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Fitness Guru Jack LaLanne Turns 90

October 24, 2004

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) _ Jack LaLanne keeps going and going, and so do the parties celebrating his 90th birthday. On Saturday, nearly a month after the fitness guru turned 90, friends gathered to honor him near the Muscle Beach that LaLanne and his bodybuilding colleagues made famous in the 1940s.

``I’m so flattered and honored,″ LaLanne said before a luncheon began at the Hotel Casa Del Mar. ``Who the heck am I? I’m just a guy trying to help people.″

LaLanne later became a household name by hosting a television exercise show that ran from 1951-85, and by performing outrageous feats such as towing boats while swimming across Long Beach Harbor handcuffed.

``This was an incredible place,″ LaLanne said of Muscle Beach. ``I was living in San Francisco and would drive all night to get here for the weekend, then perform acrobatic tricks on the beach. People would come from all over to see us; we were teaching kids how to get their bodies and minds active.″

The party was attended by celebrities such as David Carradine and Lou Ferrigno, and followed similar celebrations in recent weeks in New York and San Francisco, where LaLanne was born Sept. 26, 1914.

LaLanne, who was dressed in a tight, pinstriped suit that revealed his lean, lithe physique, said he celebrated by traveling to France to visit his parents’ birthplace and bought himself a Mercedes convertible.

``You’ve got to work at living because dying is easy,″ he said.

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