An internationally famous and well respected bodybuilder / actor, Lou Ferrigno first appeared on TV screens in 1977 as the musclebound "The Incredible Hulk" (1978), the alter ego of meek scientist Bruce Banner. Ferrigno was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1951 and as a child suffered from an ear infection that resulted in permanent partial hearing loss. Undeterred by what some may have perceived as a disadvantage, Lou threw himself into athletics (predominantly weightlifting and body building) and at the age of 21 won his first Mr. Universe title. For good measure, he came back and won it again the following year!
He also played professional football in the Canadian Football League, before coming to the attention of producer Kenneth Johnson, who was seeking just the right person to portray on screen the comic book superhero, The Incredible Hulk. With his 6' 5", 285 lb. frame, Lou was the biggest professional bodybuilder of the time, and had recently starred in the documentary Pumping Iron (1977), about the 1975 Mr. Olympia contest in South Africa. He successfully auditioned for the part of the green-skinned Goliath, and that is the role with which he is most closely identified.
"The Hulk" was a huge ratings success and spawned several telemovies after the initial TV series completed its run. Lou continued to remain busy in films and TV with appearances often centered around his remarkable physique. His films included Hercules (1983), Sinbad of the Seven Seas (1989) and Frogtown II (1992). Lou has additionally guest-starred on several TV shows including "The Fall Guy" (1981) and "The New Mike Hammer" (1984) and had a recurring role on "The King of Queens" (1998). In 1997 he was featured in the dynamic documentary about his sensational return to professional bodybuilding at age 43, Stand Tall (1997). The film detailed how he returned to compete in the Masters category of the Mr. Olympia contest against several familiar bodybuilding foes. In more recent years, he has appeared in several films, including The Misery Brothers (1995), Ping! (2000), From Heaven to Hell (2002) and a cameo as a security guard in the big-budget remake of Hulk (2003).
Big Lou is also a successful author with two books detailing his bodybuilding knowledge, and his life behind the scenes playing the Incredible Hulk on TV in the 1970s, plus he has a popular website frequented by his many fans worldwide.
|Carla Ferrigno||(3 May 1980 - present) 3 children|
|Susan Groff||(27 May 1978 - 1979) (divorced)|
Is most live action feature filmmakers' preferred choice to voice the Hulk.
Professional bodybuilder. Played professional football in Canada.
1974: Won the bodybuilding title, "Mr. Universe".
1973: Won the bodybuilding title, "Mr. America".
1973: Won the bodybuilding title, "Mr. Universe".
1970: Won the bodybuilding title, "Teenage Mr. America".
Weighs 275 pounds - with 59" chest - 34" waist - 221/2" bicep - 29" thighs and 19" neck.
The youngest bodybuilder ever to hold the "Mr. Universe" title (age 20).
In the late '80s he decided to tone down his massive body so that people would be more likely to see him as a person and not just as his "monster" alter ego "The Hulk".
Growing up, he was a fan of the '50s "Hercules" films that starred bodybuilder Steve Reeves and a fan of the Incredible Hulk comic books. He went on to play both the Incredible Hulk (both live action and providing the voice of the Hulk for an animated series) and Hercules.
Bench-pressed 560 lbs in his prime (age 25). Now, at the age of 50, he benches 400 lbs.
Declares "The Incredible Hulk" (1978) episode "King of the Beach" (in which he played a bodybuilder, in addition to the Hulk) his favorite episode of the series.
Like so many of the bodybuilders who starred in the "Hercules" films of the late '50s and early '60s, his voice was dubbed for his own "Hercules" films.
Stated that his father was very critical of and negative towards him when he was growing up due to his hearing disability. Though Lou respected his father, he was very hurt when his father expressed his belief that Lou would never achieve success.
Beat out Arnold Schwarzenegger for the role of the Hulk on the TV series "The Incredible Hulk" (1978). Ferrigno won reportedly because Arnold, at 6' 2", was deemed not tall enough, while Lou was 6' 5".
