Sid Craig -- weight-loss guru, horseman, Suns minority owner -- dies

Updated: July 23, 2008, 12:24 AM ET
Associated Press

SAN DIEGO -- Sid Craig, the co-founder of the weight loss company Jenny Craig Inc. who was a prominent thoroughbred horse owner and a minority owner of the Phoenix Suns has died, the company said Tuesday.

Craig, who founded the company with his wife, died Monday in San Diego following a long illness. He was 76.

Sid and Jenny Craig founded Jenny Craig Inc. in 1982 in Melbourne, Australia. The company eventually grew to include 655 weight loss centers in four countries. In 2006, Nestle SA bought the Carlsbad-based company for $600 million.

Craig and his wife owned Paseana, who won the Breeders' Cup Distaff in 1992 and lost the same race by a nose in 1993. The couple purchased a 237-acre stable and breeding operation in Rancho Santa Fe, north of San Diego, in 1995.

Their horse Candy Ride won the $1 million Pacific Classic in track-record time at Del Mar racetrack in 2003.

"It doesn't get any better than that in your own backyard," Sid Craig said at the time. "I saw that race 5,000 times before it happened. ... I really visualized winning that race."

Candy Ride was trained by Hall of Famer Ron McAnally, who, along with his wife Debbie, were close friends of the Craigs.

"Sid was just absolutely the best. He knew horse racing inside and out," Debbie McAnally told The Associated Press by phone from Los Angeles.

She described the Craigs' marriage as a "fairy tale."

"I told Jenny yesterday, 'Your marriage, your lives are going to go down in history as one of the all-time greats," McAnally said. "They shared their success with love. They were the most giving people that we've known. We are hurting because we lost a great man."

Patti Larchet, Jenny Craig's chief executive officer, wrote on the company's Web site: "Together, he and Jenny built the strong foundation of our company's values, culture, and mission of improving people's lives by helping them lose weight and keep it off."

Craig was born March 22, 1932, in Vancouver, British Columbia. In the mid-1950s, he worked as a part-time instructor at Arthur Murray Dance Studios and later purchased five franchises.

In the 1970s, he bought a stake in a women's salon, Body Contour Inc., and later opened other salons. It was during this period he met Jenny Guidroz Bourcq, who worked as director of operations for the salons. The two later married.

The Craigs sold their stake in Body Contour and moved to Australia where they opened the first Jenny Craig weight loss center.

Sid Craig is survived by his wife and five children. Funeral services will be private.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press