The American Gladiators: Who They Are and Why They’re So Iconic

When American Gladiators premiered on television in 1989, sports and entertainment were forever changed. Forging a brand-new genre, The weekly program hosted elite American athletes to compete for real dominance in actual athletics. Setting the stage for “Survivor” and opening up the gates for extreme sports like X Games in 1995, American Gladiators was also the first American reality T.V. show.
Alamy Stock Photo
Alamy Stock Photo
Billed as a “sports game show,” contestants showcased their skills while battling for the $10,000 prize and a chance to become a bona fide Gladiator. A Grand Championship title with a prize of $25,000 awaited the finalist. Perhaps most surprising of all is the show was a hit! So much so, that an NBC remake with host Hulk Hogan aired in 2008.

Venom

Real name: Beth Horn

Years Active: 2008

Est. net Worth: $4 million

A shining star on NBC’s American Gladiators reboot, Venom struck terror into the hearts of competitors. She rocked the Arena for two seasons. Long before AG, Horn etched her mark. Since the age of seven, she was a competitive gymnast. She got into bodybuilding in college to come back from two knee injuries, one on each leg, a few years apart. Two reconstructive surgeries later, she took on the nickname “bionic woman.”

 

Excelling at weightlifting, she became an IFBB pro winning the 2000 National Fitness Championship in N.Y. She’s a trainer, model, actress, and author of “The Natural Way” fitness book.

Nitro

Real Name: Dan Clark

Years Active: 1989-’92,’ 94-95

Est. Net Worth: $1 million*

Nitro landed American Gladiators with an NFL background and a specialty in health and fitness. As one of the original Gladiators, his career revolves around the show. His critically acclaimed book, “Gladiator: A True Story of ‘Roids, Rage, and Redemption,” came out in 2009, getting a significant nod from Fight Club author, Chuck Palahniuk. He followed it up with “F Dying,” written and inspired after narrowly surviving cardiac arrest.

 

with a black belt in Tae Kwon Do he also enjoys yoga, acting, and has been an active voice in the childhood obesity problem since founding the “Ten Thousand Pounds” program.

Zap

Real Name: Raye Hollitt

Years Active: 1989, 1991-1995

Est. Net Worth: $150,000*

Zap is an original. Known as the “ultimate Gladiator,” she is one of the most beloved personalities. Identified by strength and beauty, Zap was the high school athlete who was also voted prom queen. In the early 1980s, she discovered bodybuilding. Winning several competitions from Venice Beach, the bodybuilding capital of the world, Zap landed the cover of many prominent muscle-building magazine publications.

 

Her muscle-building acuity turned into a Hollywood career. A.G. recognized her after starring in “Skin Deep” with John Ritter. Hollitt was a paralegal before A.G. and has been a personal trainer, having owned two gyms in Pennsylvania, as well as a snowboard instructor.

Tower

Real Name: Steve Henneberry

Years Active: 1991-1994

Est. Net Worth: $200,000*

This former Mr. America originally joined the team as an alternate, but everyone from fans to the production crew wanted to see more of the handsome hunk. Anointed Tower, he joined the cast. At 6’5′, the ‘Tower of Power’ nickname fit. The talented athlete took on bodybuilding in 1989, eventually landing him the Mr. America title.

 

Next, acting and modeling gigs came his way, and he appeared on hit shows like “Married With Children.” Tough as nails, a collision with Sabre during a Powerball match in Season 4 required 44 stitches on his head. Three hours later, he was back on the show!

Mayhem

Real Name: William Romeo

Years Active: 2008

Est. Net Worth: $500,000*

Mayhem got his foot in the door in 1989 as an alternate Contender but landed the real deal in 2008 on NBC’s then-new series, American Gladiators. As a full-fledged gladiator, he displayed a ferocious competitive edge with tremendous strength augmented by a background in theater, dance, and martial arts. Mayhem is a second-degree black belt.

