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GUEST WORKOUT

She'll Take a Hike Any Time

March 12, 1997|CANDACE A. WEDLAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Shari Lewis is just as comfortable performing with Lamb Chop--"I have no nerves when I perform"--as she is lunching with a gorilla.

"I sat knee to knee with a 7-year-old gorilla," said the 63-year-old puppeteer about a hiking trip to Zaire and Rwanda. "She stared at me, looked at my shoes, at my hair, at my fingers. So I ate some grass, thinking, 'I don't know how many gorillas have peed on this but it doesn't matter.' The trip was thrilling."

Indeed, putting one foot in front of the other is her favorite exercise--in Los Angeles and elsewhere.

Lewis and her husband, Jeremy Tarcher--celebrating their 39th anniversary on Saturday--love to go hiking on their vacations. "We've explored the Galapagos Islands and hiked all over New Zealand," said Lewis, who can also be found white-water rafting on the Colorado.

To stay in shape, Lewis--who has won 12 Emmys--works out twice aweek with a physical trainer at her Beverly Hills home for stretching, aerobics and weights. On her own, Lewis does a good half an hour on the treadmill.

To start her day, Lewis breakfasts on cold cereal, berries and fresh toasted bread.

Lunch varies, maybe a salad.

Come 6:30 when that dinner bell rings, don't get in the woman's way. This is meat-and-potatoes-and-vegetables time.

"A big meal is a reward at the end of a day when you can really kick back," Lewis explained. "I work straight through the day starting at 8 and I always stop at 6:30 when it's our time--family time."

And how about her sidekick--and right arm?

As usual, Lewis had to do the talking for Lamb Chop, who was on a truck taking the scenic route back from a gig in Canada.

Last year, Lamb Chop celebrated 40 years in the biz. She was a mere lambkin of 6 when she debuted.

"I think the greatest amount of exercise she had recently," Lewis confided, "was blowing out 40 candles on the cake."

Guest Workout runs Wednesdays in Life & Style.

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