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Jack LaLanne

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Jack La Lanne

Jack La Lanne (b. September 26 1914 in San Francisco, California) is an American fitness, exercise and nutritional expert, celebrity, lecturer, and motivational speaker. La Lanne is known as "the father of fitness."

Born Francois Henri La Lanne, the son of French immigrants, he did not always lead a healthy lifestyle. Up until the age of 15, when he heard Paul Bragg give a talk on health and nutrition, La Lanne describes himself as a sugarholic. This was the turning point in his life when he decided to focus on his diet and exercise habits. He studied Gray's Anatomy and concentrated on bodybuilding and weightlifting which, in the 1930s, was a revolutionary technique.

He originally planned to enter the field of medicine; but in 1936, at the age of 21, he opened his own health spa in California (the first gym in the United States) and encouraged clients to better themselves through weight-training. He designed the first leg extension machines, pulley machines using cables, and weight selectors; equipment which is now standard in the fitness industry. He was also the first to encourage women to weight-lift (at the time, people worried that this would make women look masculine and unattractive). By the 1980s there were more than 200 health clubs bearing his name (although he is no longer associated with any gym).

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Jack La Lanne in the 1940s

In 1951 La Lanne began to reach the American audience through television, which he continued for the next 30 years, giving on-screen instruction in fitness and exercise. He also publishes books and videos on fitness and nutrition, has appeared in films, recorded a song with Connie Haines, markets an electric juicer under his name, and used to market exercise equipment and a range of vitamin supplements.

His success as a body-builder became known worldwide, as well as his prodigious feats of strength. He has won numerous awards, including the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. At age 90, he continues to work out every morning for two hours, one hour in the weight room and one hour in the pool. La Lanne and his wife of 50 years, Elaine (77), who herself was out of shape and a smoker when she met Jack during a local network news interview, live in Morro Bay, California and travel all over the world giving motivational talks about fitness and exercise.

He often says, "Death would ruin my image."

La Lanne has appeared (as himself) in several films:

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