Richard Simmons is the best-known fitness guru and saw the height of his popularity in the 1980s and the 1990s.
You may recognize him as the curly-haired man who wears striped dolphin shorts and tank tops that are bedazzled with Swarovski crystals.
With his positive and bubbly personality, Simmons has motivated people to get their bodies moving in order to lose the weight they want to get rid of.
Although he may have chosen to step away from the spotlight, his influence on popular culture remains as strong as ever.
Is Richard Simmons Still Alive?
Yes, Richard Simmons is still alive at 73 years old.
Rather than spending his days entertaining the public, Simmons has decided that he is done being in the public eye and wants to reside in his home peacefully with his three dalmatians.
Richard Simmons was born Milton Teagle Simmons on July 12th of 1948.
He grew up in the vibrant city of New Orleans, Louisiana, where he attended Cor Jesu High School and graduated from the University of Southwestern Louisiana.
As a teenager and young adult, Simmons struggled with obesity and experienced many difficulties because of his weight.
Simmons desperately wanted to change and began working out.
Fitness quickly became a hobby and then evolved into a passion for Simmons.
Through his dedication to a completely healthy lifestyle, Richard Simmons was able to lose more than 100 pounds, and he started inspiring others to follow in his footsteps.
Before Simmons was a fitness guru, he worked as the maître d’ at the famous Beverly Hills restaurant Derek’s and also worked in advertising.
Between the experience he earned running a luxurious restaurant and learning how the business world works, he felt that he was ready to start his own gym.
While Simmons was able to help a lot of the people lose weight in his local community, he knew that there were even more people who needed his help.
Simmons did not appreciate the cruel approach that many fitness gurus took when attempting to help people lose weight and wanted to change the way that the fitness world saw newcomers.
Simmons’s positive approach to fitness seemed to be just what people around the country needed when he began creating workout videos on VHS.
People across the United States were jumping from their couches, eager to join the exuberant Simmons, and his fitness legacy lives on.
Opening His Own Exercise Studio
In 1974, Richard Simmons opened his Los Angeles exercise studio called The Anatomy Asylum.
Simmons wanted a place where those who were looking to lose weight could join others on a non-judgmental journey towards the healthy lifestyle that they wanted to achieve.
It was important to Simmons that his exercise studio offered a place for adults to not only get fit, but also to make new friends who understood the struggles that they had.
He wanted the community in his gym to be encouraging and somewhere people could find self-confidence.
Having that positive community is what separated The Anatomy Asylum from the many other gyms in the Los Angeles area.
After finding massive success as a fitness guru, Richard Simmons changed the gym’s name to Slimmons in order to reflect the inviting and positive nature the gym hoped to achieve.
Simmons became one of the most respected gyms in the area and served its local community for more than 40 years.
Richard Simmons would work at his gym until February of 2014 before suddenly stepping away from his work at the gym.
Those who worked with Simmons at his gym could tell something was wrong on his last day, despite not knowing that it would be his last day on the job.
Simmons would normally show up to work early in order to give his team a pep talk, but he was late that day and seemed absentminded when he finally arrived.
He didn’t crack jokes like he normally did with the staff and left the gym the same way he always did, assuring everyone that he’d see them the next workday.
Instead, he decided to step away from his work in order to focus on his health.
Slimmons would close in November of 2016.
From Fit To Fitness Star
What took Richard Simmons from being a fitness coach to being a world-renowned fitness expert was when he appeared on the documentary show Real People.
In the episode, you get an inside look at what went on at the gym.
Simmons’s diet and workout regimes worked incredibly well for those who visited him.
One of his patrons lost 11 pounds in only three weeks after coming to his gym five days a week.
When word got out about how quickly people were able to lose weight while training under Simmons, people swarmed his gym, and he didn’t have enough room or time to keep up with the massive increase in demand.
His restaurant, Ruffage, which was attached to his gym was even seeing an increase in customers.
In 1983, Richard Simmons released his first workout video called Everyday With Richard Simmons: Family Fitness.
It was 90 minutes long and included a warmup, a complete body routine, lower torso exercises, abdominal exercises, and exercises for your neck and face.
Five years later, Simmons would release his most popular workout video Sweatin’ to the Oldies.
The video invites his viewers to relive their high school prom as they dance and work out to songs from the 1950s and 1960s that are performed by a live band.
This would be the start of a hit series for the fitness guru, which would take him across three more home exercise videos.
Simmons found that people loved dancing along with him to their favorite songs and would use songs from the 1970s and 1980s in later workout tutorials such as Groovin’ in the House, Broadway Sweat, and ’80s Blast Off.
Although Simmons has done many things throughout his fitness career, he is best known for his workout videos that are angled towards older people.
Making His Way To Television
Before making it big as a fitness star, Richard Simmons had been acting in small commercials even before he lost all the weight he had.
Some of his first few roles were as the grapes in a Fruit of Loom commercial and a hamburger in another commercial.
One of Richard Simmons’s first credited roles on television was as himself on the buddy cop show CHiPs, which aired on October 10th of 1982.
In the same year, he also made a cameo appearance on an episode of Fame.
In 1985, Simmons would make another cameo appearance on the television show called Amazing Stories, which was written and created by Steven Spielberg.
Later that year, Richard Simmons starred alongside Carrie Fisher in From Here to Maternity.
Simmons would take on his first of many voice acting roles when he appeared in the 1990s children’s show Dinosaurs as a dinosaur designed in his likeness and sharing his name.
In 1992, he made a guest appearance on The Larry Sanders Show.
One of Richard Simmons’s most popular voice acting roles is his role as the Aerobics Instructor in Rocko’s Modern Life.
When Rocko and Heffer go to a health club in town, they are greeted by a thin, curly-haired caricature of Simmons that maintains Simmons’s energetic personality.
