I was born on September 4, 1968 at Trumbull Memorial Hospital in Warren, OH . My father owned a landscaping company and eventually dabbled in the import/export business before meeting my mother who, at the time, worked as a cashier. After they eloped to avoid the wrath of my maternal grandfather (who was angered that my dad was nearly 30 years older than his daughter), an accountant left my father flat broke. Never one to give up easily, he took a job at Alcan Aluminum as a metal worker to keep food on the table. Things were so bad, financially, that my parents had to move in with Grandma and Grandpa Lemmon for a while.
In May of 1970, while getting situated into a trailer park, my brother was born. My last memories there were bad experiences in kindergarten . Life at home was fine, but school was close to hell, if not hell itself . I remember getting in trouble for drawing a naked picture of Santa Claus, getting beat up by girls, and experiencing a rupture when some bullies dropped me from a teeter-totter -- it was quite high, I assure you. And let me tell you, I was glad when we bought a house in 1973 in Newton Falls, Ohio 44444 (their town slogan - Newton Falls has ZIP!). My Lemmon Grove stories are based on growing up in Newton Falls .
Life was relatively normal for a kid who wore thick, black-framed glasses and too short plaid pants until 6th grade. With that said, my life has never been normal -- not for a minute. I actually hired a bodyguard using my lunch money just to make it safely from class to class between bells in 8th grade. At age 14, I was asked what I planned to be when I grew up by a science teacher. I said I wanted to be a rock star and he laughed in my face. It didn't stop me; I practiced singing in my room almost all the time and got pretty good too… but I didn't look the part of a rock star. I was skinny. People told me so on a daily basis. Girls I had crushes on said I looked anything but cool.
Don Lemmon & Dave BergmanNear the end of 10th grade, I couldn't take it any longer. After a year of martial arts classes and breaking my wrist the first fight I got into, I broke down and asked a friend to loan me his copy of a bodybuilding book written by Arnold Schwarzenegger. I liked it, but I had to go to an excessive amount of outside sources to get all the information I needed to really get started. Because of that experience, I planned to put together a comprehensive book that contained everything people needed to learn to save everyone else a little time. Unfortunately, I had other interests that required my attention, so I put that particular project off. Hey, give me a break, I was 15!
My primary interests were music, martial arts, weight training, writing stories, making comics, and creating artwork -- not writing fitness books. Besides, I couldn't do all things at once (although I still try multi-tasking to this day). I suspect that this habit of not giving my undivided attention to one project at a time drove my mother nuts. There was so much I wanted from life, but so few options, and no one helping, so I sat down with my English teacher and talked about it. She gave me two books to read: Dune and Catcher in the Rye . These books set the stage for my future. Unfortunately, I didn't read either for 2 more years.
Confused and not sure what I wanted to do after high school was finished, I went and took the ASVAB (military entry exam) so my friend, Rick Bates, could get a bonus at his own enlistment. The problem was that I scored so high, the Army offered me the world to join. This upset my mother because it meant I wasn't going to the Art Institute of Pittsburgh like she had hoped. I have a feeling she didn't see a future in the military for me.
I shaved my head, went to boot camp, and spent my military enlistment enjoying a fair share of ups and downs, such as an unexpected drowning incident where I almost died. I often found myself getting into and out of trouble that was, both, for the better and worse due to my determination to do something useful over those 2 short years as an Airborne Engineer . I say I rebelled because the Army didn't deliver everything it had promised. As usual, I went over everyone's heads in order to do things they failed to provide, and naturally, this did nothing but upset more people than it pleased (read about it in “ Less Than Honorable ”). In January 1989, my stint ended so I got a job at a health club in Fayetteville, NC in order to stay in town for a while, but by February, I was back in Ohio and spent the next two years trying to “find” myself.
I did everything I could to stay sane and afloat there. I tried putting a rock band together, getting into modeling, personal training, school for nutrition ; you name it. I even worked the nightshift at half a dozen different places so that I could have the free time during the day to study and workout . Ohio just wasn't cutting it. I had family in California and dreamed of moving there -- so I did.
When I got to Los Angeles in 1990, it was everything I'd ever imagined. I felt like a kid left alone in a candy store from the first day. Los Angeles offered me everything I ever wanted, but once again, I couldn't decide what it was that I should tackle first -- Gold's Gym, Chippendales, acting, music . Aside from concluding my research on the Food Separation Theory and creating the Economy of Exercise program, I kept myself pretty busy. Like in Ohio, I had a rock band, I did a little acting, I did some personal training, I studied sports medicine, I wrote a fitness manual called “Subscribed Fitness,” and even managed the physical therapy department for one of the heads of the medical board at USC.
