Numbers Cruncher

updated 10/31/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 10/31/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST

CLARK KENT, BESPECTACLED, mild-mannered reporter, changes costumes—and job descriptions—in a phone booth. Leo Reherman, bespectacled, relatively mild-mannered economist by day, American Gladiators superhero by night, uses his Jeep for the same purpose. "I've had to drive around with four changes of clothes," says the well-muscled 28-year-old, whose nom de tube is Hawk. "I'd wear a T-shirt and shorts for my classes at UCLA. Then I'd have my workout gear for the gym. If I had a business meeting, I'd take along a suit. And then I'd have my Hawk outfit." His Hawk outfit, by the way, isn't anything that Alan Greenspan is likely to show up in any time soon.

Reherman's life was particularly bifurcated in 1993, the year he received his MBA and his first year on Gladiators—a show that pits guys like Hawk against ordinary citizens in quasi-athletic contests. "I'd have a final in derivatives pricing," he says, "and I'd have to hurry so I could shoot tennis balls at contestants." Then there were the times Reherman couldn't keep his personae separated—as at his graduation, which came on a taping day. "I don't know what came over me," he says. "I just threw my robe off, and I'm standing there in my whole Hawk ensemble with my cap and hood on." After a moment of shocked disbelief, his classmates broke out in applause. He's now back at UCLA working on his Ph.D. and crunching numbers for a university think tank that prepared a report on California's economy for President Clinton.

The oldest son of a dentist and a drug-and-alcohol counselor in Louisville, Ky., Reherman competed in football, baseball, basketball and swimming in high school and made the football team at Cornell. He even got a tryout with the Miami Dolphins but was cut during the exhibition season. After working for a sports marketing company for three years, Reherman decided, he says, "that I needed more education" and headed to UCLA for his master's degree. That's where he connected with an agent who steered him into acting—a bit part in The Last Action Hero is his major screen credit—and the Gladiators gig.

"When you're on TV every week," says Reherman, savoring his two lives, "that's a rush. But when you're doing something that is directly impacting aspects of our economy, that's great. The fact that I can do both right now is amazing."

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