10/27/1986 at 01:00 AM EST
Long before Italian immigrant Candido Jacuzzi died two weeks ago at 83, his name had become synonymous with such West Coast locutions as mellow, laid back and, yes, life-style. Now as much a household name as Xerox, the Jacuzzi bath was born in 1948 when Candido's son Kenneth began receiving hospital hydrotherapy for rheumatoid arthritis. "As good Italian parents do," says Kenneth, 45 and head of a management training software company, "my folks thought more is better." And so Candido, a Lafayette, Calif. pump designer who never finished grammar school, invented a whirlpool device to give his son hydrotherapy at home. Although marketed in 1955 as a therapeutic aid, the Jacuzzi bath was soon being extolled by such healthy specimens as Jayne Mansfield and old-time actor Randolph Scott. By the '70s the private whirlpool had become a required accoutrement (as these photos attest) for any celebrity worth his or her salts. The sale of Jacuzzi Bros. Inc. in 1979—prompted by family feuding—dismayed Candido, as did some of the Jacuzzi's sybaritic applications. "This business of romance and all that in the hot tub sometimes embarrassed him," says his daughter Alba, 60. But he never lost faith in his creation, or stopped using it. For Candido the Jacuzzi was the best of all possible whirls.