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Famous Fitness Fads

Jog your memory: Celebrities and fitness gurus who made exercise fun

Instructor Debbie Drake demonstarting excercises to reduce weight and enhance figure to a class of older women.

— Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images

DEBBIE DRAKE

A true fitness trailblazer, Drake was the first woman to star in her own daily exercise show. The Debbie Drake Show debuted in 1960 and aired during the morning on dozens of stations across the country.

Between that show and its follow-up, Debbie Drake’s Dancercize, she stayed on the air continuously until 1978. Like Jack LaLanne, Drake became one of the country’s first fitness gurus, parlaying her fame into guest appearances on TV shows such as The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, The David Frost Show, The New Steve Allen Show and What’s My Line?. Drake was also before her time as a multimedia star: In addition to her TV show, she published the 1961 book Debbie Drake’s Easy Way to a Perfect Figure and Glowing Health, and recorded albums, including Look Good! Feel Great! and How to Keep Your Husband Happy. With an album title like that, Drake was the perfect fitness star for the Mad Men era.

Next: From Fat Kid to Fitness Sensation

Previous: The Founding Father of Fitness

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