My biggest issue with California was handling anxiety over earthquakes. No amount of famous clientele or big paying jobs got me through that. Mid-summer 1992, I had enough of all the ground shaking and headed to Las Vegas … a place I fell more in love with every time I visited it. At the time, they had maybe 100,000 residents and everyone treated you like a local. I spent the better part of the following year working on what was to become Don Lemmon's KNOW HOW thinking I would remain there for the rest of my life.
Come mid-1993, my mother gave me the impression that my father wasn't doing so well at the age of 75, so I packed up and moved back to Ohio for 6 months. I hoped I could be there to help him out if needed -- but he didn't. I packed up and left.
I went back to Vegas where I started personal training clients at Gold's Gym to support my writing habits. Everything was going fantastic! I was busy working at the gym or writing almost non-stop and I even decided to take up bodybuilding for a year and ghost write muscle magazine articles on the side, but that whim ended when I tore my rotator cuff in a freak lifting accident -- my training partner, Dr. Gary Eversole (RIP), dropped a barbell on me. Depressed, I got fat and did nothing productive for months… and in the middle of it all, my father got sick and died.
It took a good year to get over that, but by then, I had become impossible to deal with. I had falling-outs with just about everyone I knew, including a bottle of Jägermeister that talked me into driving over a “Welcome to Las Vegas ” sign one night. I needed a break. It was time to fly to Ohio for another visit. All I had to show for that last year in Vegas was a script called “The Serum” and that wasn't enough to remain in “ Sin City ” for more self-loathing. My June of 1996 visit to Ohio had turned into three full years. I actually got some productive work done there.
In the beginning, a friend of mine decided I should put together a workout video to accompany my book, if I ever finished it. That sounded great; however, she wanted far more than I could offer in return, romantically, and things went sour very fast. My exercise videos were made, but that is another story altogether.
In October of that year, I settled on the name of Don Lemmon's KNOW HOW for my book and not only placed ads in several fitness magazines, but made appearances at several trade shows to promote it. Around this time, I saw a special on television about someone that was supposedly the real Dr. Frankenstein. I became obsessed and my research turned into another project featuring the mysterious Johann Conrad Dippel and his connection to Jack the Ripper.
I opened an office in a gym with a chiropractor that proved to be a mistake for reasons too numerous to mention, so I moved my business into another chiropractic office and worked for the owner as a physical therapist. After a stint at the local hospital, I realized I just couldn't work for other people. It was like being in the Army all over again -- being told what to do, getting to work on time, having to stay late, no appreciation, etc. I finally up and quit. After speaking with a friend named Harold Whiting, I decided to dedicate myself full time to making my internet presence as the #1 Nutritionist available online prominently known, which meant exchanging links with a number of great sites, doing interviews, and writing articles . At first, all I had to offer was a spiral bound version of the Exercise & Nutrition: the TRUTH , but it began selling like hotcakes.
In July of 1999, I headed to Los Angeles, yet again, just in time to help promote Acclaim Labs at the Mr. USA competition. Shortly after leaving, I was given the shaft by my old high school friends who ran the warehouse that distributed my products called the Ohio Bindery. I was tempted to go back to Ohio and set things straight, but I stuck around Hollywood under the advice of my attorney just long enough to be courted for a few film projects.
You might laugh, but I actually ended up back in Vegas by early 2000, and all I did there was party for the first 6 months when I wasn't helping out with the destined-to-fail Weider Awards . And when I say partying, I mean this was a 6-pack night out, 4 times a week -- nothing hardcore. After blowing off some steam, I put out my official log book that eventually became Book Three: Refuse to Fail and made plans to go back to -- you guessed it -- Los Angeles .
Back in Los Angeles -- this time working primarily as a writer, radio show host, media whore, and other such ventures -- I started things off by having my old rock band 's music redone and the story of our being screwed over by a record label shopped around. The CD actually did quite well; we were #1 at MP3.com off and on for a couple months, and that wasn't all. I presented my multi-vitamin and essential oil supplements in August, published the first issue of my entertainment news magazine that September just before 9/11 occurred, wrote several other film scripts including a comedy involving Hollywood vampires in October, filmed a couple of short movies in November, became friends with Blake Kassel of Bodylastics in January, and enjoyed everything about this trip except the death of my father's cousin, Jack.
