Even the original TV fitness guru couldn’t live forever – but Jack LaLanne certainly had a long run. He was dispensing healthy living advice right up to his death Sunday (1/23) at age 96.
LaLanne was a native Californian, the son of French immigrants who named him Francois Henri back in 1914. His older brother gave him the nickname “Jack” and it stuck.
As he told the story, LaLanne was addicted to sugar and junk food as a kid, but became a student of health foods and exercise as a teenager. He opened his own gym in Oakland, CA in 1936 and began designing workout machine machines which are now standard in gyms around the world.
LaLanne was in his mid-30s when “The Jack LaLanne Show” debuted on ABC’s KGO-TV San Francisco as a local program. It set the still-unbroken record for an exercise show, running for 34 years – eight local and then 26 on the ABC Network.
LaLanne was well past normal retirement age and into his 70s when the TV show ended its run, but he continued to appear on TV as a guest, wrote books and worked out daily. When the Internet came along, LaLanne began blogging about health and fitness. His final blog entry on January 20th urged people to keep their New Year’s Resolutions and pitched his new “Cooking with Jack” cookbook.
The death of Jack LaLanne on Sunday was attributed to respiratory failure due to pneumonia.
Photo: Nathan Cremisino
RBR-TVBR observation: Jack LaLanne truly practiced what he preached. If only we had taken his advice to heart when we watched him on TV so many years ago.