1980s Fitness Guru and Notorious Recluse Richard Simmons ‘Happy’ Turning 75

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - JUNE 09: Fitness personality Richard Simmons attends 2013 LA Gay Pride Festival - Day 3 on June 9, 2013 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Rodrigo Vaz/Getty Images)

It’s been a long time since we’ve heard from Richard Simmons, and clearly, he wants it that way.

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In case you’re not a fan of 1980s-style workouts, just know that Simmons and his flamboyant, high-energy personality set the bar. His 1988 workout video, Sweatin’ to the Oldies, is the biggest-selling fitness home video ever, raking in more than $200 million.

Simmons was almost in the limelight too much in the 1980s and early ’90s, appearing on talk shows and on those infomercial ads seemingly around the clock.


Then … he just vanished. No one really knew of his whereabouts, no one really know how such a popular and lovable celebrity managed to just stop showing up on the airwaves.

Richard Simmons attends the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation’s 24th annual “A Time For Heroes” at Century Park in June 2013. (Getty)

That was nearly 30 years ago. Now, Simmons is 75-years old, celebrating the milestone birthday on July 13.

“This is a big milestone,” Simmons’ representative, Tom Estey, told ET. “I just want to see him happy, which he is.”

Simmons himself has not spoken on camera in about a decade. He did, however, respond to a recent documentary, TMZ Investigates: What Really Happened to Richard Simmons. His response came on Facebook. 


“Thank you, everyone, for your kindness and love!” he wrote at the time, signing his message “Love, Richard.”

That was it.

Wild rumors have suggested that Simmons was being held captive by his housekeeper, with other more-believable ones saying he had been suffering from an ailment. A few rumors even suggested he had transitioned into a woman named Fiona.

But what we do is Simmons is indeed still alive, and according to at least one person, he’s happy.

Actress Suzanne Sommers spoke of Simmons in the TMZ doc, explaining a time when they were to appear on a show together. But Simmons backed out.


“One night I was on the Larry King show and he was either going to be a guest or supposed to be a guest, and I heard through the Larry King people that he didn’t want to be on the show with me,” Somers, 75, recalled. “I said, ‘Why?’ and he said, ‘She’ll make fun of me.’ And that’s not my style, I never make fun of anybody. But that’s when I realized a little insecurity has gotten in there.”

“I liked him. I was always so surprised when he thought I’d make fun of him. But doesn’t that show you he’s got a heartache? Something’s broken inside because he did it. He had it and then let it go.”

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