without a Santa Claus”, the television series “Mr. Ed”, the documentary “How to Live Forever”,, , Jimmy Kimmel, as himself in an episode of “The Simpsons”, “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In”, “Here’s Lucy”, “Batman”, “The Addams Family”, and as himself in an episode of “Peter Gunn”.
LaLanne, who said he never thought about his age, was quoted as saying that dying would wreck his image.
LaLanne is survived by his wife Elaine, and children Dan, Jon, and Yvonne.