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Bonnie Prudden
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Fitness Expert
    (January 29, 1914-December 11, 2011)
    Born in Manhattan, New York
    Birth name was Ruth Alice Prudden
    Rock climber and physical fitness advocate
    Wrote 15 books on physical fitness
    Hosted exercise segments on Today
    Hosted a syndicated exercise show
    Established the Institute for Physical Fitness (1954)
    Co-authored a report showing that 56% of American school children failed a basic fitness test (1955)
    Report prompted Dwight David Eisenhower to create the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sport
    Starting at age three, she would climb out of her bedroom window to wander the neighborhood at night.
    She played hooky from school to run messages and bootleg liquor for a Miami whorehouse.
    She was estranged from her two daughters: 'I didn't have very good luck with them.'
    She did commercials for Grape Nuts.
    By pioneering the TV exercise show, she paved the way for Richard Simmons.
    She fractured her pelvis in five places in a skiing accident (1937) and was told she would never have children and would have to give up skiing, climbing and dancing.
    She was one of the first female members of the National Ski Patrol.
    She helped develop the infant swimming course for the YMCA.
    She invented exercise equipment, including one of the first climbing walls.
    She said, 'I'm not pushing people to become Olympic athletes. I just want them to feel good, and you can't do that without exercise.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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