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Besides scoring the occasional role in T.V. and film, like Without a Trace and How I met Your Mother, Mayhem teaches funk aerobics at Funk-Fitness in L.A. while dreaming of being an A-lister someday.

Cobra

Real name: Michael Willson

Years Active: 1992-1999

Est. net Worth: Unavailable

Agile and quick on his feet, Cobra was recognized for his acrobatic kicks and splits maneuvers. He dominated the Duel Podium, undefeated, never once being knocked off. Cobra honed his skills by training as a kickboxer, a martial arts expert, and an amateur boxer. He won bodybuilding titles Mr. South London and Mr. Kent. Starring in eight series of the British Gladiators remake, these days he is lucky to be alive.

 

After a hip replacement surgery, pneumonia almost did him in. He says he still needs a second hip, a bicep, and a new shoulder due to too many insane workouts. “I would run ten miles before I’d start my workouts.”

Gemini

Real Name: Michael Horton

Years Active: 1989-92

Est. Net Worth: $1.5 million*

Gemini is known for getting into a fight with Billy Wirth in the first season, yet on set he earned the nickname “gentle giant.” He’s also known as an NFL lineman out of UCLA for the Panthers and the Saints, retiring just recently in 2019 with ten years under his belt. Gemini practiced martial arts for six years and holds a second-degree black belt.

 

Gemini, named for his personality split between calm and aggressive, was one of the original six Gladiators. He has two sons who both play pro football and an athletic daughter who played college volleyball.

Shadow

Real name: Jefferson King

Years Active: 1992-1994

Est. net Worth: Unavailable

Hailed King of the Duel, Shadow was defeated only once in three highly competitive years. With daunting strength and determination, Contenders lived in mortal fear of the mighty Shadow. He launched his career in track and field hoping to sign with the NFL. Turning to bodybuilding, he won numerous titles. The original Gladiator team captain loved his days at the Arena until he was caught doing illicit substances.

 

Ejected from Gladiators, he was now doing manual labor like gravedigging. Ten years later he finally kicked another addiction and is now leading others to reclaim their lives at Intuitive Recovery.

Malibu

Real Name: Deron McBee

Years Active: 1991-92

Est. Net Worth: $350,000*

Malibu was one of the six original Gladiators from Season 1. Offstage, the California cool surfer dude not only trained in Karate and hand-to-hand sword fighting but was a professional wrestler, a pro racquetball player, and a movie star as well.

 

McBee has portrayed menacing villains in films such as Batman Forever and Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. Malibu returned to American Gladiators for the 1991 Live Tour. One look and you probably wouldn’t guess that he started his showbiz career as a deputy sheriff for the L.A. County Sheriff Department.

Blaze

Real Name: Sha-ri Pendleton

Years Active: 1989-92

Est. Net Worth: $200,000*

Blaze trained as a 1984 Olympic athlete in jumping and hurdling until an injury sidelined those hopes. That didn’t stop her from taking the 1990 Miss Natural International Bodybuilding Championship crown. On the side, she worked toward a law degree and practiced criminal law. Gladiator Blaze had an aggressive reputation. The Conquer event best showcased her style.

 

She married Rodney “Knightmare” Mitchell, an athlete from rival T.V. show Knights and Warriors. The union was a bit contentious at the time. They have one son, Re-al Mitchell, who is also a talented athlete. Today, she’s a high school coach and teacher.

Wolf

Real Name: Don “Hollywood” Yates

Years Active: 2008

Est. Net Worth: $45,000*

Wolf may be a newbie to American Gladiators, but his ferocity is unmatched. Appearing on two seasons of the 2008 NBC reboot, this competitor clocks in at a daunting 6’4″ and 230 pounds of brute force. Don “Hollywood” Yates has wanted to be a showbiz star since he was a kid. As a professional rodeo bullfighter, he won as many titles as broken bones. He suffered 130 bone breaks, three knee surgeries and barely survived being gored by a bull.

 

He’s one tough dude. At a Las Vegas bodybuilding event, Wolf was approached by NBC scouts. He turned down a WWE contract and starred as Wolf instead.

