Joe Gold

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For American basketball player, see Joe Dan Gold.

Joe Gold (born Sydney Gold; March 10, 1922 in East Los Angeles, California,[1] – July 11, 2004 in Marina del Rey, California) was an American bodybuilder and businessman. He was the founder of Gold's Gym and World Gym. He has been credited with being the father of the bodybuilding and the fitness craze.

Early life[edit]

Joe Gold was the son of Abram Mordechai Goldglejt and Zelda Fieierman, residing in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles.[2]

Joe Gold began his interest in bodybuilding at the age of 12, when he saw his sister-in-law's design for strengthening her arms. She had attached a filled bucket to each end of a broom handle and was using them as lifts. Joe and his brother, Robert Gold, got the idea for building their own equipment from scrap obtained from Robert's scrap yard. As a teenager he headed for Muscle Beach in Santa Monica.

A machinist, he served in the United States Merchant Marine during World War II[3] where he was injured in a torpedo attack as well as serving in the Korean War.


As a professional bodybuilder, he auditioned for Mae West[1] with a group of musclemen. West approved, "I'll take all of you." Joe Gold toured the country in her revue. He also appeared as an extra in two epic movies: The Ten Commandments and Around the World in 80 Days, both in 1956.

In 1965 Joe Gold opened the first Gold's Gym in Venice, California.[3] It quickly became a landmark for local bodybuilders despite the dirty fixtures of its first incarnation. Joe Gold was known for the personal encouragement he gave trainers, although delivered in sarcastic jabs at their faults.

Among Joe Gold's many devotees was Arnold Schwarzenegger,[3] who began working out at the gym in 1968 soon after arriving in the US. In a statement, the former Governor of California called Joe Gold "a trusted friend and father figure."

Joe Gold opened new gyms and designed the equipment for them. His innovations revolutionized the sport, enabling people to exercise more easily with machines. He sold the Gold's Gym chain in 1970. In 1977 he launched World Gym in Santa Monica (later in Marina del Rey), which he owned and operated until his death.


Gold died at age 82 in Marina del Rey.


The first Joe Gold Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Ric Drasin at the 2012 World Gym International Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Luther, Claudia (13 July 2004). "Joe Gold, 82; Legendary Bodybuilder". Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles Times). Retrieved 2 August 2015. 
  2. ^ NNDB
  3. ^ a b c Jordan, Pat. "Body by Joe". The New York Times Magazine. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 2 August 2015. 
  4. ^ 2012 World Gym Convention Builders and Lifters. Retrieved October 9, 2012.

External links[edit]