JACK LALANNE MEMORY LANE: Loveable Health Nut Dead at 96, a Ripe Old Age

Jack LaLanne:  Avocado Dip Recipe:

“Jack LaLanne Obituary: Jack LaLanne dies at 96; spiritual father of U.S. fitness movement” – latimes.com:


That’s a hoot of an article re the colorful life of Jack LaLanne, even though it is the official obituary at the LA Times.  It says his father was a telephone man & dance instructor & his mother was a maid & a Seventh Day Adventist, both French immigrants.  Jack was born in 1914.  It says when Jack’s wife first met him (2nd wife, married 51 years), she didn’t like him at all & ate a doughnut & blew cigarette smoke in his face, lol.  He opened his first health club in 1936.  


Jack LaLanne – Elaine LaLanne:

…where Elaine first met Jack, who said to her, “You need to start eating apples, oranges, and bananas, and if I didn’t like you, I wouldn’t be telling you this.” Elaine looked up at Jack while puffing on a cigarette, chomping on a sugar doughnut and said, “Oh yeah?”

(…)End Quote.

From another site:

Jack LaLanne was a juvenile delinquent, once attacking his brother with an axe, and setting his family’s house on fire. In adulthood, he blamed his youthful misbehavior on being fed too many high-sugar foods. At 15 (1929), his mother dragged him to hear a speech by nutritionist Paul Bragg. Inspired, LaLanne reformed his eating habits, eliminating everything made with white flour or white sugar, and instead ate almost nothing but fruits, vegetables, and fish for the rest of his life. Healthy foods were hard to find, so LaLanne concocted his own recipes, and by the age of 18 he owned a health-food bakery.

At 21, he opened his first gym in Oakland, California. It was 1936…

(…)End Quote.

He had also become a chiropractor in those early years, which I didn’t know.  He could also sing quite well.  Elsewhere I read that in later years he was “screwed over by the corporate health club industry.”


A walk down memory lane (from LATimes Obit):

 In 1952, he went on TV, but because he could only afford time in the early mornings, he found his audience was mostly young children. So he got a dog — Happy — to appeal to the kids, who were encouraged to go wake up their mommies for a workout. The show was eventually syndicated nationwide and ran for 34 years.  ”  

Ha!  I don’t remember Happy the dog (I was born in 1952), but I definitely remember Jack on our black & white TV in our first house in the 1950’s (we moved in 1960) with Mom on the floor on her back, with her legs in the air “peddling” the “invisible bicycle” lol.  I also remember thinking Jack’s exercise “catsuit” was kind of gross since I had never seen men dressed like that. :)

B&W YouTube of the beginning of an old Jack Lalanne show:

From the San Fran Chronicle:

In 1951, he started a live exercise show on KGO-TV in San Francisco. The “Jack LaLanne Show” went national in 1959 and ran for 34 years in the United States and Europe.”

It may have been Jack who opened the first gym, but it was his “mentor,” Paul Bragg, who opened the first health food store. I have one of Bragg’s very old raggedy paperbacks re fasting.

From the SF Chronicle:

“It’s kind of a shock,” said his nephew, Thomas LaLanne of Mill Valley. “I didn’t think Jack was ever going to die. He would tell people, ‘I can’t die. It’ll ruin my image.’ “

Lol, I’m sure Jack was kidding.  If he knew his Bible, he was already aware that:

Hebrews 9:27:  “…it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment…” 

Another good Jack quote from the SF Chronicle:

“Other people work at dying,” he told The Chronicle in 2004. “I work at living!”

And “work” it is!  Even though everybody eventually dies, the journey CAN be better while we are in these mortal bodies by doing the types of things Jack proposed.  

Comments at YouTube said Jack’s mother lived to be 94, & his brother, Norman, who was Not a healthnut, lived to be 97 (but Jack’s father died at 50 of a heart attack). So maybe his mother’s “genes” helped a little.

“I don’t care how old I live”, he says, “I just want to be living while I am living!” 


