John Anglin

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For the American Civil War sailor, see John Anglin (Medal of Honor).
John Anglin
John Anglin - head shot - 01.jpg
Born May 2, 1930
Donalsonville, Georgia
Disappeared June 11, 1962 (aged 32)

John William Anglin born (May 2, 1930) was an American criminal and folk culture figure who took part in the infamous June 1962 Alcatraz escape and was never seen or heard from again and is presumed deceased.

Early years[edit]

John Anglin and his brother Clarence Anglin were born in Miller County (Colquitt) Georgia to a family with 14 children (7 boys and 7 girls), spent some of their life in Donalsonville, Seminole County Georgia and then moved to Florida. John and Clarence went to Michigan every May to pick cherries to help the family out financially and they learned to swim here in the icy waters. They usually robbed places that were closed to insure that no one got injured, and the bank robbery was the only time they used a weapon which was a toy gun. [1]


In 1958 John Anglin robbed the Columbia Alabama bank with a toy gun together with his brothers Clarence and Alfred.[2] They were sentenced to prison for 35 years. John was sent to Alcatraz after being caught attempting escape from the state penitentiary; he arrived on October 21, 1960, as Alcatraz inmate AZ1476, and Clarence arrived on January 10, 1961, as Alcatraz inmate AZ1485. By September 1961, prisoners Frank Morris, Allen West, and the Anglin brothers were planning an elaborate escape attempt.

By late May 1962, Morris, West, and the Anglins had finished cutting through the walls of their cells. On June 11 the escape began with Morris and the Anglins climbing up the ventilation shaft through one of the chimneys and reaching the top of the roof. The trio then climbed down the rooftop, pumped up their rubber raft and then paddled away into the night, never to be seen again. The next morning police searched for the escapees on Alcatraz and Angel Island without success. In 1962, the three were put on the FBI's Most Wanted List. West did not make it out of his cell[3] and no charges were pressed against him.

FBI wanted poster

The official report on the escape says the prisoners drowned in the bay but since then, there have been reports that there was an illegal boat in the bay on the night of the escape, that there have been sightings of the three men and that friends and family members have received many unsigned postcards and messages. The mother of the Anglin brothers received flowers anonymously every Mother's Day and two very tall unusual women were reported to have attended her funeral before disappearing.[4] According to Unsolved Mysteries, a day after the escape a man claiming to be John Anglin had called a lawyer in San Francisco and wanted the lawyer to arrange a meeting with the US Marshals' Office. When the lawyer refused to do this, the person hung up. If John Anglin survived the escape and is still alive, he would be 85 years old today.

Popular culture[edit]

In 1963, J. Campbell Bruce published his book Escape from Alcatraz about escapes from Alcatraz Island, including that of Morris and the Anglin brothers.[5] The 1979 film Escape from Alcatraz starred Clint Eastwood, Fred Ward, and Jack Thibeau as Frank Morris, John Anglin, and Clarence Anglin respectively. Allen West was played by Larry Hankin; his character's name was changed to Charlie Butts.[6]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]