Missing Richard Simmons" by a director/producer/podcaster named Dan Taberski. This podcast explores the mystery behind fitness guru Richard Simmons' sudden disappearance from public life back on 02/15/14. Taberski was a Slimmons gym regular who found himself wondering what happened to his friend.
Keep in mind that Richard Simmons was a gregarious public figure for nearly four decades. He was known for connecting with fans at their home phone numbers for years at a time to assist them with their long journeys from obesity. He ran exercise classes every week at Slimmons gym for forty years, where he led combination workout/sharing sessions with as assortment of regular and gawkers. He connected with his fans in such an intimate way.
So for him to drop out of public life and to avoid all attempts at contact by all but his family and inner circle... Well, it's just nurtured whatever concerns that people who personally knew him but who existed outside of his very inner circle. Every unanswered email and phone call just prompt friends to begin wondering about every dark rumor surrounding his disappearance.
Is he sick or disabled? Did he really transition into a woman? Did he regain his weight? Is he the victim of elder abuse or financial exploitation?
I ended up joining this podcast just in time for it to wrap up. Which made for some interesting podcast-binging this week. Ultimately, Taberski did not connect with Richard Simmons. But he finally received enough reassurance from Simmons' people and from the police that he's okay. He's just done with public life.
That's ultimately what I learned from "Missing Richard Simmons" and the subsequent media reports. Richard Simmons, after forty years of public life, simply decided that he needed to shift gears and focus on himself.