MARINA DEL REY, CA — Joe Gold's death brought to a close a long piece of the health club industry's history. The 82-year-old Gold, who founded Gold's Gym and World Gym, died in his sleep on July 11 in Los Angeles. Media reports state he had been suffering from heart and kidney problems.
Club Industry magazine had selected Gold to receive its Lifetime Achievement Award at the Club Industry show in October. Because of illness, Gold was sending World Gym CEO and President Mike Uretz, who had been a long-time friend and business partner, to the ceremony to accept the award for him. Uretz still plans to attend the event and deliver Gold's remarks.
“He was very pleased and honored to know that he was going to be recognized by Club Industry and his only regret was that he couldn't receive the award in person,” Uretz said before Gold's death.
Gold founded Gold's Gym in 1965 in Venice Beach, CA, as a gym for bodybuilders. The gym became famous after being featured in the film Pumping Iron with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno. Gold sold Gold's Gym in the mid 1970s only to start up World Gym in the late 1970s.
Gold won several bodybuilding titles and honors. He was a member of the Body Building Hall of Fame.
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, former bodybuilder and action film star, worked out at Gold's Gym when he arrived in America from Austria in 1968.
“Joe looked after me and encouraged me, and his dry sense of humor was a daily feature of the gym,” Schwarzenegger said in a statement released by his office after Gold's death. “Joe was a trusted friend and father figure and was instrumental in my training during my days as a bodybuilder. Gold's Gym was not only a training facility but it became a home to me. Joe was an inspiration to many and his death is felt deeply in the entire health and fitness community.”
Gold, who never married, leaves no family. He does, however, leave the legacy of Gold's Gym, his 300 World Gyms and the thousands of body builders, gym owners and fitness people that he influenced.