American Gladiators ‘Curse’ Where Star Was Murdered And Two Others Died

In the early 90s, the world was captivated by the unique athletic competition series “American Gladiators.” With its neon-clad, musclebound competitors battling it out on intense obstacle courses, it quickly became must-see TV. However, behind the scenes, a dark cloud seemed to follow many of the stars. 

From an unsolved murder case to untimely deaths, the “American Gladiators Curse” left a chilling mark on the lives of these reality show contestants and bodybuilders/athletes. Let’s dive into this bizarre series of tragic events.

The Mysterious Murder of Lee Reherman (American Gladiators Star)

The Mysterious Murder of Lee Reherman (American Gladiators Star)

Lee Reherman, known as the “Hawk” on American Gladiators, was one of the show’s most popular and recognizable faces. With his chiseled physique and intense demeanor, he embodied the very essence of the gladiator spirit. Tragically, in 2015, Reherman’s life was cut short when he was shot and killed by an unknown assailant at a hostel in Manhattan Beach, California.

The details surrounding his murder remain shrouded in mystery. Reherman, who was 49 at the time, had been living at the hostel while pursuing acting opportunities in Hollywood. On the fateful night, a gunman opened fire, striking Reherman and leaving him to bleed out before fleeing the scene. The motive behind the attack remains unknown, and the case remains unsolved to this day, leaving the Gladiators community and Reherman’s loved ones grasping for answers.

Reherman’s untimely death sent shockwaves through the tight-knit American Gladiators family. As one of the show’s most recognizable faces, he had inspired countless fans with his athleticism and determination. His murder not only robbed the world of a talented athlete but also left a lingering sense of unease, fueling the notion of a “curse” surrounding the series.

The Untimely Deaths of Other American Gladiators Stars

Tragically, Lee Reherman was not the only American Gladiators star to meet an untimely end. The series seemed plagued by a string of premature deaths, adding to the eerie “curse” narrative.

Mitch Gaylord (Cause: Lymphoma in 2004)

Mitch Gaylord, known as the “Malibu” on the show, was a former Olympic gymnast and one of the most accomplished athletes to grace the American Gladiators arena. With his incredible strength and agility, Gaylord quickly became a fan favorite, showcasing his skills on various obstacle courses.

However, in 2004, at the young age of 44, Gaylord lost his battle with lymphoma, a form of cancer that affects the immune system. His untimely passing left the Gladiators community in mourning, as they remembered not only his athletic prowess but also his warm and charismatic personality.

Steve Henneberry/British Bulldog (Cause: Undisclosed in 2010)

Another tragic loss for the American Gladiators family came in 2010 when Steve Henneberry, also known as the “British Bulldog,” passed away at the age of 51. Henneberry, a former professional wrestler, brought his larger-than-life personality and impressive physicality to the Gladiators arena, quickly becoming a fan favorite.

While the exact cause of Henneberry’s death remains undisclosed, his passing at a relatively young age only added to the growing narrative surrounding the “Gladiators Curse.” Fans and fellow Gladiators alike were left to mourn the loss of yet another iconic figure from the series.

Other Misfortunes and Controversies

The untimely deaths of Reherman, Gaylord, and Henneberry were not the only tragedies to befall the American Gladiators cast. Many other stars faced legal issues, injuries, and personal struggles that seemed to reinforce the idea of a “curse” surrounding the show.

Cheryl Wilson/JasmineArrested for domestic abuse, lost custody of her children
Shelley Beattie/SirenStruggled with bipolar disorder and homelessness
Billy Smith/ThunderDied due to complications from knee surgery
Shannon Hall/DallasHad her driving license suspended, multiple arrests
Debbie Clark/StormExperienced domestic abuse, became a homeless refugee
Marisa Pare/LanceArrested on drug charges, battled addiction

While some may argue that these misfortunes were mere coincidences or the result of the demanding nature of their roles, the sheer number of tragedies and controversies surrounding the American Gladiators cast seemed statistically anomalous. It fueled the belief in a “curse” among fans and pop culture enthusiasts alike.

Investigating the “Curse” – Fact or Coincidence?

As the narrative of the “American Gladiators Curse” gained traction, it became a subject of much debate and speculation. On one hand, it’s important to rationalize that many of the Gladiators pursued careers with inherent risks, such as professional bodybuilding, wrestling, and stunt work. The physical toll of these professions, coupled with the intense training and competitions required for the show, could potentially contribute to long-term health issues and injuries.

“Being a Gladiator was no walk in the park. We pushed our bodies to the absolute limit, day in and day out. The wear and tear was immense, both physically and mentally.” – Lori Fetrick, former Gladiator “Lace”

However, the sheer number of untimely deaths and misfortunes affecting the cast cannot be easily dismissed as mere coincidence. Statistically, the occurrence of multiple murders, suicides, and premature deaths among a relatively small group of individuals raises questions about the validity of the “curse” narrative.

Furthermore, the psychological impact of such a narrative cannot be underestimated. Once the idea of a “curse” takes hold in the public consciousness, it can become a self-perpetuating cycle, with each new tragedy further reinforcing the belief and potentially influencing the behavior and mindset of those affected.

In the end, the debate over the “American Gladiators Curse” remains open to interpretation. While some may chalk it up to a series of unfortunate coincidences, others cannot help but wonder if there was a darker force at play, casting a shadow over the lives of these once-revered reality stars.


As we reflect on the legacy of American Gladiators, it’s impossible to ignore the tragic events that have overshadowed its glory days. From the unsolved murder of Lee Reherman to the untimely deaths of Mitch Gaylord and Steve Henneberry, the “Gladiators Curse” has left an indelible mark on the show’s history.

While some may argue that these tragedies were merely coincidental, the sheer number of misfortunes and controversies surrounding the cast cannot be easily dismissed. Whether one believes in the supernatural or not, the “Gladiators Curse” has become an inextricable part of the series’ pop culture legacy.

As fans and newcomers alike revisit the thrilling spectacle of American Gladiators, they cannot help but be confronted with the dark undercurrent that plagued its stars. The allure of the neon-clad warriors and the cash prize they competed for will forever be tinged with the somber reality of the tragedies that followed.

Perhaps, in the future, a Netflix documentary or an unauthorized tell-all will shed further light on the “Gladiators Curse,” offering closure and understanding to those who were touched by this bizarre phenomenon. Until then, the memory of American Gladiators will remain a complex tapestry of athleticism, entertainment, and a lingering sense of unease that continues to captivate and haunt us.

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