Cute:  Jack LaLanne One Liners aka “LaLanne-isms”:

B&W YouTube: “JACK LALANNE: STOP BEING SO TIRED” – Lol, great titles:


“Jack LaLanne Was My Beloved, Kooky Neighbor”:


He used to walk on his hands up and down the sidewalk.


I remember one parents’ night at school, he and my dad reminisced about playing high-school football against each other in Berkeley. My Dad was a 6’4″ tackle and Jack was 5’6″. Dad told me that even in high school, Jack was known as “The Raisin Kid,” because he would tell all the boys they should eat raisins and nuts.

(…)End Quote.

That is too funny!  You gotta love it!  Can you imagine being a school kid & you go out your front door in the morning & your “kooky” neighbor is walking up & down the sidewalk on his hands, crack me up.  You’d think you were at the circus.

I don’t know if Jack was ever a Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) as was his mother per the above LATimes article, but I’ve seen him on TBN with his wife several times over the years telling how he was so sickly & miserable as a young teen that he got on his knees & begged God to please deliver him from his addiction to sugary foods & any foods that were making him sick, so I assumed at the time that he was saved(?) … hope so…

« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2005, 10:59:34 pm »

Jack was on “Praise the Lord” (TBN) last night!  (I was flippin through the channels!)  He preached a sermon on “If God didn’t make it don’t eat it!”  He also threw in his testimony, “I asked God to save me from junk food!” (I never heard it quite like that before!) Grin Grin Grin Grin

(…)End Quote.

The SF Chronicle article has a quote, though, where Jack used the GD word!! :-/  Tsk Tsk!!  So does Wiki:  http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_LaLanne?wasRedirected=true

Other wiki tidbits:
–Married to his first wife six years, 1940’s.
–He had 2 DUI arrests, used to include wine in his diet, but quit all wine after the 2nd arrest.  Was ordered to attend AA.
–One son died in an auto accident 1974.

Jack LaLanne – The King of Fitness:

“As a kid,” he flatly states, “I was a sugarholic and a junk food junkie! It made me weak and it made me mean. It made me so sick I had boils, pimples and suffered from nearsightedness. Little girls used to beat me up. My mom prayed… the Church prayed.”
(…)End Quote.

There are some other funny & “Christian-sounding” titles of his old B&W Jack LaLanne programs at youtube, such as:

“Life Is A Battlefield!” (Amen!)

“The Slave”

(This USA Today quote goes good with that one: “Fitness starts between your ears,” he/Jack said. “You have to figure out what you want and then go ahead and do it. Your body is your slave.”  (<That’s Biblical!)


“Unhappy People”


“How To Live Forever”

“The Effect of Bad Habits”

“The Hog Family” (re pork?  I did not watch all of these).

“Worry” – He mentions God but reads the “AA Prayer” as a way to deal with Worry:


A few more funny tidbits in this CBN article (but it does not mention his faith):
“Jack LaLanne, 96, Dies at Calif. Home”:

It could be Jack made health & fitness “his God” more than God Himself…  In this next segment, he uses the phrase “born again” to describe his health transformation, & also that he had prayed to “God or somebody” after that first Paul Bragg lecture he heard at age 15:

“Paul Bragg disciple Jack LaLanne dead at age 96” – San Diego Christianity & Culture | Examiner.com:


Jack LaLanne in recent years became well known for Jack LaLanne’s Power Juicer.  On the website for his juicer, Jack wrote: 

“Before I started into juicing, I was a sugarholic. I believe it made me weak and sick. It destroyed B vitamins and affected my brain. I had boils and pimples. I was underweight and nearsighted. In fact I got so sick that I had to drop out of school for six months.

“It was during this time that our neighbor, Mrs. Joy, suggested that my mother take me to a lecture on nutrition at the Oakland City Women’s Club. At this time I was wearing glasses; I was skinny; my face was covered with boils and pimples, and I was so bashful I didn’t want anyone to see me. However I reluctantly went.

“We were a little late in getting there, and there were no seats available so we started to leave. The lecturer, Paul Bragg, called out, “Lady with the little boy. We don’t turn anyone away! Ushers, bring up two seats and put them on the stage.” They put two folding chairs up on the stage and there my mother and I sat in front of all these hundreds of people. It was the most humiliating moment of my life, but there was one thing this man had to say that was to change my life forever.

