Raye Hoillitt was born on April 17, 1964 in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Hollitt was described as a "jock" in high school, and attended Lake-Lehman High School. She played volleyball and also ran track and field after class.
After graduating from high school in Pennsylvania, she went on to take up bodybuilding. At the time, she weighed 107 pounds and was five feet, seven inches tall. During the day, she worked as a secretary at a local business.
But, at night, she also moonlighted as a bartender. Finding time between these two demanding jobs was tricky, but Hollitt managed to work in time for exercise too.
In 1983, she decided to enter her first bodybuilding competition. She made it all the way to the state championship and placed third overall.
Incredibly, she was able to do this while not only being a part-time bodybuilder, but while also only having trained for a mere three months. Some competitors in the 1983 event may have been a little wary of Hollitt’s chances, but she easily proved them wrong.
Hollitt kept up with her bodybuilding training in 1984 and placed in a number of competitions. She found success at both the Pennsylvania, but wanted to set the bar higher.
What did she do before American Gladiators ?
Her weightlifting success in Pennsylvania inspired Hoilitt to move to Venice, California. At the time, Venice was the capital of bodybuilding. Hollitt managed to find work in the legal field and quickly made friends with some of the best bodybuilders in the world.
She trained hard but her travel budget was limited, so it took her a while before she could land another competition. Starting out at only 107 pounds, Hollitt managed to bulk up to an incredible 170 by the end of three years.
The result of her hard work? A victory in the 1988 L.A. women’s bodybuilding championship. Hollitt started to get noticed too.
Her success in that competition led to a role in a movie called "Skin Deep", where she played a strong and seductive woman in one of the funniest moments in the movie.
While she was happy with her performance, Hollitt felt that she was too big at the time, and decided to cut weight. Eventually, she dropped down to 145 pounds.
Raye Hollitt and American Gladiators?
After her success in the film, Hollitt hired an agent who quickly found her a role for the new show American Gladiators.
American Gladiators was a massive project that found two teams of amateur athletes competing against each other in a series of comical and physical challenges.
The events were inspired by the ancient Roman tradition, but with a modern-day twist. In order to get ready for her debut on American Gladiators, Hollitt spent three months getting into shape for the show.
The show was immensely popular, and also an absolute rating success. Viewers watched in droves as the competitors battled it out for dominance, all for their amusement.
One of the reasons behind the success was her character, Zap. Each contestant had an antagonistic character on the show who was designed to annoy and frustrate them.
Hollitt’s Zap quickly became one of the more popular characters on American Gladiators, which is certainly saying something since she was competing against Ice (Marcie Mahoney) and Nitro (Arthur Williams).
While she enjoyed the fame and popularity that came with the show, Hollitt also noted that the games were not safe and that the filming process was not very fun.
She was given the name Zap and had to film all 26 episodes for the show in a span of 4 weeks, earning just $800 per episode – the union-mandated minimum. After the end of the first season, Hollitt was interested in eventually becoming a host for the show. However, she would later leave to try other ventures.
How many seasons was Zap on American Gladiators?
Zap was active in season one, though later suffered an injury in the second half of the season that caused her to miss some time.
In season two, she left the show in order to have her daughter. She later reappeared on the show and was featured from season three to season six.
At that time, she decided to pose for Playboy but made a final reappearance at the final season.
A desire to act, travel, and spend time raising her family led Hollitt to take time off of the show and eventually leave.
Drugs and Sex On American Gladiators
In a 2008 interview with the New York Daily News, Hollitt said "there were a lot of drugs" involved in American Gladiators. She described at least half of the fellow competitors as being on some kind of painkiller because they often had to go on tour.
During their time on tours, the gladiators also slept around, she said. The gladiators were also tested for steroids regularly, although the results of the tests were never shared with anyone.
Some competitors speculated that this was so the show could say the competitors were tested for steroids, but without having to take any action about it.
When did she pose for Playboy?
Raye Hollitt posed for the February 1996 edition of Playboy magazine, which featured several other celebrities. It also included comic Leslie Neilsen on the front cover, an interview with Bruce Willis, and articles about Michael Jackson and Courtney Love.
What is she doing now?
After appearing on the show, Hollitt opened two gyms in Pennsylvania: The Gym by Raye Hollitt and Powerhouse. She used to train with Shelley Beattie, who was also a gladiator for a time.
Hollitt also continued to act and had guest roles on shows like JAG (1995), Manhunt (2001), and Baywatch (1992). She starred in films like Hot Shots! Part Deux (1993) and The Ode (2008).
She was married to Ted Prior until 1990 and married George Kontaxis in 2007.
She is now married to Kenn Olson and lives in South Lake Tahoe. Aside from her acting and gym pursuits, she travels and spends time with her daughter.
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