Joe Gold — who founded both Gold’s Gym and later World Gym — died in his sleep Sunday, July 11th, at Daniel Freeman Marina Hospital.
Cause of death was not reported. Gold was 82.
Gold was one of the major forces in bodybuilding and fitness in the U.S. and internationally.
Gold was born March 10th, 1922, in East Los Angeles.
When he was a teenager, he would go to Santa Monica’s Muscle Beach and work out with the bodybuilders.
After joining the Navy during World War II and getting injured in the Philippines, he returned to Muscle Beach.
During the 1950s, he was recruited with other bodybuilders to join film star Mae West in her Las Vegas act that featured a chorus line of bodybuilders behind her.
Gold opened his first gym in New Orleans and in the 1960s he opened his Gold’s Gym in Venice.
When bodybuilder, actor and now governor Arnold Schwarzenegger moved to California in 1968, he trained at Gold’s Gym.
Gold’s Gym was immortalized in the documentary film “Pumping Iron.”
Besides owning gyms, Gold also designed fitness machines that allowed bodybuilders to receive comprehensive workouts.
Six years after opening the first Gold’s Gym, Gold sold the rights to the gym and the new owners franchised the company.
In 1977, Gold opened the first World Gym on Main Street in Santa Monica. The World Gym franchise now has more than 300 gyms. World’s Gym is now headquartered on Washington Boulevard in Venice.
When World Gym opened, Schwarzenegger also trained there.
Gold inspired Schwarzenegger throughout Schwarzenegger’s bodybuilding and acting career.
Gold also trained bodybuilder and actor Lou Ferrigno.
Gold spent much of his last years in a wheelchair but remained active.
After becoming ill in the 1990s, Gold gave World Gym chief executive officer duties to Mike Uretz.
Gold never married and did not have children.
Funeral services will be planned within the next two weeks.
Memorial contributions can be made to The Salvation Army Bell Shelter, c/o Doug Loisel, 5600 Mansfield Way, Bell, CA 90201.