Ice

Real Name: Lori Fetrick

Years Active: 1991-96

Est. Net Worth: $325,00*

As a four-year all-star triple athlete at San Bernardino High School, Lori Fetrick turned to bodybuilding and became an NPC National Level Bodybuilder, placing third nationally and taking the title for 1st in California. In 1990, Ice stood up to the Gladiator challenge in Season 2, dominating the Powerball event.

 

She competed in five seasons of American Gladiators as well as the Live Tour. Before she opened her own gym in Florida, she worked as a personal trainer. These days, she’s at Transamerica as a financial professional.

Amazon

Real name: Sharron Davies

Years Active: 1995-1996

Est. net Worth: $1 million

Olympic swimmer, Sharron Davies won two gold medals at the Commonwealth Games in 1978 and broke her own 400-meter record in 1992. The swimming champion turned to the Gladiator arena in 1995. She was an intimidating force, but a knee injury ended her run. One operation wasn’t enough to repair the damage in time for the show’s next season.

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By 1996, she was out. Since then she’s authored health and fitness books and videos and provided commentary for BBC at swimming events and at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. Davies was honored with an MBE in 1993 for her swimming achievements.

Lace (the Original)

Real Name: Marisa Pare

Years Active: 1989-1992

Est. Net Worth: $15,000*

This great NYC American beauty was an interior designer to the stars and a singer in a rock band before becoming a fan-fav competitor. Lace is one of the original Gladiators and performed for three seasons. When she left the show at the beginning of Season 4, “Lace” went to Natalie Lennox.

 

The original sexy and strong contender started as a lightweight at 120 pounds but built up her strength by Season 3. She shined in the Assault event. Post-Gladiators, she guest-starred in T.V. shows “Clueless” and “Renegade” and posed for “Playboy” magazine.

Siren

Real Name: Shelley Beattie

Years Active: 1992-1996

Est. Net Worth: $15,000*

Like Incredible Hulk star Lou Ferrigno, Shelley Beattie was powerful, athletic, and also deaf. She amassed a string of bodybuilding titles, even making the top three at the Ms. International/Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic in 1991. She became “Siren” after a stunning audition, pounding out 57 pushups in 60 seconds, a nearly unprecedented feat. She came to A.G. replacing the second Lace.

 

The audience adored Siren and would stomp their feet and wave hands instead of shouts so she could appreciate their praise. Sadly, a suicide attempt in 2008 proved fatal, and she died at 39.

Lace (the Second)

Real Name: Natalie Lennox

Years Active: 1992-1993

Est. Net Worth: $400,000*

Natalie Lennox played the second iteration of the two Gladiators known as Lace. The former Playboy model and actress auditioned as a Contender in the 1992 season but so impressed the show’s production crew that she found herself installed as Lace. It was her only season with the fitness game show leaving Siren to take her place. That same year, Lace was named “Pet of the Month” by Penthouse magazine.

 

These days she owns and operates a Florida horse farm. Impressively, she snagged the 2014 NPC Orlando Europa Show of Champions bodybuilding competition at the age of 48.

Rhino

Real name: Mark Smith

Years Active: 1995-2000

Est. net Worth: $17 million

It only took Rhino six months of training before clinching his first bodybuilding win as a young lad. He went on to win practically every British weightlifting contest including London Men’s Heavyweight. Agile and spry on his feet, Rhino dazzled fans with slick dance moves and a charismatic personality. They cheered him on as he went undefeated in Gauntlet, Whiplash, and Suspension Bridge. The 2000 Springbok Challenge 2 was his final ITV competition.

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His Gladiator moniker collided with his acting career when he voiced Officer McHorn, an animated rhinoceros in Disney’s Zootropolis (2016). These days he’s a movie star living in L.A.

