Richard Simmons dominated our televisions while he was in full force and cemented a permanent place in our hearts. During the 1980s, the eccentric and energetic fitness expert encouraged thousands of Americans to maintain their weight-loss and fitness goals.
But Richard Simmons mysteriously faded from view in 2014 and vanished altogether. Since then, there have been numerous theories, each of which is wilder than the last.
However, there seems to be a straightforward explanation for Simmons’ disappearance since 2014, and the actual cause could surprise you.
On July 12, 1948, Milton Teagle Simmons became Richard Simmons, an American fitness expert and television celebrity.
He had to wear special shoes because his leg was paralyzed.
He grew up in the French Quarter of New Orleans with his parents, who were both in the entertainment industry. His mother made a living by performing in Bourbon Street variety shows as a tap dancer.
Richard was undoubtedly an outspoken child who benefited from being up in New Orleans’ oldest neighborhood. Richard noticed he could make a living by showing tourists around St. Louis Cathedral and the Musee Conti wax museum because the lively neighborhood was overflowing with tourists. Selling pralines on street corners in the French Quarter was his first “job.”
“To help my parents out financially, I sold these tiny chocolates called pralines on the corner. And they would have to buy my candy if I was cute, adorable, and fun and sang and smiled. And I figured out a long time ago that comedy was merely a gift, and that it was much better to make people happy than sad. So I’ve always been the court jester or clown,” Richard stated.
Richard Simmons was a “hilarious” person who was often kidding about, according to his boyhood buddies.
Richard battled with being overweight as a child, despite what you may think. There was lots of fried food on every street corner in the French Quarter, which was unfortunate given New Orleans’ unique food culture. Richard grew up eating nothing but fried food.
“Food was my one and only obsession. My father had hundreds of cookbooks in the kitchen when I was six, so I started reading them then. I was addicted to cooking and trying out new dishes,” he said.
When he graduated from the Catholic school Cor Jesu in the 1960s, he weighed 270 pounds, up from 182 pounds when he was 15 years old.
I mean, I was very large. You are aware of the proverb “Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will never hurt you” that is taught to you at a young age? That’s a falsehood, Simmons said in 1983, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
Richard Simmons changed his name for what reason?
In the 1970s, after earning his degree from Florida State University, Richard relocated to Los Angeles. He was hired as the chief waiter at a Beverly Hills restaurant. He was now going by Richard instead of Milton Teagle. Yet why?
“Well, you know, it was my moniker because in the French Quarter (of New Orleans), people call me Dickie. Then, when I started high school, Richard received it. However, I bear the name of a wealthy uncle. And he assured me that I would attend college if I bore his name. And he did,” Simmons said in an interview with the Tampa Bay Times in 2008.
After struggling with his weight for years, Simmons developed a keen interest in fitness. After experimenting with laxatives and various strange diets, Simmons was able to take charge of both his body and mind. He started leading a more balanced life, with exercise and sensible diet as the major components.
He decided to start a fitness crusade in the middle of the 1970s in order to propagate his views. He established “Slimmons,” a health club dedicated to assisting those who are overweight. Richard quickly rose to fame and found success on television thanks to the club.
He began to make cameos in several television shows, which led to Richard playing himself in the soap opera “General Hospital.” Richard became a well-known TV personality during the four years the series was on the air.
“I must have been on that show and seemed like an alien to them. But they were incredibly kind, and I learned a lot from them. I found the entire experience to be quite fascinating, especially when I met General Hospital fans in various American shopping malls. Richard stated in 2012. “I couldn’t believe that all of these people would even come out and see me.
He started presenting numerous TV shows on his own in the 1980s. As The Richard Simmons Show gained popularity, the quirky fitness expert once more put a premium on wholesome food, cooking, and exercise.
“I enjoyed what I did for five years. I also participated in Here’s Richard, a late-night variety program. That was, I believe, in 1982 or 1983. There was also Slim Cooking after that. And I produced 31 infomercials,” remembers Richard.
Richard’s enthusiasm, charm, and motivating personality helped him win over millions of admirers among fitness fanatics. He frequently appeared on David Letterman’s talk shows and was a frequent guest on The Howard Stern Show in the 1980s and 1990s.
Richard initially appeared to be appearing everywhere. Many people adored his cheerful demeanor, sparkly tank top, and short shorts.
“I get between 25,000 and 30,000 letters a day, and I travel a lot to see these folks, who are like family to me. I don’t consider myself to be famous. I mainly connect with folks that are similar to me, Richard said in 1981.
It’s difficult to ignore seeing Richard Simmons’ distinctively curly hair when viewing photos of him. Richard frequently colored his hair in wacky hues over the years. What, though, is the real story behind his fake afro?
There is a narrative to be told here as well, I suppose. Richard confessed that the hair on his head is actually the result of three “horribly painful” hair transplants in an interview with The Pantagraph in 2008.
Richard tried with numerous risky diets when he was 19 years old. He became bald as a result of one of these crash diets, which was a terrible outcome. It was for this reason that he had surgery. To replace what was gone, surgeons had to implant 4,000 follicles in his scalp.
Richard spoke candidly in an interview about this time.
