The History of Vince's Gym & The Stars He Trained

Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood

Bob Kennedy in a phone conversation mentioned Clint Eastwood.

He told me Clint and Vince had a disagreement and Vince threw him out of the gym.

Clint waited outside a few times wanting to catch Vince asking to get back in.

Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood

Denny Miller

Denny Miller

A 12-year Las Vegas resident, Denny Miller had a weight room in his garage that bore the sign "Miller’s Body Shop", which helped him maintain the strapping physique that led to his showbiz breakthrough in a 1959 "Tarzan, the Ape Man" remake.

Working as a mover during summer vacation, the muscular Miller caught the eye of a talent agent and wound up playing Tarzan, billed as "MGM’s sensational new young star!"

Miller only played the Lord of the Jungle once. (The studio had rights to three Tarzan movies, "but the one I did was so bad they didn’t do the other two," Miller joked in a 2007 Review-Journal interview.)

Yet he remained Tarzan for the rest of his life, as a card-carrying member of what he jokingly called the PTA: the Past Tarzans Association.

Miller was a regular at festivals celebrating his past roles - including, but not restricted to, Tarzan.

Fans of TV Westerns could meet and greet the strapping 6-foot-3 Duke Shannon, the role Miller played on TV’s "Wagon Train."

During his almost 50-year acting career, Denny Miller appeared on the big screen with such stars as Sidney Poitier, Peter Sellers and Charles Bronson.

He also guest starred on dozens of TV series, from "Gilligan's Island" (where he spoofed his Tarzan past as Tongo the Ape Man) to "Gunsmoke", "The Rockford Files" and "Vega$".

I met Denny a few years back at a western festival and corresponded with him a little after. Super nice guy. When I asked him about Vince Gironda he told me Vince had given him a set of keys to the gym to work out after hours. He was very positive when it came to talking about fitness.

Denny liked to sign "Stay healthy" on letters and autographs.

Tommy Chong on Vince Gironda

Tommy Chong on Vince Gironda

I started weightlifting when I was 16 at the Calgary Y. Then I ended up in Vancouver when I was 19, and that was when I started weight training under proper supervision. I've kept it up ever since, although my approach has changed over the years.

One of the reasons I came to Los Angeles in 1968 was so I could live on the beach and train at Gold's Gym in Venice. I was there when Arnold Schwarzenegger came.

Gold's was where I got in pretty decent shape. I trained with a famous bodybuilder named Vince Gironda who got me in shape for "Up in Smoke." He was really ahead of his time with his training regimen and his diet.

"Gathering of Greats" The 1991 "Golden Years of Bodybuilding" Event

Golden Years of Bodybuilding

Back row, left to right: Bob Delmonteque, John Isaacs, Glenn Sundby, George Redpath, Les Stockton, Pudgy Stockton (the only woman to be included in this historic picture), Red Lerille, Vince Gironda, Steve Reeves, Russ Warner, Leo Stern, Bill Pearl, Dennis Tinerino, Jimmy Payne, Leroy Colbert, Larry Scott, Chuck Krauser, Al Berger, Pat Casey, Don Peters, Babe Stansbury, George Coates, Bill Cantrell.

Front row, left to right: Joe Loprinzi, Sam Loprinzi, Orville Wertzbaugher, Johnny Gibson, Joe Abbenda, Ed Jubinville, George Eiferman, Joe Weider, Harry Smith, Walt Marcyan, Armand Tanny, Mits Kawashima, John Grimek, Jack LaLanne, and Don Arnold.

A Man Named Vince Gironda Who Would Be Known As The "Iron Guru"

The audience grew noisier and more excited as each contestant turned, posed and flexed. The next man enters the brightly lit stage from the wings and as he poses the three-thousand-strong crowd draw in a collective gasp.

He has it all - wide shoulders, narrow hips and amazing definition - well oiled and incredibly proportioned he looks like a work of art.

The audience catches their breath and break into thunderous applause. He runs his hand up his thigh, flexing the quads, the sartorious, pulling up his leopard skin trunks at the front to display python-like muscles running up his upper leg.

The judges and audience wince and marvel at the sheer clarity with which his muscles are displayed. Never before has such exceptional definition been seen on a physique competitor.

As he flexed and turned, flexed and turned, each cell of his muscled body soaked up the adulation of the crowd until he walked off stage - a man way ahead of his time. A man named Vince Gironda who would come to be known as the "Iron Guru".

- From Iron Guru - the Vince Gironda Biography (Unpublished)

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