The Incredible Hulk
“Everyone has his own ‘little Hulk’ inside him.” Lou Ferrigno
Professional bodybuilder/actor Lou Ferrigno is widely known as the character The Hulk, a green-skinned mutant superhero, in the renowned franchise of The Incredible Hulk (1977), The Incredible Hulk: Death in the Family (1977, TV), The Incredible Hulk: Married (1978, TV), the series “The Incredible Hulk”(1978-1982), The Incredible Hulk Returns (1988, TV), The Trial of the Incredible Hulk (1989, TV), The Death of the Incredible Hulk (1990, TV) and the animated series “The Incredible Hulk” (1996, as the voice of The Hulk). The actor, with well-developed muscles, also played the titular heroic roles in Hercules (1983) and Sinbad of the Seven Seas (1989).
Previously excelling as a bodybuilder, Ferrigno was crowned the youngest champion of IFBB Mr. America and IFBB Mr. Universe in 1973. He also became the winner of all categories of IFBB Mr. International in 1974, the third winner in the Tall class of Mr. Olympia (1975), and the runner up of the 1993 Olympia Masters contest.
Off screen, Ferrigno has written “Lou Ferrigno’s Guide to Personal Power, Bodybuilding and Fitness for Everyone” and his autobiography “My Incredible Life as the Hulk.” He also runs a successful personal training business that includes celebrity customers like Mickey Rourke, Michael Jackson and Chuck Norris. In 2004, he became the spokesman for the Sit Up-Sit Down Home Gym. Recently, after completing an extensive physical and academic training program, he was named a Reserve Deputy for the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department in February 2006. He serves at least 20 hours each month to help recruit new deputies and works with the Sheriff’s Youth Activities League and the Special Victims Bureau.
On the other hand, Ferrigno issued a lawsuit against his younger brother Andrew in March 2006. He claims that Andrew, who owned the Ferrigno Fitness store in New Jersey, carried his name and likeness to boost popularity for the store. As for his private life, the ex-husband of Susan Groff is now married to Carla Green, with whom he has three children: a daughter and two sons.
Childhood and Family:
In Brooklyn, New York, Louis Jude Ferrigno, who would later be famous as Lou Ferrigno, was born on November 9, 1952, to Matty Ferrigno (NYPD police lieutenant) and Victoria Ferrigno. Sometimes called Louis Ferrigno, Louis is a member of an Italian-American family.
When he was a child, Louis suffered from an ear infection, which caused him to lose much of his hearing. Although he grew up hearing-impaired and his father negatively stated that he would never achieve success, Louis was not taken aback. He chose to do bodybuilding and started training at the age of 13. After graduating from the prestigious Brooklyn Technical High School in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, in 1969, Louis gained his first champion title.
“If I hadn’t lost my hearing, I wouldn’t be where I am now. It forced me to maximize my potential. I had to be better than the average person to succeed. That’s why I chose bodybuilding. If I became a world champion, if I could win admiration from my peers, I could do anything.” Lou Ferrigno
Lou was briefly married to Susan Groff (1978-1979). He then married Carla Green on May 30, 1980. The happy couple has three children, a daughter named Shanna (born 1981) and two sons, Louis, Jr. (born 1984) and Brent (born 1990). In summer 2005, his daughter appeared in the reality TV series, “Filthy Rich: Cattle Drive.”
Lou Ferrigno’s career began as a bodybuilder. He won several titles before becoming the youngest champion of IFBB Mr. America and IFBB Mr. Universe. After holding the titles Overall Winner of IFBB Mr. International (1974), Heavyweight runner up of Mr. Olympia (1974) and the third place in the Tall class of Mr. Olympia (1975), Ferrigno entered professional football with the Canadian Football League.
As soon as he appeared in George Butler and Robert Fiore’s sport documentary movie Pumping Iron (1977), his 6’5”, 285 pound frame caught the attention of director Kenneth Johnson. Joining an audition for the director, Ferrigno won the role of Hulk, the green-skinned mutant superhero, in the TV film adaptation of Marvel’s comic book The Incredible Hulk. Soon, he reprised his signature role in sequels and alternate versions of the superhero story, including The Incredible Hulk: Death in the Family (1977, TV), The Incredible Hulk: Married (1978, TV), the series of “The Incredible Hulk”(1978-1982), The Incredible Hulk Returns (1988, TV), The Trial of the Incredible Hulk (1989, TV), The Death of the Incredible Hulk (1990, TV) and the animated series “The Incredible Hulk” (1996, as the voice of The Hulk).
Ferrigno also appeared as Hulk in the pilot episode of the TV series “Billy” (1979) before having his big screen debut with the starring role of Han in the adventure movie The Seven Magnificent Gladiators (1983). Still in 1983, he played Hercules in a silver screen version of the famous character. After taking the part of Steve Ott in an episode of “Matt Houston” (1984), he reprised the role of Hercules in the Italian sequel Le Avventure dell’incredibile Ercole (1985).
Following a four-year hiatus, Ferrigno returned to the screen with several starring roles, including Zerak in Jim Goldman’s sci-fi action Desert Warrior (1988), the titular role in the fantasy movie Sinbad of the Seven Seas (1989) and the soldier Bash in Liberty & Bash (1990). He also took the supporting role of Goodwin in the made-for-TV action film Extralarge: Jo-Jo (1991) was seen in the big screen comedy The Naked Truth (1992) and as Ranger John Jones in the sci-fi Frogtown II (1993).
Amid his acting gigs, Ferrigno continued to join the international bodybuilding competitions Mr. Olympia and Olympia Masters. In the former contest, he went to the 12th position in 1992 and reached the 10th place in 1993. A year later, he triumphantly achieved the runner up title of the Olympia Masters contest.
Subsequent to his roles in Cage II (1994) and The Misery Brothers (1995), the muscular actor again made appearances as The Hulk in the series “The Fantastic Four” (1995) and “Iron Man” (1996). He was also seen as Mog in an episode of “Conan” (1997), Bugsy/Alice in Bob Hoge’s movie The Godson (1998), the dogcatcher in the comedy Ping (2000) and The Slave Master in the TV series “Black Scorpion” (2001).
Ferrigno took a role in From Heaven to Hell (2002) before appearing in the latest version of Hulk (2003), directed by Ang Lee. This time, the green monster was generated by computer and Ferrigno played a security guard, along with Hulk’s creator Stan Lee. The next year, he appeared in the comedy series “Reno 911!” Ferrigno, who starred in two Longhorn Steakhouse commercials in 2005, also had a recurring guest star role in the sitcom “King of Queens” (2006).