James A. Corea

Archive page for Jim Corea, health and fitness talk show host on WWDB.

Longtime health and fintess radio show host on WWDB, Corea was let go with the rest of the staff when 96.5 flipped to music on November 6th, 2000.  He moved his show to WPEN 950 AM but suffered a heart attack prior to his return to the airwaves.

Below you will find his biography, pictures, and press clippings.


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While Jim Corea was on the air a website was created to sell some of the health products and food supplements featured on his show.  This website, www.heathyfirst.com, was still up and running nearly a year later.  The information below is from that website and saved here in anticipation that eventually that site will be modified.

I have kept the original context and copied the text here in blue, the image has been modified back into the proper jpeg format.

Dr. James A. Corea, PhD, Dr. Science, ND, RPT, is a renowned specialist in nutrition, rehabilitation, and sports medicine. He is one of the most popular Naturopathic Physicians and Physical Therapists in the Northeastern U.S. He has over 40 years of professional experience in physical therapy, fitness, general conditioning, and healthy eating. For the last 34 years, Dr. Corea has hosted a top rated radio show covering Diet, Exercise, Rehabilitation, and Vitamin Therapy. He can be heard 6 days a week on WWDB 96.5 FM and 860 AM in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, area.

Dr. Corea is well-known in the sports and health communities in the Philadelphia area. For 10 years, he served as Head of Rehabilitation and Weight Training for the Philadelphia Eagles Professional Football Team. Dr. Corea still runs a private natural medicine and sports medicine practice, as well as being a professor at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

In addition to starting VITA-LABS in 1958, Dr. Corea founded the following:

  • Dr. James A. Corea's Sports Medicine & Back Centers, Inc. - 1958
  • Jim Corea's Gym and Athletic Club - 1958
  • Jim Corea's All-Pro Sports Camp - 1970
  • Dr. James A. Corea's Personal Trainer Certification Program - 1988

Dr. Corea is a licensed Naturopathic Physician and Physical Therapist providing all types of help to victims of heart attacks, strokes, nerve and bone damage, spinal cord injuries, sports related injuries, degenerative diseases like arthritis, cancer, diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and much, much more. In addition, Dr. Corea periodically serves as an expert witness in the field of physical injuries, and lectures on physical fitness, nutrition, corporate wellness, and vitamin therapy to health clubs, hospital groups, support groups, corporations, and religious groups.


Press Clippings

Saturday March 3, 2001
(Modified from news posted to this website on March 4)

Dr. James A. Corea dies at age 63.

Just before his return to the air on WPEN Dr. Corea fell ill and was taken to Kennedy Hospital in Cherry Hill were he later died.  His show "The Doctor is In" was to be aired from 1 to 4 pm that same say.  At a station related event staffers of WPEN learned of the situation and then later on learned of his passing.  Long a fixture of WWDB, Dr. Corea preached his health and fitness regime to a multitude of fans over the years.  In November of 2000 he was let go with the rest of the staff when DB flipped to music.


Obituary in the Inky - 3/5/01
James Corea, 63, radio talk-show host and former owner of gym 
By S. Joseph Hagenmayer 

James Corea, 63, of Haddonfield, the well-known gym owner and host of local radio talk shows about fitness, died Saturday shortly after his arrival at Kennedy Memorial Hospitals-University Medical Center/Cherry Hill.

"Dr. Jim" Corea, who had lived in the borough for the last 30 years, was well-known as a nutritionist and for 10 years was a weight trainer for the Eagles. He also had a sports-medicine practice and in 1962 opened Jim Corea's Gym & Health Club in the Woodcrest Shopping Center in Cherry Hill. He later moved the gym to a building near the Ellisburg Circle.

In a day when gyms were not yet common, Mr. Corea's facility became popular with everyone from famous athletes to doctors and clergymen. Bob Clarke, Rick MacLeish, Gary Dornhoefer, Dave "The Hammer" Schultz, Larry Wadkins, Steve Zabel, Del Unser, Bob Boone and Terry Harmon were among the noted athletes who frequented the gym.

People from as far away as Wayne would make weekly trips to the gym for a workout and, perhaps more important, the advice of Mr. Corea.

The high profile of the gym and Mr. Corea's down-to-earth advice quickly made him a local celebrity, then a radio talk-show guest and, in a short time, the host of his own show.

Among his first ventures into radio was as a regular guest on Dick Clayton's talk show on WCAU-AM as a physical training expert.