“When I was 19, I went without food for two and a half months, lost 116 pounds, and was on the verge of death. And I had to have a rebirth at that particular time in my life. How can Richard Simmons maintain his health while continuing to accomplish both of his jobs—making people laugh and helping them—and what does he want? Because all my life, that’s all I wanted to accomplish.
Richard’s profession in fitness and weight loss has taken him to places he never would have imagined as a child. He had a strong desire to encourage and uplift others, which was seen in 2008 when he collaborated with lawmakers to establish a law requiring non-competitive physical education in public schools.
Richard asked that the House Education and Labor Committee improve physical education in public schools during a hearing in Congress in July 2008. He spoke about his own path and asked the legislators to pay attention while wearing a sparkly tank top and red-and-white striped shorts.
“Not everybody is a jock. Nobody can participate in sports. Nobody is able to run. But everybody may be in shape. “There is nothing you can’t do when you feel fantastic about yourself, when you have self-esteem and self-respect for yourself,” Simmons remarked.
Despite spending so many years in the public eye, remarkably little information about Richard Simmons’ personal life has emerged. He claims that he has millions of supporters, but few true pals. Richard, a devout Catholic, has never been interested in talking about his personal life since he didn’t think there was anything to say about it.
“I can’t really provide much to one individual. In 2008, Simmons told The Pantagraph, “I have a lot to offer a lot of people.
Richard described himself as a recluse in the same interview, claiming to live in the Hollywood Hills with his Dalmatians, who he named after various characters from the classic film “Gone With the Wind” (Scarlett, Pittypat, Melanie).
There have been many rumors about Richard’s romantic life, but he never had any children. On the Rosie O’Donnell Show in 1997, actress Kathy Kinney abruptly asserted that Simmons was gay, which raised a lot of controversy. O’Donnell chose to cut to commercial without responding to the assertions.
“When Richard Simmons was exposed by Kathy Kinney on my show, I didn’t try to “in” Richard Simmons. The LGBT community said that I had included Richard Simmons in order to create the impression that he was straight. I will say this: Richard Simmons is welcome to talk about his personal life with me on live television at any time. Nobody else has the right to act in that manner before he determines it is appropriate. I told Kathy Kinney, “We’ll be right back with a commercial,” because of this. I’m merely asserting that he has the right to exercise it. [Loudly] And regardless of whichever group you believe he belongs to or what he stands for, it is not as important as his own truth, O’Donnell added later.
The mystery surrounding Richard Simmons’ disappearance has grown since the health expert withdrew from public view in early 2014. Simmons was last observed in public at a fundraiser in California in January 2014, according to Entertainment Tonight.
Following then, the area around the health expert was very quiet.
At his “Slimmons” facility, Simmons performed his final workout in 2016. Shortly after, the club abruptly shut its doors with no warning.
However, a statement was eventually made public:
“I founded Slimmons in 1974 with the goal of empowering individuals to transform their lives via enjoyable exercise. It was a place to make friends, listen to and learn from others, lose weight and gain confidence. I visited Slimmons for each of these reasons, too!
The gym was shut down because fitness guru Simmons had to take some time to “take care of himself” after being hospitalized for acute dehydration.
There have been many strange tales in recent years regarding Simmons’ absence from the public eye. First, a report that Simmons had been imprisoned by his maid surfaced, forcing Simmons to refute it in a Today Show interview.
Additionally, the police went to the residence of the fitness experts and reported that everything appeared to be in order. Simmons is “absolutely OK,” according to a statement from the LAPD, and “right now he is doing what he wants to do, and that is his business.”
Simmons unexpectedly shared a photo of himself on Facebook in 2017. After hearing the disturbing news that Simmons had been admitted to the hospital for dyspepsia, he declared that he “is not missing” and was OK. There were, however, some odd circumstances in relation to the image. Because the image was from 2013, questions about who truly had access to the account surfaced.
Lenny, Richard’s brother, has been defending Richard and refuting numerous rumors throughout the years. And if we pay attention to Lenny, we might get closer to understanding why we don’t see his brother anymore.
He is living a tranquil life and doing what he likes to do, which is relax. He has no one on his bad side. He simply made the decision to keep quiet after completing his task. He wishes to remain silent for whatever reason. Lenny said in 2017, “I don’t understand it, but I have to respect it.
Tommy Estey, Richard Simmons’ spokesperson, has also given us important details on Simmons’ “disappearance.”
He has aided in the weight loss of millions of people. He looked for everyone but himself for 40 years. Richard wasn’t just being a “good guy persona.” The man never engaged in a significant public controversy, and he earned a reputation for being sincere since he spent countless hours each week individually calling and speaking with people who had trouble getting well.
As of right now, Richard Simmons is 72 years old, and from all reports, he currently leads a tranquil life in exile from the media.
But in 2020, our beloved fitness hero gave us a faint sign of hope. Simmons reportedly resumed posting workout videos on his YouTube page because he wants to assist people stay strong and healthy during the pandemic. The instructional films were shot before Simmons made the decision to leave public life. But he hopes that by sharing his motivational films, he may spread awareness of Richard’s positive attitude and inspire more people to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Simmons said: “I am thrilled that my ground-breaking fitness series Sweatin’ to the Oldies is still so relevant and well-liked. I also hope that many new fans will find these timeless songs.”