This hilarious self-obituary for the “fallen” actor Jeff Goldblum has inspired me to create my own fake viral celebrity death (read more about the phenomenon here). Therefore, it is with a heavy heart that I announce that beloved fitness icon Richard Simmons died early this morning in a tragic BeDazzler accident. He was 61.
Born Milton Teagle Simmons in New Orleans’s French Quarter, “Richard” came into the national spot light as a fitness guru after himself losing 123 lbs.
He opened his own exercise studio, originally called The Anatomy Asylum, where emphasis was placed on healthy eating in proper portions and enjoyable exercise. With his health club a success, Simmons began to draw media attention, beginning with an appearance on the television show Real People where he was shown at work. He introduced customers whom he had helped to lose weight. He later made guest appearances on the celebrity game shows Win, Lose or Draw and Nickelodeon’s Figure It Out.
Positive viewer reaction landed Simmons a recurring role as himself on the American soap opera General Hospital, over a four-year period. This in turn led to further media notoriety, as well as personal appearances in shopping malls, where he taught exercise classes. In the early 1980s, Simmons hosted two shows; Slim Cookin, and an Emmy Award winning talk show, The Richard Simmons Show, in which he focused on personal health, fitness, exercise, and healthy cooking.
Simmons is noted for his flamboyant, high-energy, motivational demeanor, an attribute he uses to help encourage people to lose weight. His high energy level is always featured in his workout videos. His trademark attire is candy-striped Dolphin shorts and tank tops decorated with Swarovski crystals that would tragically take his life.
When I was in third grade, we didn’t have much a PE program and so we were reduced to Sweatin’ to the Oldies in the church gym next-door each morning at 10. To this day, I can’t hear Give Me Some Lovin’ without seeing those striped short shorts in my mind’s eye.
Goodbye, sweet Richard. You will be missed. Whenever I get weary trodding this Earth and need some annoying, frizzy-haired inspiration, I will think of that time you came onto Paula Dean’s show dressed as a piece of toast, and smile.[Single tear.]