A founding member of KISS, one of rock-n-roll's most iconic acts, Gene Simmons was also a master of merchandizing and self-promotion, second to none. Born in Israel but raised in New York City, Simmons and friend Paul Stanley became the nucleus of the face-painted, outlandishly-costumed act later known as KISS in 1973. Dubbed "The Demon," in accordance with his nightmarish stage persona and makeup, the bass player's fire-breathing, blood-spewing onstage antics helped make their concert album Alive! one of the biggest of the 1970s. Related merchandize like KISS comic books, action figures, lunch boxes and even a movie, "KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park" (NBC, 1978) made the group a cottage industry. Although the band's record sales and reputation suffered throughout the 1980s, Simmons balanced his music career with side-jobs acting in films like "Runaway" (1984) and pursuing various business opportunities. Having never regained their former glory after unmasking themselves more than a decade earlier, Simmons joined his original bandmates (once again in full makeup) for a historic, massively successful KISS reunion tour in 1996. In the years that followed the resurgence, he became a staple on reality television, most notably on "Gene Simmons Family Jewels" (A&E, 2006-12), which followed the surprisingly straight-laced life of the rocker, girlfriend Shannon Tweed and their two children. Once considered one of rock's most dangerous men, Simmons ultimately evolved into a shrewd corporate figure head, albeit one who occasionally donned platform boots and devilish face paint.