The Christian Broadcasting Network

The 700 Club with Pat Robertson



Founded Curves International with his wife Diane, the first fitness and weight-loss facility designed for women

World’s largest fitness franchise business with around 7,000 locations in 88 countries

Produces Christian films; “Mission Air”

Helps fly food, missionaries, and physicians into Haiti and Central America

Bachelor of Science in Human Services


Guest Bio

Founder of Curves International Now Pilots New Mission ABOUT GARY

After a difficult childhood, Gary was self-supporting at age 17 and worked nights in a pizza shop. He attended school during the day but dropped out at age 20 and took over a defunct health club in Houston. He learned the fitness business by trial and error and was so poor he had to sleep there at night. By 26 he had 6 fitness centers for women and was making $1 million a year. He was a self-made man who was proud of his accomplishments and enjoying all the trappings of his success. By age 30 everything began to fall apart. His wife divorced him and took their two children.  He went into bankruptcy and was $5 million in debt with no job. By age 32 Gary was on his knees surrendering everything to the Lord. He devoured the Bible and watched “The 700 Club.” After he married Diane, he sold fitness equipment on commission. Soon Gary became president of the company, making $70,000 a year and his older children joined him. He walked into church one day and a woman prophesied to him, “Everything you touch will be blessed.” In the early 90s he read Pat’s “Secret Kingdom.

In 1992 Gary and Diane opened the first Curves for Women center in Harlingen, TX. Curves is the first to offer fitness and weight loss facilities in the same location. Later at a men’s retreat, the Lord told Gary that he was going to build a company that would be blessed abundantly.  The first year they had 50 locations, in 24 months they had 250 locations, in 36 months they had 750 locations, in 48 months they had 1250 locations. Today there are around 7,000 worldwide. Gary has since retired as Curves CEO believing his season with Curves was over. However, he continues to be on the board of Curves International and is the chairman of the board of Jenny Craig. He was instrumental in merging both corporations last year.


In this new season, Gary focuses much of his fulltime efforts on relief work in other countries. After the earthquake in Haiti, Gary piloted doctors into the country with Diane at his side. They were going to fly wounded and sick orphans out to hospitals, but President Obama shut down the ability to fly children out because of the possibility of them being stolen. So the Heavins continued shuttling doctors to Haiti but had to return without the wounded and sick orphans. They met a doctor on one of their flights and decided to stay with her and her family for a little while and help. Now, they have been overseeing 4 years of food runs to Haiti; flying in beans, rice, and ground corn. They originally tried shipping the food in storage containers but several of their shipments were stolen. They started using a program through the U.S. Air Force that flew the food in on cargo planes. That program is coming to an end soon so they have purchased a cargo plane to make their own food runs. Gary and Diane also began flying food, missionaries, and physicians to Central America. They have been shipping about 100,000 lbs. of food per month, which feeds roughly 10,000 children. Gary and Diane also opened an orphanage in the slums of Mumbai, India where they take care of over 50 children.


Gary and Diane starred in an episode of ABC’s “Secret Millionaire” in 2011. They lived in near poverty conditions hiding their true identities and gave away over 450,000 dollars to people and charities in need, which is the most anyone has ever given on the show. After their television experience, the door opened up for them to produce Christian films. They took the opportunity because they recognized that entertainment is an important way to influence culture for Christianity.

Gary is the executive producer, co-writer, and actor in the new Christian film “Mission Air.” The story is about doctor and pilot, Diane Ireland (Gigi Rice), who is the cornerstone of “Mission Air,” traveling across the Texas/Mexico border helping those in need, while also telling them about a healing that reaches far beyond what she can do as a medical professional. Usually a peaceful adventure, the most recent trip to Villa De Luz puts Diane and her son, Michael (Tom Maden), face to face with banditos in an altercation ending in gunfire. Soon, Diane and the entire Ireland family find themselves unexpectedly teamed together against the Mexican cartel in a fight to protect their mission and their lives. Gary hopes that this film will provide a positive way for families to spend time together and add value to their lives.

Mission Air is available now on DVD and VOD.

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