Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.

This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.


Golden Boy

We need to hear from you.
Today during our spring member drive, put a dollar value on the trustworthy reporting you rely on all year long. The local news you read here every day is crafted for you, but right now, we need your help to keep it going. In these uncertain times, your support is even more important. We can't hold those in power accountable and uplift voices from the community without your partnership. Thank you.

Joe Gold, founder of LA's iconic Gold's Gym and the man who helped pump up our very own Governator, passed away Sunday at the age of 82.

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.

Support for LAist comes from

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."

Most Read