“He said, “My dear friends, it matters not what your age is, it matters not what your present physical condition is, if you obey natures law, you can be born again!” I forgot everything! This man said I could be born again, that’s what I wanted; I wanted to be an athlete; I wanted the girls to like me, and I wanted to be able to get good grades in school. This man said I could do it all.

“Now what did he mean by natures laws? Exercise and eating properly. I went home that night and prayed, “Dear God or somebody, I need help,” I didn’t say make me a Mr. America, make me a straight A student”, I said, “Just give me the willpower to refrain from the foods that are killing me.” That night I went strict vegetarian. Then a few days later I joined the Berkeley YMCA. And you know what? In one week I was born again.

“I used to have all these headaches, & even pounded my head against the wall because I couldn’t stand the pain. My energy was low and everything in my life was negative, then everything in my life became positive. My folks couldn’t believe it. It was actually a rebirth for me.”

It is unclear whether or not Jack LaLanne was ever “born again” from a Christian point of view, giving His life to Jesus Christ, however he did believe in the power of God and faith.

(…)End Quote.

Only the Lord knows now the eternal destiny of Jack LaLanne.  Maybe no one ever shared with him HOW to get saved(?)  “Good works” — no matter how good — will not suffice, but only faith that Christ’s shed blood, death, burial, & resurrection was/is sufficient payment for our sins.  Here’s hoping Jack prayed that at some point in his long, active, & altruistic life.

Someone wrote at Yahoo Answers that as a clue to just Wait & See what kind of funeral is provided for him, & that “maybe he’s Jewish”…?  So I asked google but nothing definitive:

The family is planning a funeral in Los Angeles for the first or second week in February. “I’m kind of waiting for Arnold (Schwarzenegger‘s) schedule. He wants to do one of the eulogies,” Elaine says. The former California governor and bodybuilder “loved Jack. He called and talked to me a long, long time” Sunday night.

(…)End Quote.

Another 3-min. B&W youtube: Really good advice, lol; in this one he says, “…these bodies the good Lord gave us…”  

Jack LaLanne:  The Body & Mind Connection:

Then comments for above video:

I like how he always used to say, “the good LORD.”

April 27, 2008


Another nice Jewish boy, way ahead of his time, doing good for mankind. Jack you are a G-d send. Thank you for a lifetime.

February 19, 2008


Then a reader comment (under this next original 1974 article covering one of Jack’s swim feats) also says he was Jewish: 

Jack LaLanne, 1914 – 2011 [Updated] | The Daily Mirror | Los Angeles Times:


Off camera, Jack LaLanne was a teeny, tiny, little, Jewish guy. Soft spoken too. A very nice man who lived as he appeared, with great integrity.”

Posted by: Arye Michael Bender  January 24, 2011 at 01:23 PM


Then there was this tongue-in-cheek article re the fact that some things just “feel” Goy or Jewish whether they really are or not:

“Goyish vs. Jewish is Back”:

Goyish vs. Jewish

Jack LaLanne is pure Goyish
Richard Simmons is Jewish


Next… No mention in this tribute that Jack himself was Jewish:
JBlog Central – The Jewish Blog Network:  “Jack LaLanne, Class Act & Super Nice Guy, RIP”:

Either way, he certainly was a loveable character & those old B&W programs are really good.  Somebody should put them back on TV for the younger crowd as I saw enough “WHO is Jack LaLanne??” comments scattered about.  And at youtube many youngins were like, “Wow, that guy is cool even if it was 50 years ago!”  :)  They also appreciated the non-glitz simplicity of the shows along with Jack’s words of wisdom.  They felt he was sincere & not in it “just for the money.”  One young girl confessed that all she eats is “junk food & junk drinks” but after seeing one of LaLanne’s youtubes, she was going to change her ways!


If Jack was saved & made it to heaven, I hope he gets the heavenly Juice Bar ready as we’ll be there soon enough. :)



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