Joe Gold was born in East Los Angeles. It was during his teens that he discovered Venice's Muscle Beach, the regular hangout for stuntmen, acrobats and bodybuilders. He became a regular, working out, playing beach volleyball and making friends with other Muscle Beach frequenters.
He joined the Navy during World War II, and spent six months in a hospital recovering after a torpedo exploded alongside his ship, injuring him very badly. Although he recovered from his injuries, he had to spend many of his later years confined to a wheelchair because of them.
After his recovery, Gold returned to Venice, splitting his time between Muscle Beach and the occasional stint in the merchant marine. He founded the first Gold's Gym in the mid-1960s, naturally setting up shop in Venice. Six years later he sold the rights to the name, which resulted in a string of franchised Gold's Gyms across the country. In the late '70s, Gold returned to the gym business, founding the World Gym chain.
Governor Schwarzenegger stated Monday that ''Joe Gold was a bodybuilding legend, a pioneer, but above all, deep in his heart, he was a bodybuilding fan," who was ''a trusted friend and father figure."