Richard Simmons made a rare public statement after it was announced that Pauly Shore was cast to play him in a new biopic.
“Hi Everybody! You may have heard they may be doing a movie about me with Pauly Shore. I have never given my permission for this movie,” Richard, 75, wrote on Facebook on Wednesday, January 15. “So don’t believe everything you read. I no longer have a manager, and I no longer have a publicist. I just try to live a quiet life and be peaceful. Thank you for all your love and support.”
The feature-length film about the fitness personality’s life is currently in development at the Warner Bros. subsidiary the Wolper Organization, per Variety.
“While we would love to have him involved, we respect his desire to privacy and plan to produce a movie that honors him, celebrates him and tells a dramatic story,” a statement from the Wolper Organization said, per NBC News. “He is an amazing person that changed millions of peoples’ lives and the effect he has had on the world needs to be recognized.”
Prior to the casting news, Pauly, 55, opened up about why he wanted to play Richard in a movie.
“I was doing my own ‘Sweating With the Wiez’ series on Instagram,” the comedian told People in September 2023. “There’s also joy we both have and love to share, and a flamboyancy. We’re both very physical, we’re both over the top and silly. So there are all those parallels that make sense.”
The pair ended up striking up a great friendship decades ago.
“I would always see him driving his Rolls Royce down Sunset Boulevard in the ’80s and ’90s, waving to everyone, and he’d always pull over and say hi,” Pauly continued. “We’d mess around, and he’d come and see my mom Mitzi at the Comedy Store. It was just mutual joy when we’d see each other.”
Richard has been living largely out of the spotlight in recent years. In fact, it’s been 10 years since he was last seen in public. His disappearance from the public eye was investigated in TMZ Investigates: What Really Happened to Richard Simmons.
“Richard is eternally grateful for the continuous outpouring of love and gratitude he has received from across the globe,” his rep, Tom Estey, said in a rare statement to The New York Post in August 2022, after years of silence. “He is happy, healthy and living the life he has chosen to live.”
At the time, Richard also shared a brief message on Facebook amid an outpouring of public support. “Thank you, everyone, for your kindness and love! Love, Richard.”