Throughout the'80s and '90s, few fitness personalities were as well-known as Richard Simmons. His frizzy hair, penchant for short-shorts and tank tops, and falsetto voice made him stand out when compared the muscular body builders. His flamboyant personality made him the perfect foil for many talk show hosts, especially the incredibly sarcastic David Letterman. Sadly, despite all of his fame, no one knows where Simmons has been for over 1,000 days.
A new podcast, Missing Richard Simmons, debuted two weeks ago and quickly rose to the top of the podcast charts. The show is hosted by a Dan Taberski, one of the regulars of the fitness class Simmons held on a weekly basis in Beverly Hills, CA. The two struck up a friendship that involved dinner parties and the discussion of developing a documentary about Simmons' life, but Taberski hasn't heard from his friend just stopped showing up for class in 2014.
When Simmons graduated high school, he weighed 269 pounds, but devoted his life to dropping 123 of those pounds through his 20s. Wanting to share his secrets with others, Simmons went on to have helped Americans lose an estimated 12 million pounds. Simmons is estimated to be worth $15 million.
According to the podcast, Simmons just stopped showing up in public and stopped answering calls, texts, and emails. Simmons often struck up personal relationships with people who came to him seeking help, with Taberski saying he'd wake up at 4:00 AM to reach out to as many as 50 people to offer fitness advice.
Through the podcasts released so far, three theories have been presented: Simmons had a chronic issue with his knee that required surgery and is avoiding the spotlight while he recuperates, his dog died and he has been mourning that lost, or his live-in housekeeper has taken control over his life.
Simmons' manager, Tom Estey, has offered a much simpler explanation. According to an interview with People, Estey says, "Richard, after 40 years of being in the spotlight, is now simply taking a break from the public eye and working behind the scenes to continue to help those millions of people worldwide in need of his assistance and on several projects to be announced soon."
In March of 2016, Simmons phoned in to the Today show to discuss his seclusion, revealing, "No one is holding me in my house as a hostage." He added, "You know I do what I want to do as I've always done, so people should sort of just believe what I have to say because, like, I'm Richard Simmons!"
Taberski hopes the podcast can conclude with him having a conversation with his friend about what he's been up to the last three years.
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[H/T NY Post]
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