Mr. Corea was perhaps best known for his more than 20 years as a fitness and nutrition consultant on WWDB-FM. His talk show ended in November when the station changed its format. Mr. Corea was to begin a new talk show on WPEN-AM this coming Saturday.

"He was truly one of a kind," said Sid Mark, who hosted the well-known Frank Sinatra music shows on the station. "For the 25 years we worked together, I recall him having a cold once. He was very upset we knew he had a cold."

Mr. Corea regularly called Mark during the Sundays With Sinatra shows at 1:10 p.m. "The executive phone would ring 10 minutes after 1. I didn't have to say hello," Mark said. "He would tell me when I was playing too many ballads and when the guys in the gym wanted to hear 'New York, New York.' "

Mr. Corea always wore shorts, even in freezing temperatures, Mark said.

"We'd ask, 'Jim, are you cold?' " Mark remembered. Mr. Corea would answer, "No, sissies get cold." "We'd say, 'Jim, it's snowing.' "

He would reply, "So what? You have a car with snow tires."

Mr. Corea was from the beginning his own best advertisement. In interviews, he was quick to point out that he did not smoke or drink and that he exercised every day.

And he was always willing to show off his Mr. America-style physique.

Mr. Corea operated the gym until 1989, when he sold it. In 1995, with the gym's future in doubt, it was purchased by Clarke, one of its early celebrity members, who continues to operate it.

Mr. Corea was also president of Vita Labs, a Cherry Hill retail and mail-order vitamin and food supplement company.

He was a frequent participant in celebrity athletic events that raised money for charities, from the American Cancer Society to the Police Athletic League.

Born in Camden, Mr. Corea was a graduate of Camden Catholic High School, where he was, not surprisingly, an athlete. He was a former Mr. Camden County.

In 1961, Mr. Corea performed in the Camden County Music Fair production of West Side Story.

He is survived by his wife, Barbara L. Caputi Corea, and daughter Michelle L.

Funeral arrangements by Schetter Funeral Home in Cherry Hill were not complete yesterday.

Memorial contributions may be made to the American Heart Association, 600 S. White Horse Pike, Audubon, N.J. 08106.


From Stu Bykofsky's column of 3/15/2001....
Heart attack killed Corea

     It was a heart attack that killed Dr. Jim Corea last weekend.
     The family's reluctance to release the cause of death led to speculation among some of Corea's fans that ranged from stroke to suicide. Corea's longtime producer and family friend Tom MacDonald told me the family didn't want to draw any comparisons between Corea and Jim Fixx, the runner who also died early of a heart attack. Corea was 63. Fixx was 52 when he died in 1984.
     "They didn't want to hear, 'Oh, why should you live a healthy life when this guy died after being one of the healthiest guys around,' " explained McDonald, a WPEN and WPHT newsman.
     "This was a man who everyone thought was going to live forever."
     Corea had chest pains last Saturday morning, McDonald said, but he refused to go the hospital until he had arranged for someone to cover his health and fitness radio show, which was going to debut on WPEN that afternoon.
     Corea's family contacted McDonald, who promised to get the show on the air. (He did, and has been asked by the station to keep filling in.)
     I knew Dr. Jim some and reported on him regularly. With his brio, booming voice and gym shorts, he was one of Philly's Great Characters.


Art Carey in the Inky 3/19/01
Did exercise lengthen or shorten life of 'Dr. Jim'?

"Dr. Jim" Corea, WWDB fitness talk-show host, died March 3. He was 63. 

Comedian Redd Foxx, never much for exercise, once observed: "Health nuts are going to feel real stupid someday - lying in hospitals, dying of nothing."

Of course, health nuts do die, just like everybody else, and we die of the same mortal afflictions.

Nevertheless, when someone devoted to health and fitness dies at a relatively young age, we are shocked and surprised. That's not supposed to happen. Isn't that the whole point of exercise - if not to beat death, then at least to postpone it?

What prompts this is the recent passing of James "Dr. Jim" Corea, the manly WWDB talk-show host who dispensed advice about health and fitness to legions of loyal listeners. When he died on March 3, he was only 63.

I met Dr. Jim several times and liked him immensely. He was always upbeat and positive. He had a big, imposing body (6-1, 238 pounds), made mighty by pumping iron. His voice was like a sonic boom and his handshake could crush a coconut. On the radio, he was endearingly bombastic ("So here's what you do, babe . . . ") and I was fascinated by his Houdini-like ability to extricate himself from syntactic cul-de-sacs.

