These days, the flamboyant Simmons may be known best for his bizarrely funny talk show appearances with the likes of David Letterman, Jay Leno and Howard Stern, but back in the ’80s and ’90s, he was a true fitness icon.
The Louisiana native often credits his obesity during his teen years — and his subsequent weight loss in his early twenties — as his motivation to help others struggling with weight and self-esteem issues. His self-titled syndicated exercise show debuted in 1980. During the show’s four-season run, it won two Daytime Emmy Awards as Outstanding Talk/Service Series. In the ’90s, Simmons made a comeback via his Sweatin’ to the Oldies line of fitness videos (remember the ubiquitous infomercials?), in which he led exercisers through fitness routines set to rock hits from the ’50s and ’60s. In 2010, Simmons released a boxed set called Sweatin’ for Life (which includes a new Sweatin’ to the Oldies video), and he continues to teach fitness classes at his Slimmons Studio in Beverly Hills.