Dynamite

Real name: Vladimir Turchinsky

Years Active: 1994-1996

Est. net Worth: Unavailable

This strongman set a Guinness Book of World Records pulling a 20-ton double-decker bus with one hand. Apparently, lifting a 3.5-ton elephant was too easy. Dynamite was small for a Gladiator, clocking in at 5’10” and 250 pounds, but he was formidable. The professional Russian athlete was president of the Russian Federation of Strength Athletes and set records in strength and sport as a Champion of Soviet Union.

 

Tragedy struck. In 2009, a heart attack ended Vladimir Turchinsky’s spectacular life. He was 47 years old and survived by his wife Irina and two children.

Thunder

Real name: William “Billy” Smith

Years Active: 1990-1992

Est. net Worth: Unavailable

Thunder, an all-sports athlete in high school, found his calling as a weightlifter. Competing in bodybuilding, Billy Smith clinched over 25 titles during his 16-year world tour. In 1984, he won Gold’s Classic. Trying out for Gladiators, he landed an alternate spot. As fate would have it, an injury opened up an official Gladiator position for him. Dubbed “Thunder,” Smith made a booming impression roaring into the Arena on a Harley.

 

After two seasons, Smith developed a sports nutrition company in hopes of aiding his brother with Type 1 Diabetes. He is now president, CEO, and founder of Intrafit Enterprises.

Vulcan John Seru

Real name: John Seru

Years Active: 1995-1996 & 1998-1999

Est. net worth: $1 – $5 million

Clinching the Australian Heavyweight Pro-Wrestling Champion title, this Fiji-born athlete’s career in American pro wrestling was launched. Vulcan, the burly bad-boy personality fans loved to heckle in the pro wrestling ring, was cheered wildly on the Gladiator stage. He joined Australian Gladiators in 1995. His favorite contest was Duel. A darling with U.K. fans, Vulcan soon became a British Gladiator in 1998.

 

Seru’s still training. He has been keeping fit and managing his own gym in Sydney for over 18 years. He hit it big snagging a role as henchman Gabor in Bond movie “The World Is Not Enough.”

Trojan

Real name: Mark Griffin

Years Active: 1993-1996

Est. net worth: $100,000

Squash superstar Mark Giffin turned to bodybuilding and then Hollywood. He appeared in films “Dr. Doolittle 2,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Doctor Who,” “Daddy Day Care,” and “Dragons of Camelot.” He authored My Life with the Gladiators in 1995 while competing on American Gladiators. After three seasons of arduous competition, Trojan turned to showbiz to pursue acting dreams.

 

Opportunity knocked when he was cast to play the lead in Action Man, and he starred on the television series for its two seasons. These days he lives in Los Angeles and has shifted his focus to stage productions.

Falcon

Real name: Bernadette Hunt

Years Active: 1993-1999

Est. net Worth: Unavailable

Fan-favorite Falcon was known for more than her holdover ’80s hairdo. Outside the Arena, she was adored for her kindness toward fans and her dedication to charitable causes. Inside the Arena, she was a formidable force, earning Falcon the nickname “Dark Angel.” Trained as a dancer at the London Contemporary Ballet School, a back injury derailed her studies.

 

She shifted to training as an aerobics teacher and competing in bodybuilding contests. After eight series with Gladiators, Hunt returned to teaching fitness classes, currently at Basingstoke Sports Centre. She has two children.

Jade

Real Name: Kimberly Rogers

Years Active: 1996-1998

Est. Net Worth: $30,000*

Jade got into bodybuilding while serving six years in the U.S. Army as Sergeant Kimberly Rogers. Exceptionally athletic, she was the only girl on the high school boys’ soccer team. Jade left the military to study for a bachelor’s degree, and that’s when she snagged the A.G. gig. It was 1996, and Rogers was trying out to be a Contender.

 

Landing a spot on the team as Jade, she stayed with the show for the duration. She was a formidable force in the Powerball competition. Now she stays competitive as a signing agent, holding her own in the throes of the real estate market.

