Every day, Richard Simmons calls between 50 and 100 overweight people to give them that extra boost of confidence they need to lose weight. Thousands of people e-mail him and share their stories; people write him everything about their lives. And all that sweet, darling man with the merrily frizzled hair wants to do is make them laugh, make them sing and get them motivated. I have so much love for this bedazzled tank-top wearer who has said the top right Hollywood Square “feels like home.”
The first thing I came to admire of Mr. Richard Simmons was his lack of worrisomeness. This is his brilliant philosophy: He sets his kitchen timer for five minutes every morning, allows himself just five minutes to sit and mind
chatter about life stuff, and then is on with his day.
A little back story about the one person (living or dead) I’d like to meet: Richard was a little, afroed Caucasian kid born without certain bones in his feet. He was 200 pounds when he was in the 8th grade…a compulsive eater. He was from New Orleans, Louisiana, a place with nothing but great food.
Quick fun facts: He has a doll collection and considered becoming a priest. He says he has very few friends. He calls himself a loner. He lives in the Hollywood Hills with two maids and his Dalmatians, which he named after characters from “Gone With the Wind” (Scarlett, Pittypat, Melanie). When he’s out of town, he calls his house every night to talk with his dogs and sing to them.
But it’s not all fun in short shorts. Richard Simmons was arrested in 2004, charged with assaulting a Harley Davidson salesman during a confrontation at a Phoenix airport. No, that is not a joke. The 54-year-old fitness guru (5′ 7″, 155 pounds) laid the smackdown on one Chris Farney, a 23-year-old Mesa man (6′ 1″ and 255 pounds) who happens to cage wrestle in his spare time.
But my fair Richard did have an overlooked four-year stint on “General Hospital,” followed by his own nationally syndicated series, “The Richard Simmons Show,” which won several Emmy awards. He has 50 fitness videos, which have sold more than 20 million copies and he is the author nine books and three cookbooks.