Nonetheless, I think you know I get bored with my location fairly easily so I moved back to Vegas one last time and spent 2 full years in solitude writing no less than 24 novels. That's no joke, I self published a few of them and I also released “ Book Two: The Ultimate Development ”
In June of 2002, after fighting my way out of a mugging attempt, we took everything we had off our PCs and put it all on laptops. I gave all my novel files to my designer to not only format for print but to keep safe for me and prevent the temptation to make changes. Next, we emptied the office, tore apart our house and gave everything away. I really needed a vacation. It is no exaggeration of the truth to say we gave everything we owned minus what we fit in the trunks of our cars to neighbors, friends, and complete strangers. We wanted to let go of all ties to Vegas completely and we felt that there was no reason to return if you leave nothing behind. My original plan was to travel the U.S. for 6 months, but instead, after we said our goodbyes, he went north and I went back to Los Angeles . Almost as soon as I got to Los Angeles and shortly after my designer made it to his destination, the worst case scenario imaginable occurred. He got robbed and we lost all of my work… every single book I ever wrote, all gone. Not wanting to think about it… well, what am I saying? I didn't think about it and I moved forward.
Within a month, I held a sushi party welcoming me back to Hollywood and invited all sorts of influential people so that I could make as big of a splash as possible. That night, my friend, Playboy Playmate Devin Devasquez, asked me if I wanted to rent a room from her 5,000 sq ft home in the Hollywood Hills. The next day I toured the grounds, accepted her offer, and moved in 7 days later. Two weeks after that, Devin and I took an actress named Asia Carrera to a business lunch. We were supposed to discuss Asia potentially endorsing a product I was putting together. Well, as luck would have it… it didn't work out… and two weeks later, Asia and I began dating. In another two weeks following the beginning of our courtship, we were engaged on Catalina Island . Then six weeks after our engagement, Asia and I, naturally, began cohabitating and in another 6 weeks, we got married in Hawaii … and the honeymoon hasn't ended since then.
It was while there in Hawaii when we got married, I discovered how much Asia loves the islands, so I made an incontrovertible decision -- we were moving to Hawaii . I got us a place by the beach on Oahu where we spent the next 12 months making a baby, breaking my fear of water (now I love snorkeling -- thanks, honey! ), writing a detailed diary, starting a message board and releasing my herbal formula, glandular complex, protein powder, and Book Four: Personal Training Business Guide.
During our stay, we saw the creation of my Lies & Propaganda message board spawn a lifestyle companion book I published for three members called The Basis of Being.
On March 4, 2005, after a mere 2 months of moving into our beautiful Utah home, my wife gave birth to our daughter, Catalina, and our lives will forever be enriched. Our little monkey has been nothing but a joy -- so much so, we decided to have another one named Devin (for the Godmother, Devin Devasquez, of course)! And for the record, if you're wondering where to dig around for the latest news on any or all of my family members, you can always read all about them in my blog.
The additional happenings in 2005 included an online physique transformation program I started, where one of my clients decided would also make a good resort of the same name: Best Shape of Your Life . He went out and bought dozens of acres to build on near a national forest in Tennessee and we'll spend at least 3 months a year there (and I am willing to bet up to 6 months, to be honest).
Later in 2005, I added an amino acid supplement to my Know-How food product lineup, which was quite obviously expanded and renamed Know How Nutritionals . Did I forget to mention that the fat burner supplement we released in the fall season got such amazing feedback? It still remains a part of the catalog for years to come. While I'm at it, I should probably thank MartinGroup for designing the new labels! If we had bad looking products, that wouldn't be good news .
And as always, more good has come around in 2006 -- like editions of Pizzazz Magazine, an all natural tooth oil, and the release of all my Lemmon Grove stories revamped and updated ( Planet of the Gods is first, Gern Blanston is second, Mr. Las Vegas Nevada is third, Time Travel Experiments fourth, White Diamond Rock Band is fifth, and Comic Book Super Hero follows respectively), and lastly but definitely not forgotten -- the impending August birth of my son, Devin.
Well, I'm fairly positive you now have the gist of Don Lemmon's Story, who I am, what I do, what I am like, etc.