Contender

Real name: Marc Ortega

Years Active: 1992

Est. net Worth: Unavailable

Call him a lowly Contender, but Marc Ortega’s Season 3 American Gladiator Grand Champion win in 1992 was legendary. Some say it was the most definitive, the most iconic, American Gladiator moment ever. Hardcore AG fans still rave about it. At the end of the race, Ortega threw his body over the line for a photo finish in the Eliminator event, narrowly defeating champion Joseph “Bam Bam” Mauro.

 

Ortega, who was a chiropractic student when he tried out for the show, was chosen as one of 48 contestants from a pool of 10,000 athletes. Since then, Ortega has left the limelight behind him.

Turbo

Real Name: Galen Tomlinson

Years Active: 1990-1996, 1996-1998

Est. Net Worth: $200,000*

With his handsome good looks and ability to go from zero to hundred, Galen “Turbo” Tomlinson was the stuff producers dream of. Tomlinson appeared on the show from 1990-1996, then again from 1996-1998. When he tried out for the show, the young hopeful had never even seen an episode, but he didn’t let that stop him. Now, Tomlinson lives in Southern California, where he is the head coach and director of the Coast North County Volleyball Club.

 

No one is as well-versed in the sport as him, with two decades teaching under his belt. His niece Carli went on to play professionally in Italy.

Contender

Real name: Peggy Odita

Years Active: 1989, 1992 & 1994

Est. net Worth: Unavailable

The prize money drew worldwide heptathlete Peggy Odita to American Gladiators. The accomplished athlete was at Stanford on a sports scholarship when she first heard of A.G. Defeating a Gladiator would be a breeze, she thought. The Season 5 Grand Champion said it was way tougher than she expected. “The Gladiators didn’t play,” she said. “The games were extremely physical, and it was a good day when someone didn’t have to go to the hospital.”

 

Next, Odita starred in Gladiators 2000, a kid show spin-off, presiding as narrator and referee. Post-Gladiators, Odita devotes her time to her family and two children.

Sky

Real Name: Shirley Eson-Korito

Years Active: 1992-1996

Est. Net Worth: $500,000*

At 6’3,” Shirley Eson-Korito’s height shoots up to the stars. Sky is the tallest and strongest female Gladiator and a daunting opponent. She joined the show with the American Gladiators Live Tour and served as Sky until the final season. She got into modeling and bodybuilding as a young teen and placed well in several championships, notably, World Gym Classic in 1990. Part of her weight training regimen included long-distance cycling.

 

In 2016, Eson-Korito went back to competitive bodybuilding. These days, she and her husband own a pet care facility in Florida.

Warrior

Real name: Michael Ahearne

Years Active: 1993-1997

Est. net Worth: Unavailable

Warrior was a U.K. original Gladiator. His mighty presence on six series of Gladiators was daunting. Quite literally. He weighed 291 pounds, the heaviest of any competitor. He was toughest in Tilt and Powerball. Rugby was Ahearne’s sport of choice. It led to bodybuilding and winning more than 15 titles. The former bodybuilder and night club bouncer hit a legal snag in 1997.

 

Convicted of money laundering, he spent some time in the slammer. After an appeal shortened his sentence, he opened a gym and tried his hand at an acting career.

Diesel

Real name: Darren “Daz” Crawford

Years Active: 1998

Est. net Worth: $18 million

Daz Crawford ranked 10th in the world as an amateur heavyweight boxer. The lad from Liverpool also led the pack as a martial arts contender, winning the RAF championship three times. England invited him to the Seoul Olympics for basketball. The incredible athlete’s Hollywood ambitions found him studying acting in England. Movies, modeling, television, and, of course, Gladiators followed. Daz starred as the villain in The World is Not Enough James Bond movie and with Wesley Snipes in Blade 2.

 

He competed on the very popular British Gladiators television adaptation of the original American version in series seven and eight.

Gold

Real name: Tonya Knight

Years: 1990-1992

Est. net worth: $250,000

Tonya Knight discovered weightlifting in high school. Bodybuilding was huge in the ’80s, and many Gladiators embraced the sport. After winning national and international bodybuilding competitions, Gold clocked in as one of the top professional female bodybuilders in the world. She was a formidable competitor when she first threw her hat into the American Gladiators contest. A knee injury kicked her off the show.

