Jack LaLanne and his co-star, Happy
Fitness Guru Jack LaLanne (1914-2011) passed away yesterday, at the age of 96.
He was the first nationally-known fitness jock, he had a TV show in the 1950's, and he was into exercise and healthy diet long before anybody thought it was cool. He came from the days when coaches wouldn't allow their athletes to pump iron, because they were sure it would cause them to become muscle-bound. He dabbled in vegetarian eating when the very idea marked you as some kind of loon. People laughed at the idea that exercise and diet mattered to longevity.
He outlived all his critics.
Every year on his birthday, LaLanne would do some kind of stunt to show what shape he was in.
In his forties, he did a thousand push-ups in twenty-three minutes.
When he was sixty, he swam from Alcatraz Island to Fisherman's Wharf.
Towing a boat ...
He worked out right until the end, and died from complications of pneumonia.
I watched the old black&white TV show when I was a kid, and his enthusiasm for fitness was infectious. Not just pumping iron, he did all kinds of things, using a towel and a chair, that you could do at home -- he was an original. The original.
A few years back, he was interviewed somewhere on the tube, and he joked about sex.
You still having sex? he said he was asked sometimes.
Oh, yeah, my wife and I make love almost every day.
Sure. We almost made love on Monday. Almost did it on Tuesday, almost on Wednesday ...