Date of Birth : 25 August 1949, Tirat Carmel, Israel
Birth Name : Chaim Weitz
Nickname: Gene the Nazarene (from a former road manager who once worked for KISS) Genie
Heightb: 6' 2" (1.88 m)
Best known as the fire breathing, blood splitting and larger than life co-founder of hard rock supergroup, KISS. Simmons was actually born Chaim Witz in Haifa, Israel in August, 1949 of Hungarian background and moved to New York as a young child. Like many American teenagers of the 1960s, he was influenced by a fascination with comic book super heroes, monster movies and rock and roll music, thus the teenage Simmons set about creating what he perceived as the ultimate music supergroup.gene simmons and shannon tweed split gene simmons wife gene simmons kiss gene simmons costume gene simmons family jewels gene simmons son.
Simmons eventually crossed paths with like minded musician / songwriter Paul Stanley (born Stanley Eisen) in the early 1970s, and after several failed attempts to create their dream band, they recruited fellow New Yorkers spaced out guitarist Ace Frehley (born Paul Daniel Frehley) and "do anything to make it" drummer Peter Criss (born Peter Crisscuola).
The four struggling young musicians practiced relentlessly in a rundown loft in New York City refining their music & stage show before eventually launching themselves on the New York live music scene in the early 1970s with their blitzkrieg style of hard rock, kabuki stage make up and unforgettable high energy performances. After bombarding media, TV & public relations identities with invites to their shows, Simmons and Stanley soon brokered a deal with Madison Ave executive Bill Aucoin for him to manage the band, and Aucoin soon scored KISS a record deal with the fledgling Casablanca Records & Filmworks.....and the rest as they say is KISStory!
Since their first album debuted in 1974, KISS have sold over 80 million albums and played over 2,000 shows to millions of loyal fans (known as the KISS Army) right around the globe. Never one to keep still for too long, the charismatic Simmons made his first feature film appearance as his alter ego (The Demon from KISS) in the 1978 telemovie KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park (1978) (TV), which received scathing reviews in the USA from TV critics. However KISS fans internationally loved the film and it played theatrically to strong box office business in dozens of countries, and has since become something of a cult film....despite it's corny, cartoonish plot! Since KISS didn't drop wearing their distinctive make up until 1983, it was several years before Simmons appeared in front of the cameras again (this time without the Demon make up), as an evil techno-junkie killer battling Tom Selleck in the thriller Runaway (1984). Simmons has since continued to turn up in low key roles in B-grade thrillers such as Wanted: Dead or Alive (1986) and Red Surf (1990) that utilize his ability to glower and look menacingly into the camera. In addition, Simmons has appeared in minor guest roles in several TV crime shows including "Miami Vice", "Millenium" and most recently in "Third Watch".
Musician, entertainer. Born Chaim Witz on August 25, 1949 in Haifa, Israel. His mother, Flora, was a Hungarian Jew and Holocaust survivor, who watched her family die in the concentration camps when she was only 14 years old. After the end of World War II, Flora headed to Israel. It was there that she met carpenter Yeichel Witz, the man who would eventually become Chaim's father.
Yeichel and Flora's marriage began to dissolve shortly after Chaim's birth, mainly over arguments about money. Eventually, Chaim's parents agreed to separate, with Yeichel leaving for Tel Aviv to look for work. The family would never reunite, and Chaim would not see his father again.
Chaim's mother began raising him alone, and the family continued struggling in poverty. Flora found work in a coffee shop, and often left Chaim in the care of babysitters. As a result, he quickly became fluent in Turkish, Hungarian, Hebrew and Spanish, in order to communicate with caregivers.
In 1958, when Chaim was eight years old, he and his mother immigrated to New York to live with relatives in Flushing, Queens. After entering the country, Chaim changed his name to Gene, because it was easier to pronounce, and took his mother's surname of Klein. Gene quickly learned English through comic books and television, and entered the Hasidic theological seminary, called yeshiva, at the age of nine. He studied rigorously while his mother worked at a button factory in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
After a year in the yeshiva, he transferred to public school in Jackson Heights. It was during this time that he began to develop an interest in music. In his autobiography, Kiss and Make-up, Simmons admits his musical interests came while watching the Beatles on television one night. He thought "If I go start a band, maybe the girls will scream at me." So, while attending Joseph Pulitzer Middle School, Simmons and a couple of friends created a band called The Missing Links in order to get the attention of their female classmates. The group, fronted by Simmons, won a school talent show, and gave Simmons a modicum of fame.
This led to a series of bands for Simmons, including Long Island Sounds and Rising Sun. Simmons maintained dreams of stardom, but he also didn't want to disappoint his mother, who urged him to get his college degree. So, after high school, Simmons headed to Sullivan County Community College to get his associate's degree in education. After spending two years there, he returned to New York City to attend Richmond College and finish up his bachelor's degree.
Shortly after graduation in 1970, Simmons' bandmate and childhood friend Steve Coronel introduced Simmons to guitarist Stanley Eisen (later known as Paul Stanley). Stanley decided to join Simmons and Coronel's band, Wicked Lester, and the group began experiencing some success on the nightclub circuit. But the band wasn't pulling in enough money and, to support his musical aspirations, Simmons held a brief stint as a sixth grade teacher in Spanish Harlem, followed by a job as an assistant at the Puerto Rican Interagency Council. Other odd jobs including time at the Kelly Agency as a temp, work as a deli cashier, a role as an assistant at Glamour and, a job at Vogue as an assistant to editor Kate Lloyd.