 

Now the IFBB Professional Bodybuilder is a licensed cosmetologist and a proud mother to her 15-year-old son Malachi. Atlas’ twin brother, John Poteat, is dad. Knight’s motto is, “Train hard, win easy!”

Vogue

Real name: Suzanne Cox

Years Active: 1995-200 & 2009

Est. net Worth: Unavailable

Backflipping into the Arena to the tune of Madonna’s “Vogue,” this fan-favorite started out as a gymnast at a youth club. Suzanne Cox also excelled at track and field and aerobic competition. In aerobic competition, she made U.K. Champion 1991 through 1994 and was ranked 7th in 1993 at the World International Championships in Las Vegas.

 

Together with Gladiators Saracen and Panther, Cox runs a fashion retail shop called COR. She also records fitness videos. She and her husband, 1997 Gladiators Quarter-Finalist Mark Roberts share two children.

Flame

Real name: Linda Byrnes

Years Active: 1995-1996

Est. net Worth: Unavailable

As an IFBB Miss Australia Heavyweight, Flame crushed the Strongest Women competition record, and she’s still winning contests. These days, she hits the gym five days a week and works as a personal trainer and a fully accredited financial planner.

 

She humiliated financier David Koch in a televised arm-wrestling match on the Australian T.V. show ” Where are They Now?” Later, Flame assuaged his ego saying, “He was tough . . . not at all easy to beat.” Prior to her bodybuilding career, Byrnes was an Advanced Life Support officer in the all-male Rescue Squad. Flame’s a natural when it comes to emasculating men.

Viper

Real name: Scott “Chuck” Berlinger

Years Active: 1991-1993

Est. net Worth: Unavailable

All-State athlete in swimming and a formidable force in water polo, wrestling, and football, Scott Berlinger’s natural athleticism sparkled since childhood. He took on weightlifting at college while working on a marketing degree. Winning the Mr. USC Bodybuilding title, he was grabbed by American Gladiators for seasons three and four. He rocked it at Hang Tough and Powerball.

 

Viper grabbed tons of attention when he ripped up a fan sign: “Viper Needs a Diaper.” His bad-boy image smacked headfirst into reality in 2014. Cycling too fast in Central Park, he “flattened” a fellow triathlete and she nailed him with a lawsuit.

Elektra Salina Bartunek

Real Name: Salina Bartunek

Years Active: 1992-1993

Est. Net Worth: $350,000*

Elektra got her start on the A.G. Live Tour as “Shadow.” Making it to the series, she debuted in 1992 as Elektra on Season 4 of American Gladiators. As a nationally ranked gymnast with titles in speed-climbing and dance and acrobatics, Elektra made it look easy. However, in the Hang Tough event, she broke her nose by taking down a fellow contender. Fluid in many fields, Bartunek is a professional dancer and choreographer, a sports model, and a Broadway star.

 

She’s a fitness instructor at AntiGravityFitness.com and a competitive rock climber. Still not impressed? She speaks five languages: Italian French, Spanish, German, English, and she also knows ASL.

Diamond

Real Name: Erika Andersch

Years Active: 1990-1993

Est. Net Worth: $25,000*

This German-born Gladiator boasted diamond-cut muscles forged from training as a bodybuilder for many years. Erika Andersch excelled at many sports but got hooked on bodybuilding and eventually won the New England Bodybuilding Championship in 1988. As a Gladiator, Breakthrough was Diamond’s best event, and she brought it for two seasons of A.G.

 

She appeared on T.V. and in movies and starred as The Knifethrower Dame in “Batman Returns.” She was also featured in Playboy. These days she’s a personal coach in Southern California.

Jazz (the Second)

Real Name: Victoria Gay

Years Active: 1993-1996

Est. Net Worth: $45,000*

Victoria Gay was a 1984 Olympic contender. By 1986, she took on bodybuilding, winning several cup competitions. When she tried out as an A.G. Contender, she found herself invited back to be a Gladiator. Taking the name Jazz, she would become the fiercest, most tenacious Gladiator to compete. She showcased her aggressive and speedy style for three seasons of American Gladiator.

