Is reclusive fitness guru Richard Simmons planning a return to public life?
The headline for The New York Times article “Richard Simmons Signs With Licensing Firm. Is a Re-emergence Next?” with a link to the story was posted to his Twitter account Thursday. The post came a day after the licensing trade magazine License Global reported Simmons had signed a deal with his manager Michael Catalano’s brand-management company Prominent Brand + Talent.
Dan Levin, a company co-founder, said in a statement that the firm “plans to launch a global line of thoughtful motivation and inspiration-based products that will achieve the tenets Richard has always espoused — love yourself no matter what you weigh, make time to do good for others and laugh a little.”
The magazine said Simmons’ existing merchandising has generated more than $1.5 billion through such outlets as Amazon.com, Avon cosmetics, QVC, Payless shoes and Walmart, among others.
Interest in Simmons, 68, has spiked recently as a result of the hit podcast “Missing Richard Simmons,” which has asserted that the fitness maven has not been seen publicly for three years because he is being held hostage by his housekeeper. Simmons’ longtime representative, Tom Estey, told People magazine last month that such claims were false. “Richard made a choice. To live a more private life,” he said. “If he decides to come back, he’ll come back.”