I especially admired his style. He wore shorts year round, and he was unabashedly, exuberantly male, when that was unfashionable, if not politically incorrect. Truly a man's man, he did not cotton to sissies and pantywaists. Yet he had great respect for women, and beneath that macho bluster was a real softie. He loved animals (he set out peanuts and cookies for the neighborhood squirrels; when they saw his black Cadillac pull in, they flocked to his window), and his main goal in life was simple - to help others feel better, to share his passion for vigor and vitality.

So I wasn't surprised by the many folks who have contacted me and the paper. Some wanted to express sadness and regret, but most wanted answers to two big questions: How? Why?

Here's how: The immediate cause of Jim Corea's death was a heart attack, more specifically, congestive heart failure. The long-term cause was heart disease.

As for why, that's a longer, more complicated story.

The other day, I talked to Dr. Jim's wife, Barbara. Considering that she had just lost her beloved mate of more than 37 years (they met playing volleyball at Olympia Lakes), she was remarkably composed and gracious.

All winter long, Jim had had a bad cough, Barbara told me. "He couldn't figure it out. It wouldn't go away," she said. "It got to the point where he couldn't lie down and be comfortable. He had to sit up a bit."

Jim saw several doctors but none was able to make the cough go away, and no one linked it to his heart. On Wednesday, Feb. 21, Jim decided to go to the hospital. He wasn't experiencing such classic heart attack symptoms as chest pain or numbness in his arms, but he was feeling weak, dizzy and sick.

The doctors examined Jim's plumbing with the aid of a catheter. The news was bleak. The main artery - the so-called "widowmaker" - was blocked, another was partly blocked, and two others were on the way, Barbara said. Moreover, his heart was weak; there were signs he may have suffered two previous "silent" heart attacks.

The doctors recommended bypass surgery immediately. Jim remained in the hospital for several days. The next Monday, Feb. 26, he decided to go home; he was not eager to be cut open and wanted time to think it over, Barbara said. On Friday, he called to make an appointment to discuss it further.

Jim awoke on Saturday feeling miserable. "He was sick and weak. He was trying to throw up. He couldn't urinate," Barbara said. By the time the ambulance arrived at his Barrington home, he was in the throes of a heart attack. "They had an oxygen mask on his face. He could hardly breathe," Barbara said. He died about an hour after arriving at Kennedy Memorial in Cherry Hill.

Only two weeks before, Jim had been lifting weights. With respect to exercise, he certainly practiced what he preached. He awoke at 4:30 a.m. and was at the gym by 5:30, where he worked out till 9 a.m. Barbara said. He loved the gym, not just the lifting and the euphoria of the pump, but the masculine camaraderie, the brotherhood of iron. He worked different body parts on different days. He also ran at least twice a week and played tennis, usually on Sundays, Barbara said.

Jim did not smoke or drink. He was careful about his diet but not neurotic. "He ate everything in moderation," Barbara said. He loved fruit and vegetables, especially oranges and pineapples. (His early-morning breakfast: stewed prunes and yogurt, cereal with a banana). He was a vegetarian for a while, but resumed eating meat because it made him feel stronger. "When you work out as hard as he did, you get really hungry," Barbara said. "He was not satisfied to sit down and eat tofu." His favorite food: fish, especially salmon, flounder and shrimp.

He was a driven, Type-A personality, Barbara said. "He never took a vacation, but working was what he enjoyed. He looked forward to working out every morning and then going to the office. He lived his life the way he wanted to." (Including how he dressed. "He got into the habit of wearing shorts because his legs were so big," Barbara said. "They got so developed that long pants were uncomfortable.")

So why did Dr. Jim, this seeming paragon of healthy living, die so young? Barbara offered this: "Jim's dad died in bed at 36, we're pretty sure of a heart attack. His grandfather died of a heart attack at 56, and his grandmother died of a heart attack at 64."

The latest thinking is that of all the cardiac risk factors, family history may be most important. Jim knew the deck was stacked against him, his wife said, but did not obsess about it. "He always said he wouldn't live past 70, but he also thought he could beat it with exercise and good living," Barbara said. "He believed in mind over body, that the body would do what you tell it to do. But he also used to say that he'd rather go out at 70 than die a debilitated old man at 89."

Could it be that exercise killed Dr. Jim? That his heart, subjected to the stress of all that heaving and hoisting, just gave out?

Barbara thinks not. "It may have made him live a little longer. Just because this happened to him, I don't think that means that exercise and watching your diet isn't a good thing. My father smoked and drank his whole life and lived to be 82. People always want to compare. I just have to think it was in his genes."



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