 

The Joust event was her favorite. Coming on board for Season 5, Jazz went on to do a Live show and International Gladiators. She passed her athleticism down to her son Barry Bowman who played basketball at Southwestern Louisiana.

Hawk

Real Name: Lee Reherman

Years Active: 1993-1996

Est. Net Worth: $50,000*

Lee Reherman played football at Cornell University and tried out with the Miami Dolphins as an offensive lineman. He earned an MBA at the UCLA business school and was working on a doctorate in economics when his television career kicked off. He appeared in several movies and television shows but hit it big as Hawk. He also enamored audiences performing in two series of International Gladiators.

 

Hawk went on to do even more television and film. Reherman was living in Manhattan Beach when, sadly, he died at 49 due to complications of a hip replacement surgery.

Sahara

Real name: Christy Skoglund

Years Active: 1995, 1997 & 1999-2001

Est. net Worth: Unavailable

This South African Gladiator was an original of both South Africa’s MTN Gladiators and England’s International Gladiators. Both shows hosted an arena for Sahara, Queen of the Desert. The athletic prodigy also modeled professionally. Always a beloved contender at her home stadium in South Africa, fans were devastated when the news hit the Telly.

 

The tall blonde Gladiator suffered a brain aneurism at the gym while working out. It took her life four days later. Skoglund was just 33 years old and at the peak of her career.

Bullit

Real name: Mike Harvey

Years Active: 1993 & 2008

Est. net Worth: Unavailable

Mike Harvey was a special ops underwater warfare expert trained by the Royal Navy before becoming the Gladiator known as Bullit. Agile, reliable, and quick as lightning, Bullit shined at Atlaspheres in the 1993 Live show. He proved his strength by winning two bodybuilding titles in 1990. His celebrity son MC Harvey of So Solid Crew was a Gladiator too.

 

Watching his son compete inspired Bullit to get back to the Arena for the 2008 Gladiators Legends 2 episode. Mike Harvey is also an actor who has been in Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels 2 and Ghost in the Darkness.

Zodiac

Real name: Kate Staples

Years Active: 1993-1996

Est. net Worth: Unavailable

Kate Staples holds numerous athletic accolades. Ranked 9th in the world for pole vaulting, she broke 29 British and Commonwealth records. Staples won the AAA pole vault championship in Germany. Gladiator Zodiac was a tough competitor whose agility and quickness glittered in Skytrak, Pyramid, and Hang Tough. Yet, by far, Pendulum was Zodiac’s strength.

 

A serious neck injury in the 1996 Gladiators series led to surgery that was thankfully successful. Needless to say, it ended her career. Her daughter Ella’s dad is Gladiator Trojan and she has two children with former husband rugby player Chris Sheasby.

Atlas Philip Dow Poteat

Real Name: Philip Dow Poteat

Years Active: 1992-1993

Est. Net Worth: $200,000*

Atlas joined the show in Season 4. Though he only competed for one season, he was a crowd favorite who dominated The Human Cannonball and The Maze events. Overall, The Powerball match was his favorite contest. Philip Poteat’s television aspirations included appearing on Silk Stalkings and The Ben Stiller Show.

 

He loved acting and also appeared in the movie “The Naked Truth.” His twin brother John Poteat was a Gladiator too. Unfortunately, the man who brought Atlas to life passed away in 2017 when he was just 50 years old.

Titan

Real name: David Nelson

Years Active: 1989

Est. net Worth: $2 million

Titan the Gladiator had a short but memorable stint. As a very aggressive competitor, he excelled in Powerball and Human Cannonball. His temper may have ended it for him after Season 1. Tough as nails, he came to A.G. from the NFL. The Vikings signed him in 1984. He made many television and commercial appearances.

