Tuesday, February 15, 2011


If I bumped into Richard Simmons, I'd hug him. I'd instantly recognize him -- those nifty legs, candy-striped short-shorts, sparkling tank top, kinky curly hair, and his contagious smile.

He has joy in him and sends it out, shares and spreads it around with every hello no matter where he is. The boyish, not-young, sixty-two-year-old Simmons has a genius for giving himself, for being at the moment on the moment.

It's Zen -- being there -- being fully, utterly there, wherever you happen to be. The best dancing I ever did in my life was at the moment on the moment -- ditto with writing, cooking, or making love.

Simmons has credentials -- a Florida State University BA in Art. In NYC, after graduating, he was a waiter, a Maitre D'; in advertising, where he worked for Revlon and Coty Cosmetics. Meanwhile, he developed a diet, exercised, and lost 123 lbs, which he's kept off for 42 years. Even today, he's passionately promoting exercise-more-eat-less programs for public schools throughout the country.

This guy just does it and when you're near him you just join in. He calls his gym "Slimmons" -- his personal studio is "The Anatomy Asylum" -- daily exercise with music is called "Sweating to the Oldies."

Knowing all the secrets about staying fit, Simmons teaches, preaches, exemplifies -- "Love Yourself And Win," a title he created for a PBS pledge drive. He invents marvelously catchy titles -- Lighten Up, Super Sweatin', Never Say Diet, Fitness Fiesta, Wicked Workout, Walk Around the World, Shimmy Into Shape, Party Off the Pounds, and that's just a few of the titles you can buy and use by yourself -- 15 DVDs; 10 CDs; 10 cassettes, and 12 books.

Yes, he's a busy boy-guy-man -- a fantastically gay GAY? He's never said, but who cares? He lives alone in Hollywood Hills with two Dalmatians. He giggles and quotes the numbers -- he's been doing this for 35 years, and has probably helped humanity lose about 3,000,000 pounds.

The other exercise kings and queens -- including, Jane Fonda, Jillian Michaels of "Biggest-Loser" fame, Jack LaLanne, grandfather of U.S fitness, whorecently died, and others who have capitalized on what they know and what made them famous -- they are all people who help people, but Richard Simmons is unique, as a giver of joy.

Here he is, a spur of the moment, with a .group


Carola said...

I agree with you about Richard Simmons. I used to exercise to his Sweatin' to the Oldies video and I enjoyed him and the fact that the group exercising with him included some very overweight (but fit) people.

Edibles Advocate Alliance said...

I'm glad you wrote this blog, Emily. I suspect it's quite lonely being Richard Simmons. This is a lovely way to toast a man who honestly found a job doing what he believed in -- and practiced every day. Most others in the industry are probably not so altruistic. The "industry" itself is relatively brutal and joyless and probably exacted a high price from a man who was simply joyfully happy to help us find happiness and contentment with our physical bodies.
-Emily B.

Carolyn Kalmus said...

I had the opportunity to meet/chat with Richard several years ago at Broadway Cares annual "Broadway Bears" auction...where his energy level and positive outlook on life were downright infectious. Since that evening I've adored him. He is not only filled with joy, he shares it with joyous abandon.