Once-ubiquitous fitness guru Richard Simmons is thriving as he turns 75 this week, his publicist, Tom Estey, says in a rare update on his client, whose birthday is the 12 July.
“It’s a big step. I just want to see him happy, which he is,” Estey said. entertainment tonight and confirmed to Yahoo Entertainment.
Even this brief commentary is more new information than we’ve heard about Simmons in recent years.
His career didn’t start that way. The owner and big name behind the cheeky-named gym Slimmons, which opened in 1974 in Beverly Hills, has been an outspoken person for fitness for decades. And its reach has extended far beyond its physical location.
Her Sweatin’ to the Oldies Workout videos were all the rage during a decade of diet culture so relentless that leggings were all the rage. In total, he has sold over 65 million exercise videos, tapes and DVDs, as well as cookbooks, inspired by his experience of being overweight from childhood until he was a young adult, trying to become an actor in Hollywood. After finding his home — and his health — in fitness, the ever-effervescent Simmons starred in shows and movies such as general hospital, Fame, What women Want And Development stopped. He became so iconic of staying in shape that he appeared regularly on the talk show circuit, and he was known for his regular and hilarious appearances on David Letterman’s late-night shows. In 2008, he testified before a congressional committee on ways to improve physical education in schools.
And then, all of a sudden, in 2014, Simmons disappeared. He stopped appearing in public, including teaching in his studio. There was concern, because it didn’t look like him. TMZ reported in January 2015 that Los Angeles Police Department officers conducted a wellness check after a concerned friend of his contacted the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Elder Abuse Division. According to the outlet, officers found Simmons happy but exhausted after years of a busy celebrity lifestyle. He was also limping, which matched a manager’s comment at the time that Simmons was depressed with a knee injury. “I just want to spend time with myself,” he reportedly said.
Still, this did not sit well with some, and even some of Simmons’ friends wondered why they hadn’t heard of him.
Simmons felt compelled to call Today in March 2016 to clear up rumors about where he had been and that he was being held against his will.
“No one is holding me hostage,” he told NBC’s morning show. “I just wanted to be a little lonely for a while.” He confirmed he was recovering from a knee injury, although the other was also causing him problems after so much use over the years. “Don’t worry, Richard is fine,” he added. “You haven’t seen me last.”
Simmons made another public statement in November 2016, when his famous exercise studio closed, although he did not attend the last few classes.
“It’s been over forty years now, and I’m finally taking my own advice,” he wrote, in part, in a Facebook post. “I’m kind to myself and I put myself first. I make changes and take time to do the things I want to do. Know that I’m healthy and happy. never could tell me what to do and it’s the same today. I’m still independent, determined and opinionated. I’m just making a fresh start for myself – quietly and at my own pace. way to me.”
Yet his isolation led to the 2017 podcast Richard Simmons Missing and continued theories about why he left the spotlight so abruptly and where he went.
When he turned 70, in 2018, a person described simply as a friend of Simmons, said HEY which Simmons kept busy, just out of sight.
” He is doing very well. He is jovial,” the friend said. “He spends most of his time at home and in his garden. … He keeps reading and does what he wants to do.”