Juicy Role Is Making Him Famous

In "The Juiceman" television spots, he's dressed in a sporty windbreaker and a gold chain-link bracelet. In photos in newsletters and brochures, he's invariably poised astride a bicycle or dressed in a sleeveless athletic shirt, flexing tautly muscled arms that men half his age would be pleased to show off.

He is Jay Kordich, a 70-year-old evangelist for health who believes he overcame cancer 50 years ago through a regime of 13 glasses of carrot and apple juice per day. Since then, he has devoted his life to stumping for juice, supporting himself along the way by selling juice machines.

And he's become something of a celebrity.

"We use him more and more for public relations than for seminars," said Bob Lamson, chief operations officer of JM Marketing Inc. of Seattle, which has an exclusive contract with Kordich to promote JM's juicers. "He gets on talk shows and he's recognized in airports and places like that."

For seminars and videos for JM Marketing, Kordich waxes enthusiastically about juice. Sweeping his hand over a mound of fruit and vegetables, he says, "These are God's foods. I don't care how you cut it." Or, "All life on this planet emanates from the green of the plant."

Energetic and robust, Kordich usually mentions his 36-year-old wife and two young sons during the television spot.

He also mentions his "illness" that cut short a promising football career some 50 years ago. After playing in the Rose Bowl for the University of Southern California, he had signed with the Green Bay Packers, only to be diagnosed with cancer. He now lives in Las Vegas.

Some of Kordich's favorite elixers include: Something he calls AAA Juice, made of six carrots, one apple, two stalks of celery, one-half handful of wheatgrass, one-half handful of parsley and one-half beet; his Alkaline Special, made of one-quarter head of red or green cabbage and three stalks of celery; and the Bromelain Special, with a recipe that reads, "Pineapple (skin and all), unscrew top and throw away."

Lamson is careful to point out that JM does not promote juicing as a cure for disease, even though Kordich believes that fresh juice helped him overcome cancer.

"Our message is much more conservative," said Lamson. "Juicing is just a way for lazy Americans to drink vegetables rather than eat them."