 

He filled roles in “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” “Martin,” and “Sister, Sister,” as well as a part in a Wyclef Jean music video. Retuning to bodybuilding in 1998, he clinched the sixth place in the Super-Heavyweight NPC USA Championship in Las Vegas.

Storm

Real Name: Debbie Clark

Years Active: 1991-1993

Est. Net Worth: $5,000*

Debbie Clark took American Gladiators by storm in 1991. The talented track and field athlete trained as an Olympic hopeful at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado. Assistant producer Gary Parker scouted her out and recruited aggressively, naming her Storm for ‘blowing them all away.’ With a degree in psychology and a certificate in culinary arts, she went with showbiz. Tragically, in 2008, Clark found herself homeless with her son.

 

Fleeing domestic violence, she had nowhere else to go and lived at a shelter. A fundraising effort led by celebrities freed her. She got an apartment and free knee surgery; now, she’s an advocate for the homeless.

Rebel

Real Name: Mark Tucker

Years Active: 1993-1994

Est. Net Worth: $1.2 million*

Football was Mark Tucker’s sport. Out of USC, he signed with the Colts and played six seasons, exiting the NFL with the Saints. Tucker then went on to play ten more seasons with the AFL. He even did some coaching. Working out at the USC weights room one day, he ran into Gladiators Sky and Turbo. They recruited him as an alternate participant, and he qualified for the show in the middle of Season 5.

 

As it goes, Sky named him “Rebel” because that’s how he looked. As a Gladiator, Rebel dominated in Joust, Powerball, and Atlaspheres.

Lightning

Real name: Kim Betts

Years Active: 1992-1999 & 2008

Est. net Worth: Unavailable

Undefeated in the U.K. arena, Lightning is also the longest-serving Gladiator. After all those years, she had only one defeat at the first of the Australian Ashes series. In 1999, after seven years of dominating, she delivered a baby boy and was back at the Gladiators arena just three weeks later. She is one tough competitor. Originally, from age six, Lighting was a gymnast. Most recently, she rejoined fellow Gladiators for the Legends specials in 2008.

 

Now 48, Betts is a successful businesswoman in property development and runs a beauty parlor. Betts also presented a children’s T.V. show on BFBS.

Laser

Real Name: Jim Starr

Years Active: 1989-96

Est. Net Worth: $750,000*

Jim Starr was a bodybuilder and NFL player before taking the American Gladiator challenge. He played for the Los Angeles Rams in 1987 after having won the Mr. Montana bodybuilder title in 1986. A football injury, by coincidence, introduced him to the show. During his off time, a chance meetup with Gladiator Dan “Nitro” Clark led him to American Gladiators. Score! Starr competed in all seven seasons and held the title for the longest-serving male Gladiator.

 

Unfortunately, he also holds the record for the most injuries. Now he owns Sports Nutrition Consulting Group and is a director at Life Time Fitness.

Sunny

Real name: Cheryl Baldinger

Years Active: 1989

Est. net Worth: Unavailable

Sunny was one of the six original American Gladiators. The 6’2″ bundle of strength and beauty presented a dominating force. She came to the show as a competitive swimmer and a model. A knee injury in the semi-final episode of Season 1 derailed Baldinger’s Gladiator aspirations. Falling from a high platform while fighting Tracy Phillips in the Conquer event ended it.

 

That’s when Jade was called in to replace Sunny. After AG, she turned to acting, modeling, art, and competitive bike riding.

Cyclone Barry Turner

Real name: Barry Turner

Years Active: 1992-1993

Est. net worth: $600,000 – $1 million

Selected from an open casting call in 1992, Barry Turner rose above more than 300 elite athletes to be dubbed Gladiator Cyclone, named for his speed and size. Turner said it was the “single greatest accomplishment in my professional life.” He stepped down after an injured bicep forced him out but picked up movie parts in “Death Becomes Her” and “The Bodyguard.”

 

These days he’s running a protein snack company featuring healthy cookies, muffins, and other baked goods. He co-founded the business with his buddy Barry Graham and served as its CEO.