When Disney created a television show based on the Hercules movie, they cast Richard Simmons as Physedipus.
He reprised the role when Disney released Hercules: Zero to Hero, which was released in 1999.
That same year, Richard Simmons became the host of his own television show called DreamMaker with Rick Springfield, Joey Mcintyre, and Jason David Frank.
Sadly, there only ended up being one episode of the show released after its announcement.
Richard Simmons is also well known for his recurring cameo role on General Hospital.
The Fake Hostage Situation
There is no denying that Richard Simmons’s sudden step back from the spotlight was alarming, but there were some people who began to assume the worst situation had happened to the beloved fitness guru.
A rumor that Simmons was being held against his will was popularized on the podcast Missing Richard Simmons.
It started when Missing Richard Simmons invited a longtime friend of Simmons’s onto the podcast to discuss his theory as to why Simmons had stepped away from the spotlight and to promote his book King Rich and the Evil Witch.
Mauro Oliveira was once a member of Simmons’s gym and worked with him as his masseur.
Oliveira claims that he was invited to Simmons’s house one day, only for Simmons to tell him that the two of them could no longer be friends.
The masseur claims that he never saw Simmons so weak mentally and physically in his entire life.
Although the alleged visit between Simmons and Oliveira was peaceful up to this point, things turned sour when Simmons’s housekeeper, Teresa Reveles, found Oliveira in the living room.
He claims that she began screaming that she didn’t want Oliveira at the house, and he was forced out of the house by the hair.
A representative for Richard Simmons, Tom Estey, was quick to deny any of the claims made by Mauro Oliveira.
Estey made it clear to the public that it was Richard Simmons’s choice to step away from the public eye because he wanted to live a more peaceful lifestyle.
Simmons’s choice to step away from the spotlight may have seemed like it happened overnight, but Simmons and his team have been slowly quieting down for years.
His private life has allowed him to focus on himself and maintain his physical and mental well-being.
Becoming An Author
On October 1st of 1980, Richard Simmons became a published author with his book Never Say Diet.
The book offers a weight loss program while explaining how it works without needing to count calories or use any drugs.
Two years later, Simmons released a cookbook based on Never Say Diet.
He would release another cookbook on January 1st of 1989 called Deal-A-Meal Cookbook, which was full of balanced meals for every occasion.
Richard Simmons released Richard Simmons’s Better Body Book in 1983, which focused on getting the reader in shape.
The book went over what exercises were best for the type of results the reader was looking for.
Never Give Up was published in 1993 and was full of inspirational quotes and affirmations from Simmons that were all focused on the reader’s weight loss journey.
Three years later, Simmons added to his cookbook collection with Farewell to Fat.
Although Simmons preached having as healthy of a diet as possible, he understood that people like himself needed to indulge their sweet tooth occasionally.
Although people had learned plenty about Simmons’s health journey, they were dying to know about his life.
He decided to tell his life story in 1999 when he released the book Still Hungry After All These Years: My Story.
That same year, Richard Simmons published Cookin’ on Broadway.
The cookbook contained eight different chapters, which had recipes divided by breakfast, salads, sandwiches, pasta, soups, entrées, appetizers, and desserts.
To promote the Electronic Steamer, Simmons released Steam Away the Pounds in January of 2006.
Every recipe in his final cookbook used the Electronic Steamer in one way or another and even includes desserts and meat-based dishes.
His Time In Court
By 2004, Richard Simmons was known around the world for his flamboyant style, jovial attitude, and dedication to fitness.
It was Simmons’s history that made people even more shocked when they heard about him slapping a man across the face at an airport.
The altercation started after the man standing behind Simmons in line for an airplane began to mock Simmons loudly and alerted everyone in the general area to his location.
Simmons told the police officers who arrived on the scene that he had to slap him.
The fitness guru was peaceful by the time they had arrived and was fully compliant with the officers.
He was later sued by the man he slapped, but it doesn’t seem like he regretted doing it.
In 2018, Simmons found himself in court again, but this time, he was the one suing.
A private investigator planted a tracking device on Teresa Reveles’s car, which is Richard Simmons’s only way of getting around.
After finding the tracking device on the car, they also discovered that the device had been there for at least a year.
When the private investigator was asked why he put the tracking device on the car, he stated that he was trying to research the types of doctors’ appointments that Simmons was going to and if it had anything to do with Simmons’s alleged gender transition.
Simmons was quick to deny any interest in changing his gender, calling any claims of such a thing “false and fabricated.”
The retired fitness guru later discovered that the private investigator was sent by In Touch Weekly, who had been a major perpetrator of the transgender rumors.
Although Richard Simmons has yet to be able to sue In Touch Weekly, he has been able to sue the private investigator for illegal spying.
When Medical Problems Arise
As Richard Simmons started to get older, he began to slowly step away from the spotlight.
Between medical problems and age catching up to him, Simmons has needed some time to himself and some time to focus on healing himself.
In 2014, Simmons broke the silence around part of the reason he had taken to a more private lifestyle.
After being hospitalized for severe indigestion, he explained that none of the tabloids knew what they were talking about.
It’s natural for someone to want some privacy when they aren’t feeling well.
The pressure of being a celebrity and keeping up with that lifestyle wasn’t going to help Simmons heal faster.
As the fitness guru’s representatives have said in the past, Richard Simmons will come back to the spotlight when he feels ready.
He did make a public comment in 2021 when his workout videos were brought to Fuse Sweat, the VIZIO SmartCast channel.
Richard Simmons is “very excited” for Sweatin’ to the Oldies to inspire a new generation of health enthusiasts to stay active and eat well.
He hopes that old fans will have fun watching their favorite videos and that new fans will find inspiration.