'American Gladiator' Lee Reherman, 'The Hawk,' dies at 49

Story highlights

  • Lee Reherman was a mainstay on "American Gladiators"
  • After the show ended, the Ivy League grad turned to acting and producing

(CNN)Lee Reherman, an athlete and producer known as "The Hawk" on the syndicated competition show "American Gladiators," has died. He was 49.

Reherman was found by his girlfriend at his Manhattan Beach, California, home early Tuesday, said his manager, Kathy Carter.
    "He was such a light of sunshine, always positive in good and bad times," she said. "He had so many fans, not just of Hawk or his Disney shows but just life fans. You can't forget Lee Reherman. ... He was one of my best friends."
    She said he was in great health and would have celebrated his 50th birthday July 4.
    Reherman, who played football at Cornell University, joined "Gladiators" in 1993, leaving a job as a graduate instructor at UCLA and the pursuit of his Ph.D., according to his biography at Carter's agency, The Carter Creative. As "The Hawk," he was a popular attraction, competing in such events as Powerball and Breakthrough & Conquer on the 1990s program.
    He also took part in the "Gladiators 2000" show in 1995.
    After "Gladiators," Reherman worked regularly as an actor, host and producer. He had parts in such shows as "The X-Files," "NCIS," "Chuck" and "The First Family."
    He also hosted "Hot Rod TV" on Speed.
    As a producer, Reherman oversaw the "American Veteran Awards," episodes of the TV series "Arena" and "Forza Motorsports Showdown." At the time of his death, he was working on "The League," a documentary about football in the Ivy League.
    The Manhattan Beach Police Department said there were no suspicious circumstances observed and no foul play suspected. An autopsy is pending.