May 1, 2001

Cornellian in The X Files

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If members of Cornell’s Class of 1988 were watching The X-Files this Sunday night, they likely did a double-take when they saw their classmate, Lee Reherman ’88, appear on the hit Fox series.

Reherman, a communication major as well as an All-American offensive lineman and captain of the football team while at Cornell, starred with Robert Patrick and David Duchovny on Sunday’s episode. The Chi Psi fraternity alumnus played the role of Yuri Volkoff, a officer on an oil rig who appears human, but becomes an alien when another character vomits alien oil into his mouth.

According to Reherman, his experience acting in the series was as unique as the storyline.

“David Duchovny is a pretty docile, normal guy,” he said. “But Robert Patrick — from Terminator 2 — is a real guy’s guy. During this scene where we were jumping out of a helicopter, the two of us kept re-enacting a similar helicopter scene from Apocalypse Now, complete with background music. Until, of course, the helicopter pilot finally told us to shut up.”

Reherman’s appearance on The X-Files is a far stretch from his original career goals. In addition to playing for the Miami Dolphins and receiving an MBA in finance from UCLA, he is well known throughout the world as The Hawk, an American Gladiator.

“Being an American Gladiator started simply as a great summer job for me — a big, meaty kid who liked to beat on people,” Reherman said.

However, a brief summer job stint soon turned into a profitable career in the entertainment industry as he went on to appear in various television shows, including a recurring role on NBC’s Caroline in the City.

“I really never pursued acting,” Reherman said, who had planned to complete his Ph.D. in economics at UCLA’s Anderson School. “But more and more opportunities as playing a big guy who beats people up just happened to present themselves.”

Reherman’s success has afforded him the opportunity to “reach a level where I can be creative with the types of projects that I do.”

Such artistic freedom has led Reherman in the direction of hosting television specials such as CBS’s Rollerjam.

Most recently, he has been pursuing a career in sports broadcasting. Three weeks ago, he completed his first season as a broadcaster for the XFL, NBC and WWF’s new professional Xtreme Football League.

“My experience as a communication major at Cornell definitely prepared me for my present position in the entertainment field,” Reherman said. “There’s a false pretense that everyone in this business is automatically a moron, which is true in the case of some people who are not prepared for the pitfalls of becoming a marketed entity. But I think my education absolutely prepared me.”

Reherman is currently preparing for a role on another successful sci-fi drama, the WB’s Angel, in which he will be covered in a blue prosthetic rubber suit to play the role of The Captain, leader of a fighting force that defends a netherworld into which the title character descends.

“After I remove all the blue rubber from my hair, I think I’ll take a vacation,” Reherman said.

Archived article by Hillary Profita