July 21, 2003 by

Lucille Roberts


Categories: Business

lroberts.jpgLucille Roberts, a self-proclaimed “exercise nut,” turned her passion for working out into a health club empire worth $30 million.

Born in Russia, Roberts and her family immigrated to the U.S. in order to escape religious persecution. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard Business School’s Owner/Management Program.

In 1969, Roberts and her husband Bob scraped together $15,000 and opened a spa in midtown Manhattan. Her goal was to offer affordable exercise facilities for women who avoided male-dominated health clubs. The concept was an immediate success and two years later, she changed the name of the club to her own.

Roberts eventually opened gyms in 50 other locations. With more than 200,000 members, Lucille Roberts is now one of the largest women-only establishments in the country. When she wasn’t running the health club chain, Roberts wrote and published the books “Computercise” and “The Lucille Roberts 14 Day Makeover.”

Roberts died on July 17 of lung cancer. She was 59.

10 Responses to Lucille Roberts

  1. courtney

    I worked for Lucille Roberts Health spa 6 yrs ago, for aprox 5 yrs. I was a Dedicated manager of 3 of her Health Clubs. She will be deeply missed and If anyone who used to work at her facilities during the time that i worked there please contact me. I am married now, but my maiden name was Courtney Guillot.
    Your family is in my thoughts and prayers.
    Mrs. Courtney Castricone

  2. Bob Roberts

    Bobby Burrell is “stupidity”. He knows nothing about lung cancer or Lucille Roberts. Lucille Roberts was not a smoker and sadly died from lung cancer.

    • Tracy

      In 1982 my uncle told me to add a year to my age for my new job application. Not my style but I did it. At 16 “17” and a history of teaching gymnastics after school at the middle school after school, and being on hs varsity gymnastics, I thought this was the perfect first job. One of the Massapequa managers hired me. Teresa, a pretty woman with dark brown hair often pulled back in a pony tail. Another asst. manager was Gini. Everyone looked so cool and the spa was one of the nicer ones. I loved the colored carpet and music playing and vibe. It took me a few weeks to become a popular instructor. I had NO experience teaching aerobics which was the class I wanted to teach. After trial and error I finally got the busiest 730 and 8pm classes in the big main room There were some smaller exercise rooms. I played Michael Jackson and Donna Summer among other 45’s on the record player in the corner of the room. Changing records as the class finished their sets. I lovvvved that job… At graduation I gave my resignation, though offered a chance at managing in another store. I worried I could enjoy teaching class so much I would forget to develop a biz career. As years went by and I developed my career, I always looked back at the best times that I loved. Till this day I occasionally think of the trade I made and how my waist would have remained had I stayed. Lol. I never met Lucille even when had to go into the city office to be hired on a second interview. Now I see Temple Fitness in the place of the former Lucille Roberts location. They must have closed in the pandemic. I looked through the window and thought how much I would have loved to open the doors and do that all again.. To the Roberts family.. you really have so much to be proud of with all Lucille and you all created. Cheers.

  3. Ivy Jackson

    Dear Bob and Lucille ( I know you can hear this), 🙂
    You offered me an opportunity to grow up, learn a business and develop the fear based young woman I was. I cannot thank you enough for all you have given me. I often think about you and rememberthe good times I had in the Hamptons House!!!
    Bob, If you do remember who I am..I send my deepest sorrow and hope you and the boys are healing through this journey of life.
    Warm Regards,
    Ivy Jackson

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