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Lou Ferrigno

Lou-ferrigno-training-1-

Birth name
Louis Jude Ferrigno
Date of birth
November 9, 1951
Place of birth
Brooklyn, New York
Portrayed

Louis Ferrigno (born November 9, 1951) is an American actor, fitness trainer/consultant, and retired professional bodybuilder. As a bodybuilder, Ferrigno won an IFBB Mr. America title and two consecutive IFBB Mr. Universe titles, and appeared in the bodybuilding documentary Pumping Iron. As an actor, he is best known for portraying the title role in the CBS television series The Incredible Hulk. He has also appeared in European-produced fantasy-adventures such as Sinbad of the Seven Seas and Hercules, and as himself in the sitcom "The King of Queens" and the 2009 comedy I Love You, Man.

Early lifeEdit

Ferrigno was born in Brooklyn, New York to Matt Ferrigno, an Italian American New York City Police Department Lieutenant, and his mother Victoria. As an infant, he suffered an ear infection and lost some of his hearing. Ferrigno started weight training at age 13, citing body builder and Hercules star Steve Reeves as one of his role models.

Ferrigno's personal heroes as a child were Spider-Man and the Hulk. Appropriately, he would later play the role of the Hulk himself in the Incredible Hulk television series and related TV movies. He was also a fan of the Hercules films that starred Steve Reeves. Ferrigno frequently points to Reeves as one of his primary role models and would later play Hercules just as Reeves had.

BodybuildingEdit

After graduating from Brooklyn Technical High School in 1969, Ferrigno won his first major titles, IFBB Mr. America and IFBB Mr. Universe, four years later. Early in his career he lived in Columbus and trained with Arnold Schwarzenegger. In 1974, he came in second on his first attempt at the Mr. Olympia competition. He then came third the following year, and his attempt to beat Arnold Schwarzenegger was the subject of the 1975 documentary Pumping Iron. Following this, Ferrigno left the competition circuit for many years, a period that included a stint as a defensive lineman for the Toronto Argonauts in the Canadian Football League.

During competition, Lou Ferrigno weighed 285 lb (130 kg) in 1975, and 316 lb (143 kg) in 1992; at 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) he was one of the tallest professional bodybuilders at that time.

Ferrigno competed in the first World's Strongest Man competition in 1977, where he finished fourth in a field of eight competitors. While competing, Ferrigno regularly went to see a physician who checked up on whether he was doing damage to his body.

In the early 1990s, Ferrigno returned to bodybuilding, competing for the 1992 and 1993 Mr. Olympia titles. Finishing 12th and 10th, respectively, he then turned to the Masters Olympia, coming second in 1994 to Robby Robinson. After this, he retired from competition.

ActingEdit

Ferrigno signed up with Universal Studios in 1977, and beat out both Arnold Schwarzenegger (although both Ferrigno and Schwarzenegger himself have gone on record saying Arnold was not in the running [citation needed]) and Richard Kiel for the title role opposite Bill Bixby as the Hulk in The Incredible Hulk. Richard Kiel was hired for the series first, and scenes were filmed. It was quickly determined he was not muscular enough, and Ferrigno was signed. One brief shot of Kiel remains in the pilot movie. Although Ferrigno and Bixby did not share lines on camera (except for one episode, "King of the Beach"), the two were friends. Ferrigno continued playing the Hulk role until 1981, although the last two episodes were not broadcast until May 1982. Later, he and Bixby co-starred in three The Incredible Hulk TV movies. There were major talks of another movie, The Rebirth of The Incredible Hulk, but due to Bixby's illness, the project never went beyond the earliest stages of development. Ferrigno continued to keep in touch with Bixby until his death on November 21, 1993. Ferrigno attended Bixby's funeral in California.

Ferrigno played himself during intermittent guest appearances on the CBS sitcom, The King of Queens, beginning in 2000 and continuing until the program's conclusion in 2007. He and his wife Carla were depicted as the main characters' next-door neighbors. Because of his role as the title character on The Incredible Hulk, he is often the target of Hulk jokes by Doug and his friends.

He made cameo appearances as a security guard in both the 2003 film Hulk and the 2008 film The Incredible Hulk, in which he also voiced the Hulk.

Ferrigno appeared as himself in the 2009 feature film comedy I Love You, Man.

Personal lifeEdit

Ferrigno sees his loss of hearing as influential towards bodybuilding and his life: "...if I hadn't lost some of my hearing, I wouldn't be where I am now. It forced me to maximize my own potential. I had to be better than the average person to succeed."

Ferrigno married Susan Groff in 1978, divorcing a year later. On May 3, 1980, he married psychotherapist Carla Green, who then also began serving as his manager and later became a personal trainer. They have three children, Shanna, born 1981; Louis, Jr., born 1984; and Brent, born 1990. Shanna has a recurring role as Nurse Janice in Days of our Lives, and appeared in the NBC series Windfall, as well as the television movie Within, and in 2005 she appeared in the E! reality television series, Filthy Rich: Cattle Drive. Louis, Jr. was a linebacker for the University of Southern California Trojans football team.

On February 13, 2006 he was sworn in as a Los Angeles County reserve sheriff's deputy.

He still trains daily and also sells his own line of fitness equipment through his company, Ferrigno Fitness.

Additional Reading

Magazine editor Roni Toldanes interviews Lou "Incredible Hulk" Ferrigno:

http://gunseditor.wordpress.com/2009/06/08/an-interview-with-lou-the-incredible-hulk-ferrigno/

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