Richard Simmons Biography
Milton Teagle Simmons (born July 12, 1948), known professionally as Richard Simmons, is an American fitness personality who promotes weight-loss programs, most famously through his aerobics videos and eccentric, flamboyant personality. Simmons began his career opening a gym catering to the overweight, and became widely known through exposure on television and through the popularity of his consumer products.
He became a striking cultural icon, often parodied, and a frequent guest of late night television talk shows such as The Late Show With David Letterman. Today, Simmons continues his life-long mission of promoting health and has broadened his activities to include political activism, notably in support of a bill mandating non-competitive physical education in public schools.
Richard Simmons was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. Simmons was raised Catholic and in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana, and attended Cor Jesu High School (now Brother Martin High School). He was obese throughout his adolescence and by the time he graduated from high school, he weighed 268 pounds and suffered from gynecomastia.
His first job, in New Orleans, was selling pralines After starting college at the University of Southwestern Louisiana, he transferred to Florida State University. While enrolled there, he studied as an exchange student in Florence, Italy. He graduated with a BA in Art. After graduation, Simmons moved to New York City where he worked in advertising, as a waiter, and for cosmetics companies Revlon and Coty Cosmetics.
Upon moving to Los Angeles in the 1970s, Simmons worked as the Maître d’ at a restaurant in Beverly Hills. He developed an interest in fitness, but was dissatisfied with the unhealthy fad diet methods[clarification needed] and the established gyms and exercise studios of the day which favored the already fit customer. It was his interest in fitness that helped him lose 123 lb (56 kg).
Simmons later opened his own exercise studio, originally called The Anatomy Asylum, where emphasis was placed on healthy eating in proper portions and enjoyable exercise. The business originally included a salad bar restaurant called “Ruffage,” (the name a pun on the word Roughage), though it was eventually removed as the focus of the Asylum shifted solely to exercise. Now called Slimmons, the establishment continues operations in Beverly Hills, and Simmons teaches motivational classes and aerobics throughout the week.
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