Jack LaLanne Dies at 96

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The physical fitness guru grew up and got his professional start right here in the Bay Area.

    San Francisco-born fitness guru Jack LaLanne died Sunday at the age of 96, in his home in Morro Bay, said friend and spokesman Lee Housekeeper.

    LaLanne died of respiratory failure following a bout of pheumonia.

    A table in his honor will be set at John's Grill, a historic restaurant on Ellis Street, that serves a signature dish called "Jack LaLanne's Favorite Salad." In October 2009, the restaurant celebrated LaLanne's 95th birthday by offering a glass of wine for 95 cents, had 95 fitness fans who performed 95 push ups.

    LaLanne was a Bay Area celebrity dating back decades.  He had a fitness show that aired on KTVU in Oakland that originally aired in black and white in the 1950s.  LaLanne said physical fitness transformed his life as a teen, and said he worked over the next eight decades to help it transform others' lives as well.

    In 1936 in his native Oakland, LaLanne opened a health studio that included weight-training for women and athletes. Those were revolutionary notions at the time, because of the theory that weight training made an athlete slow and "muscle bound" and made a woman look masculine.

     At 60, he swam from Alcatraz to Fisherman's Wharf handcuffed, shackled and towing a boat. Ten years later, he performed a similar feat down in Long Beach.