Fitness expert. Glitter-tank artist. Short-shorts icon. Although he has often served as the butt of homophobic jokes and parodies, Richard Simmons has built a forty-year career being exactly who he is: compassionate, colorful, and hopelessly devoted to cardio.
For his 67th birthday, we’ve chosen our favorite selections from Simmons’ glorious 1999 memoir Still Hungry After All These Years: My Story.
1. “I loved my bathroom time, because this is when I could practice my commercials. There was a mirror directly across from the toilet, so I could sit there and rehearse. ’Hi. I use Scott Tissue because it’s so soft.’”
2. “The first time I ever heard that word [’sissy’], or what I thought was that word, was in church when the priest talked about St. Francis of Assisi. So when one of my classmates, said, ’Hey, Sissy!’ I just answered, ’Hi!’ I thought he meant I was a Franciscan monk.“
3. “Puberty for me was graduating from Thousand Island salad dressing to Caesar salads.”
4. “So there I was, lying on the floor with the pen sticking out of my chest! No one would remove the pen. They were afraid that blood would spurt out.”
5. “I designed jewelry pins and charms in the shape of a heart, liver, spleen, pancreas, kidney, lungs, and a special 24-carat-gold uterus with opal ovaries.”
6. “I had selected an emerald-green jogging suit with narrow white piping on the side, which I’d purchased at a sporting goods store the day before. I may not have been able to lift a Volkswagen like some of these guys, but at least I could coordinate a colorful outfit.”
7. “’All right now. Do you like push-ups?’” Vince asked. Did he mean like the kind in the frozen-food section with the sherbert inside? Sure! I’ll have a raspberry one!”
8. “I had applied for special vanity plates that said YRU-FATT.”
9. “In about half an hour, I went from the glamour of ABC, and having my photos taken, to the lockup cell in West Hollywood. This drab, gray place did not match my outfit at all.”
10. “’I’ll take it.’ I never asked the price. Some of the salespeople gathered around and agreed it was very special. This was going to be my friendship ring for Barbra.”
11. “I’ve always had typewriters around, because I think they’re pretty and they make me look professional. It gives me that Angela Lansbury feeling.”
Happy birthday, Richard Simmons!