Has appeared in four different adaptations of "The Incredible Hulk". The first was the live-action television series of the late 1970s and early 1980s ("The Incredible Hulk" (1978)), in which he played the Hulk--and does not speak. In the 1990s he played the role again in an animated series for the UPN network, "The Incredible Hulk" (1996) -- this time providing the creature's voice. In Ang Lee's 2003 film Hulk (2003) the Hulk is computer-generated, so Lou plays a completely different part - that of a security guard (along with Stan Lee) at the lab where Bruce Banner works. In the 2008 film The Incredible Hulk (2008), he plays a security guard again, this time one who allows Bruce Banner to enter with a pizza -- and also, once again, voices the Hulk.
Attended Brooklyn Technical High School in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, NY--the same neighborhood where director Spike Lee now resides.
2/11/06: He was sworn in as a Los Angeles County Reserve Deputy Sheriff. He will serve for at least 20 hours each month. His duties will include helping recruit new deputies and working with the sheriff's Youth Activities League and the Special Victims Bureau.
He stood 6' 5" and he was the tallest professional body builder of the 1970s.
In his book "My Incredible Life As The Hulk", he stated that he has never been compensated for any merchandising related to "The Incredible Hulk" (1978) TV series. He said it was because no such deals existed for him during the show's prime-time run.
In October 1981 he was in Egypt, scheduled to be one of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat's personal guests at a public event. However, at the last minute Sadat canceled his appearance. A few days later Muslim fundamentalists killed Sadat, along with 12 others, at an annual military parade. It was later discovered that Sadat's killers had originally planned to assassinate him at the event where Ferrigno would have been seated next to him. Ferrigno believes that he would have been killed along with Sadat if Sadat had not canceled his appearance.
Best known by the public for his starring role as "The Incredible Hulk" (1978).
Although Lou played "The Hulk" in the TV series, the growls and snarls heard in it aren't his. They were made by actor Ted Cassidy (Lurch in "The Addams Family" (1964)) until 1979 (first two seasons). Then, after Cassidy's death in that year, the Hulk was voiced by actor Charles Napier for the remaining three seasons and the three movies made in later years.
Former personal trainer for Michael Jackson. Jackson invited him to be his personal trainer to prepare for the This is It concerts. Ferrigno had appeared in Jackson's "Liberian Girl" short film in 1989 and they remained friends until Jackson's death in 2009.
In his peak body-building days, he could bench press nearly 500 pounds.
Everyone has his own "little Hulk" inside him.
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.
[his response (in 1979) to an indication that he shared the spotlight with Star Wars (1977) villain Darth Vader, played by David Prowse, another muscle-bound actor] Anybody could play Darth Vader. Vader is basically just a big guy behind a costume. The character shows no emotion, no nothing! If you really showed the emotional side of The Hulk he could be even hotter than "Star Wars". "Battlestar Galactica" (1978) didn't show any feelings and that's the big reason why I think it was canceled.
[regarding then competing series "Wonder Woman" (1975)] And as for "Wonder Woman" . . . there's nothing there . . . nothing to show at all but a "beautiful body", and that's it. You never get a chance to find out anything about the person at all. What a bore! I can't understand why that show ran as long as it did.
[Of Bill Bixby]: Bill was a great guy. He was a great mentor, great director, great producer and all the things that were great. Bill had a lot on him, because he loved his son, Christopher. When he lost his son, 2 days later, he came on the set and continued filming, and I knew he did that!
[on his on- and off-screen chemistry with Bill Bixby, who played Dr. Bruce Banner]: You know, a couple of times on the set if I was late, I remember that look he gave me, oh boy! I thought, he would be 'The Hulk.'
[Of Bill Bixby's battle against prostate cancer]: When I saw him --- on the set, he did for Entertainment Tonight, I was horrified when I see how he looked. I mean, he's actually breaking down into tears in his face, it was like 2 weeks before he died. It was so sad that it took a lot of courage for him to do the interviews, and so sad as to how life had lost him.
(2010) Appeared, with Erik Estrada, in a commercial for "Butterfinger".
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