Jack LaLanne Dies at 96

By Mathew Luschek
|  Monday, Jan 24, 2011  |  Updated 3:53 PM PDT
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The physical fitness guru grew up and got his professional start right here in the Bay Area.

NBC Bay Area

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

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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.

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