Joe Gold is known by many as the father of Bodybuilding.
Born in Los Angeles in 1922, Gold served as a machinist in the US Merchant Marine in World War II and the Korean War.
Gold loved the gym, and in particular, he prided himself on creating all of the equipment in his gyms. Opening his first such establishment in 1951 in New Orleans, called Ajax Gym, Joe tired of the business end of the operation and abandoned that venture to move back to LA, where in 1954 he took work as a 'male backdrop' for Mae West's revue show. Famously, Joe auditioned with a bunch of muscular men for the part, when, as only Mae West could do when asked which man she preferred for the role, she purred, "I'll take them all." Gold toured the country with West and had roles as an extra in the epic, "Ten Commandments" film with Charlton Heston and in "Around the World in 80 Days" both filmed in 1956. In 1963, Gold's attention turned back to the gym business and, in partnership with the Muscle Beach Weightlifting Club, he opened an indoor facility. That arrangement wasn't meant to be and in 1965, Gold moved the gym to Venice where the famous bodybuilding culture of the 70's arose from, reaching the pinnacle with the release of Pumping Iron, featuring a young Arnold Schwarzenegger in 1977. Here's the twist. Joe didn't hang around to see that. In 1970, again the restless soul, Joe sold the gym along with the rights to 'Gold's Gym' for a mere $50,000. Legend has it, Joe longed for the sea and returned to the Merchant Marine, returning in 1976 to, once again, take up in the gym business. Problem was, he had sold the right to use his own name in any venture going forward. He returned to Santa Monica and opened a 'bigger, better' gym and according to life long friend and eventual business partner in World Gym International, gold said, "let's call it World Gym, because I want this one to be internationally known." Schwarzenegger, who called Joe Gold "a trusted friend and father figure" was an investor in the newly launched venture and Gold had found his mark in the business, operating World Gym International until his death in 2004. The man who had first taken an interest in bodybuilding at age 12, when he saw his sister-in-law affix two buckets on the ends of a broomstick to strengthen her arms had been the creator of not only one, but TWO iconic health club brands that still continue to thrive, not bad for a guy who didn't have much of a passion for business and suffered with wanderlust for most of his early adulthood. But his brand is authentic and that's the passion that still is evident today when you walk in the door. Today, World Gym has over 200 franchised locations in 36 states and 50 more in dozens of countries around the globe, including two right here in Rochester, NY. Located at East Avenue and in Greece Ridge Mall, you can experience Joe Gold's legacy with this special online offer from Healthy Edge, just click HERE for the East Avenue Location and HERE for the Greece Ridge Mall location...and check out this cool video history by clicking on the photo below:
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