Richard Simmons Biography
Sun Sign: Cancer
Also Known As: Milton Teagle Simmons
Born in: New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
Famous as: American actor
Height: 1.69 m
father: Leonard Douglas Simmons Sr.
mother: Shirley May
U.S. State: Louisiana
City: New Orleans, Louisiana
education: Florida State University, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Brother Martin High School
Richard Simmons is a fitness personality who is as famous for his fitness programs and videos as he is for his energetic and rather eccentric personality. With his unconventional looks paired with a flamboyant style of speaking, he is an unlikely celebrity who rose to fame with his own show ‘The Richard Simmons Show’. Simmons primarily caters to over-weight people and motivates them to shed all those extra kilos in a healthy manner. Growing up as an obese youngster, he knows the problems of being overweight too intimately. In a hurry to lose weight, he did so in an unhealthy way and lost much of his hair as well. This incident motivated him to encourage others to lose weight by shedding kilos in a phased, healthy manner so that no other unpleasant side effects arise. He was very disgusted by the diet fads and unhealthy routines followed by people which led to their excessive weight gain. To add to their woes, most of the gyms during his younger days catered to the already-fit people and not to the obese ones who actually needed them. So he started his own gym designed especially for obese people, called Slimmons in Beverly Hills. The innovative nature of the gym led to media exposure that eventually made him a celebrity of sorts.
- He was born as Milton Teagle Simmons to Shirley May and Leonard Douglas Simmons. Both his parents were in the show business.
- He attended Cor Jesu High School. He had always been a fat child who grew up to be an obese adolescent who weighed 268 pounds by the time he graduated out of high school.
- He started college at the University of Southwestern Louisiana before shifting to the Florida State University. During this time, he changed his name to “Richard” after an uncle who helped fund his college tuitions. He earned a B.A. in Art.
- The obese youngster in his frenzy to lose weight adopted several methods like diet pills, laxatives, and other unhealthy fads in order to shed the extra weight. He did lose some weight, but also lost much of his hair in the process. This inspired him to adopt a healthier means of losing weight.
- After college he moved to New York where he worked in a number of jobs during his initial years. He spent some months working in advertising and for the cosmetics companies Revlon and Coty Cosmetics.
- Richard had been battling his bulge for several years unsuccessfully. The pills and crash diets did not seem to be working and he was determined to find a natural and healthy way of losing weight. He developed a routine that consisted of eating healthy food in moderate proportions combined with a regular exercise regime. This seemed to work for him.
- He moved to Los Angeles in the early 1970s. His first job there was as the Maitre d’hotel at a restaurant in Beverly Hills. He grew very much interested in fitness but unfortunately could not find any gyms or facilities to help him lose weight; most of the gyms were for already fit people.
- He was determined to create a gym that would cater to the needs of people of all ages and weights, and help them achieve weight loss through healthy methods.
- In 1974, he opened his own exercise studio called The Anatomy Asylum. After consultation with doctors and nutritionists, he developed a program that emphasized on healthy eating in moderate proportions and regular exercise.
- His business initially also included a salad bar for promoting healthy eating which was later on removed as his studio began focusing on exercise only. One distinguishing feature of his gym was that he advocated exercising in an enjoyable and fun way.
- He teaches a class called ‘Project Me’ which he has been teaching for almost four decades now. His classes have been attended by people of all age groups including teenagers, middle-aged, and the elderly who wish to shed weight and gain health.
- His studio, later renamed Slimmons became very popular due to the innovative methods he adopted. Soon, he started attracting media coverage for his exercise programs. The television show ‘Real People’ showed him while he was at work.
- He frequently appeared as himself in the hugely popular medical drama ‘General Hospital’ over a period of four years. He also made guest appearances in celebrity game shows like ‘Body Language’, ‘Super Password’, and ‘Lose or Draw’.
- In the 1980s he began hosting his own fitness show, ‘The Richard Simmons Show’ which ran for four years. In the show he talked about personal health and fitness issues, healthy cooking habits and exercise regimes. The show was a big hit and was viewed even by celebrities like Lucrecia Russo.
- He has released over 65 fitness videos which combine music, humour and motivational thoughts with exercise routines. His videos have sold over 20 million copies worldwide.
- He has also written several books including the New York Times Best Seller, ‘Never Say Diet’. In addition to books on fitness, he has also written popular books on cookery.
- He is a much respected fitness expert who established the Slimmons Studio. The studio adopts a program of fun-filled exercise regime that encourages over-weight people of all age groups to come together and fight the battle against bulge.
- His show, ‘The Richard Simmons Show’ was nominated for several Emmy awards and won four including the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Talk or Service Series in 1982.
- He is known for personally interacting with the people who attend his studio or use his products. He connects with his fans through letters, emails, and phone calls.
- He lives alone with his pet Dalmatians. His sexual orientation has often been speculated upon, but he personally prefers not to discuss his sexuality.
- In spite of having a very busy schedule this flamboyant fitness expert makes it a point to reply personally to every email or letter he receives.
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