Jack and Elaine LaLanne were always a team — in life, marriage, family and business. For 57 years, their romance and careers pioneering today’s fitness industry were ever entwined. Jack died in January 2011, but Elaine is quick to share his message and continues as president of their business ventures.
“I want to lecture again,” she said. “It was a favorite time with Jack. He wouldn’t book without me on the program. He believed each of us could achieve whatever we wanted, but we had to do it for ourselves.”
Her current project is the annual Jack LaLanne celebrity golf tournament at Brookside Golf Club in Pasadena. This year, it will be on Aug. 4.
“It will benefit the First Tee Program, offering boys and girls on the Central Coast and Pasadena the opportunity to participate in positive and healthy golf programs,” Elaine said.
She encourages anyone interested to register at www.JackLaLanne.com.
Golfing introduced the LaLannes to the Central Coast, but a visit with Jack’s schoolmate Bill Parker sold Jack on building their retirement home in Morro Bay.
They moved from Los Angeles after officially retiring “The Jack LaLanne Show” in 1986, and they enjoyed community and friends such as Warren Dorn and his family and their involvement with Morro Bay Beautiful.
Retired, hardly — the couple kept busy with guest appearances, fitness features on KSBY-TV, product development and lecturing.
Elaine was in television before Jack. She helped pioneer today’s talk television format by co-hosting and booking the “Les Malloy Show” on KGO-TV in San Francisco.
She booked Jack on the show to do push-ups for the entire 90 minutes. After he created his iconic exercise show on KGO, he’d alternately ask her out and suggest she quit smoking.
“First, I blew smoke in his eyes, then he showed me the difference between pink and black lungs, so I quit,” Elaine said. “I fell in love with him for his brains not his brawn. He was smart and had interesting friends.”
By 1959, the show was syndicated in major markets and they moved to Los Angeles.
“A television show is costly to produce. Jack wouldn’t endorse products he didn’t believe in so we developed our own — vitamins, breakfast drinks, the juicer and licensing gyms and health food stores,” she said.
She was always there for his incredible feats.
“The scariest time was when he tried to recreate the 1962 escape from Alcatraz by three bank robbers. San Francisco Bay’s late-night tides swept him toward the Golden Gate Bridge. We had to pull him out chilled and shaking.”
“I always love the life I’m in at the time,” she said. And, yes, she still swims daily and eats right, except that occasional piece of birthday cake.
Judy Salamacha can be reached at email@example.com or 801-1422.