Before there was Zumba and Crossfit, there was Richard Simmons. If you were an adult in the 80’s or 90’s, you probably remember this larger-than-life exercise guru with the curly hair and flamboyant clothes. He helped a lot of people lose weight and feel more positive about life. You may even have one of his Sweatin’ to the Oldies tapes buried in storage. He seemed to be everywhere back in the day. What ever happened to him?
About three years ago, Richard Simmons vanished from the public eye. Out of the blue. Without explanation. Since that time, there has been a lot of speculation about his so-called disappearance. This was a kind man who would wake up at the crack of dawn to personally call around 50 people. Did he get burnt out from social interaction and become a recluse? Or is something more sinister at play?
The popular podcast Missing Richard Simmons seeks to answer these questions and more. Dan Taberski, a filmmaker who befriended Richard and worked out at his Hollywood gym, began the podcast in February. It’s been topping the charts ever since.
Part documentary and part investigation, the weekly podcast familiarizes listeners with Richard’s life and shares possible theories on what happened to him. In the first episode, for instance, we learn that all that glitters is not gold: his private life was very different from his exuberant public persona. Though he radiated light and happiness, he was often anything but. The podcast introduces the various characters in Richard’s world, including a tour bus driver, his masseuse, exercise class participants, his housekeeper and more. People who knew Richard, or anyone with leads, are encouraged to call a hotline. This breaking information is then rolled into new episodes, making for a very current and interactive show.
If you too are Missing Richard Simmons, you can listen to the podcast from the beginning here (there are currently four episodes): https://www.missingrichardsimmons.com/.
And if you are interested in some throwback Richard Simmons exercise videos, you are in luck. Green Tree Public Library just added three commemorative Sweatin’ to the Oldies DVDs to the collection. It’s time to put on your spandex and get moving! Richard Simmons may be out of the limelight, but his legacy lives on.