The Jack Lalanne Show, aired from 1951 to 1985, helped redefine America’s health and fitness approach.
In addition to popularizing jumping jacks and opening the nation’s first health club in Oakland, Calif., in 1936, Jack was also the inventor of many gym staples — including the world’s first leg extension machine, weight the selector machine, cable, and pulley machine — as well as nutritional bars and instant breakfasts.
Elaine was Jack’s silent business partner in all his endeavors and his wife for 51 years. Their illustrious careers earned them the titles of “Godfather” and “First Lady” of fitness.
Elaine, 96, said, “From her home office, stacked photos and diary entries from Jack’s old life adorn her desk. My life is an open book.” It’s been cathartic reading his old diary entries, says Elaine, and has reminded her why she loves him so much.
Jack LaLane’s show premiered in 1951 as a local exercise program in San Francisco. Eventually, it gained national syndication and ran for over 30 years, where the couple and their dogs challenged viewers to rethink how they eat.
She said, “Even though today these ideas are pretty mainstream, at the time they were a tough lesson to swallow, given the common household diet of “mashed potatoes and gravy” and “butter on everything.”
Jack preached health and longevity well into his 90s and later appeared on several talks shows to advocate for the benefits of juicing. Her role as his partner in life and business enabled her to carry out many of his artistic visions, which earned the American College of Lifestyle Medicine’s 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award. Although their success is a team effort in many ways, Elaine says she never felt second fiddle to her generous husband.
Elaine said, “Since I was a child, the only thing I wanted to do was help people. Her life mission was “helping people to help themselves.” Jack’s mission is carried forward by Elaine, who speaks on health, wellness, and longevity from her own experience. In her view, it all comes down to one principle: “Keep it simple.”