Old film shows Jack LaLanne swimming to Alcatraz
January 24th, 2011
11:15 AM ET

Old film shows Jack LaLanne swimming to Alcatraz

Jack LaLanne was a peppy, iron-pumping, vegetables and fruits devotee who pioneered fitness as a total lifestyle. He opened his first gym when he was still in high school, in 1931, and his television workout show started in the 1950s and ran for 34 years.

LaLanne exercised until his final day, according to his agent Rick Hersh. The beloved guru of sweat died at his California home Sunday.

CNN has unearthed some charming old film of LaLanne - two old workout videos and footage of his 3-mile swim to Alcatraz, handcuffed.

"He was an amazing guy. I can't think of who - I guess Charles Atlas - would have been the predecessor for Jack LaLanne," CNN's Larry King said Sunday.

LaLanne had made several appearances on King's CNN show. He described to King the experience that inspired him to devote his life to fitness. Dressed in his trademark warm-up track suit, LaLanne recalled being a 15-year-old "troublemaker" who, instead of going to school, went to a lecture about health.

An underweight teen who had a diet of cookies and cake, LaLanne was riveted when he learned, "If you obeyed nature's law, you can be born again."

So he went home and "talked to God," LaLanne said. He immediately changed his diet, became a vegetarian and began a life of physical activity.

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Filed under: Health
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Jeff

    First 🙂

    January 24, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  2. .

    Enough with Jack LaLanne was a fitness guru! My dad lived to 96 without doing a sit-up, a calisthenic or a jumping jack!

    January 24, 2011 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • nathan_f

      With all due respect, I doubt your dad could work out for 2 hours daily at 90+. You seem very ignorant about Jack Lallane and i'd advise that you read more about his life. Then you will understand the reason why he IS and always will be a guru of fitness. RIP Jack.

      January 25, 2011 at 12:42 am | Report abuse |
  3. Mmmmm

    Second! 😉 🙂 🙁

    January 24, 2011 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Julie

    my great grandpa lived until 98 years old and never did any of that stuff though he never smoked or drank, because he was a christian. He was always in good health. Was never confined to bed, very energetic. He died one day when he went out to sit on a bench and enjoy the sunshine. His heart just stoped beating and he fell over and died. =( He was a wonderful man and made a difference in alot of peoples lives, very devoted to God. He has at least 70 grandchildren- not including the children of the grandchildren. So his funeral was huge.

    January 24, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jeff Davis

    RIP Jack LaLanne. You were an inspiration to many. I don't think I could ever do half of the things that he did. You guys should check out this clip of the man.


    January 24, 2011 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Mr X

    Jack if you're up there great. Just want to say, no way I will make it to 96, but good for you! You were impressive. Have a great after life, and get them lazy angels to exercise!

    January 24, 2011 at 8:58 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Praetorian

    So let me get this straight...Jack LaLanne wouldn't eat processed sugar, carbs, etc., because they were bad for you and might kill you. On the other hand, he was more than willing to swim in the shark-infested waters off Alcatraz. Real Braniac there, eh? I suggest a new motto for his products anw website. 'Eat Right, Get Fit, Die Anyway'.

    January 26, 2011 at 9:06 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Christine

    Thank you Jack for all that you did for the fitness community. You were an inspiration to Millions. Rest in peace, sir.

    January 28, 2011 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Ansm Ksenjan

    I have read a few good stuff here. Certainly worth bookmarking for revisiting. I surprise how much effort you put to create such a fantastic informative web site.

    July 12, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |