Richard Simmons Makes Rare Public Statement After Not Being Seen for 10 Years
The 75-year-old addressed fans after a biopic about his life was announced.
Ever since fitness guru Richard Simmons retired from public life 10 years ago, news about the star—either from a representative or directly from Simmons himself—has been hard to come by. Now, in light of an upcoming biopic about him, the 75-year-old has made a rare statement. In a personal message posted to his Facebook account, which is normally only updated with vintage Simmons workout videos shared by staff, Simmons disavowed the film, saying that the he has no involvement with the Pauly Shore project.
The Hollywood Reporter reported on Wednesday, Jan. 17 that Shore announced he would play Simmons in an upcoming film about his life. "I'm really excited about sharing Richard Simmons' life with the world," Shore said in a statement. "We all need this biopic now more than ever. Simmons represented mental health, getting people in shape and being his authentic silly self! Whenever he was on TV you could never take your eyes off of him and he brought such a joy to his appearances that represented nothing but a good time."
As THR notes, Shore also plays Simmons in a short film titled The Court Jester, which will premiere in Park City, Utah this week. (Though it will premiere during the Sundance Film Festival, it's not an official selection.) Initially, the suggestion that Shore should play Simmons went viral on social media after users began pointing out their resemblance.
Following Shore's announcement, Simmons broke his silence on Facebook. "Hi Everybody! You may have heard they may be doing a movie about me with Pauly Shore," the star wrote. I have never given my permission for this movie. So don't believe everything you read." Shore did not claim in the statement that Simmons was involved.
Simmons' post continued, "I no longer have a manager, and I no longer have a publicist. I just try to live a quiet life and be peaceful. Thank you for all your love and support."
The production company behind the biopic, The Wolper Organization, responded to Simmons with their own statement.
"While we would love to have him involved, we respect his desire to privacy and plan to produce a movie that honors him, celebrates him and tells a dramatic story," the company's statement reads, as reported by THR. "We know he is deeply private and we would never want to invade that, however he is an amazing person, that changed millions of peoples lives and the effect he has had on the world needs to be recognized."
Simmons was last seen publicly in 2014. In 2016, he explained to Today why he decided to step back from public life.
"I just sort of wanted to be a little bit of a loner for a little while," Simmons said. "You know, I had hurt my knee, and I had some problems with it, and then the other knee started giving me trouble because I've taught like thousands and thousands of classes, and you know right now I just want to sort of take care of me. I just really don't want to do anything, you know. I just don't want to be traveling anymore. It certainly has taken its toll on me, so it was not like over a day, it was just over some time."
During the Today show interview, he also debunked a conspiracy theory that he was being held hostage by his housekeeper. In recent years, fans have gotten the occasional update on Simmons, either from him or a spokesperson. For instance, on Simmons' 75th birthday in July 2023, his former representative Tom Estey told Entertainment Tonight, "This is a big milestone. I just want to see him happy, which he is."
Prior to that, in August 2022, Simmons thanked fans for their support in a Facebook post following the release of the documentary TMZ Investigates: What Really Happened to Richard Simmons. Instead of commenting on the documentary itself, the fitness icon wrote, "Thank you, everyone, for your kindness and love! Love, Richard."
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