Richard Simmons, Circa 1981

Here’s a special treat: Richard Simmons on the cover of the November 2, 1981 issue of People Magazine!


This isn’t just a picture – I have the actual magazine in my hot little hands! Here’s how I got it:

My buddy Pat was visiting family in Michigan when he came across a vendor selling tons of mint-condition old magazines at a flea market. Pat, a hoarder collector of many things, was intrigued, but didn’t have much time. He made a special point of coming back the next day to root around and see what he could find. He found this People magazine, thought of me, bought it (it only cost $3!), and brought it back to California.

The beginning of the article features this full-page photo of Richard dressed like a carrot:


I was very excited to show the magazine to Richard, but the day I brought it to class was, coincidentally, the very same day Richard posted the cover image on Facebook and Twitter, so it wasn’t like I surprised him with a blast from the past that he hadn’t seen in ages.

Here’s Richard in his Mercedes, with what the magazine describes as one of his “many toy pigs.” Note the vanity license plate:


The article is interesting. It gives some of Richard’s back story, while hyping his daytime talk show, which was growing in ratings and challenging the king of daytime, Phil Donahue. What’s most impressive is how Richard’s message hasn’t really changed over the years. He gave this interview when he was 33, and he’s now 65, but his messages of self-love, eating well, and exercising are just as loud and clear then as they are now.

Here are some of his notable quotes:

“‘I receive 25,000 to 30,000 letters a day,’ says Simmons, ‘and the reason I travel a lot is to meet these people, who are part of my family. I don’t think of myself as a celebrity. I basically relate to myself like myself, who don’t use more than three syllables.'”

“‘It’s okay to be silly, to be crazy,’ maintains Simmons. ‘It makes no difference what I do as long as I get my point across.'”

“‘I’m not a phony playing a character on Happy Days. I’m a person with faults and insecurities evident every day. What you see is what you get.'”

My favorite quote, however, is not from Richard at all, but instead from an unnamed Nebraska mother who explains why she watches his show:  “‘I used to watch Phil Donahue,’ one Omaha matron explained. ‘I turned him off because he had so many programs about these gays and couples swapping wives. I do exercises with Richard now – and he makes me feel younger.'”  Ha!

Richard happily signed the magazine for me, and I’m planning on gifting it to a longtime friend.

In other news, I’ve been on a roll with my exercising. I’ve completed workouts on 13 of the past 14 days, and the plan is to go for a run tonight. I haven’t gone running since my foot sprain, and while I’ve actually wanted to (!) the past couple days, but it’s been way too hot. Like, over 100 degrees.  Today it’s cooler, and so hopefully… after the sun sets… I’ll get my run on!

Keep it up, David!


2 Responses to Richard Simmons, Circa 1981

  1. Denise says:

    I used to watch Richard’s show faithfully after I got home from elementary school. His show and the philosophy he brought to each workout was so much healthier than that of Jane Fonda, whose workout I used to do every night from the record player (pre-CDs or cassette tapes).

  2. Pat says:

    $3 is a steal! File that under “S”, subcategory “P”, subcategory “BI”. On a serious note: Over 30 years, and his message hasn’t really changed. Keep it Up!

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