Lou Ferrigno

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Lou Ferrigno
Lou Ferrigno 2018.jpg
Ferrigno in 2018
Louis Jude Ferrigno

(1951-11-09) November 9, 1951 (age 71)
Occupation(s)Bodybuilder, actor, personal trainer
Years active1971–present
Susan Groff
(m. 1978; div. 1979)

Carla Green
(m. 1980)
Children3, including Lou Ferrigno Jr.
Personal info
Height6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)[1]
Weight315 lb (143 kg) [1]
Professional career
  • NABBA Mr. Universe
  • 1972
Best win
  • IFBB Mr. Universe
  • 1973–1974, two years consecutively
ActiveRetired 1995

Louis Jude Ferrigno Sr. (/fəˈrɪɡn/; born November 9, 1951)[2] is an American actor 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 documentary film Pumping Iron. As an actor, he is best known for his title role in the CBS television series The Incredible Hulk and vocally reprising the role in subsequent animated and computer-generated incarnations. 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 life

Ferrigno was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Victoria and Matt Ferrigno, a police lieutenant.[3] He is of Italian descent. Soon after he was born, Ferrigno says he believes he had series of ear infections and lost 75 to 80% of his hearing, though his condition was not diagnosed until he was three years old.[4][5] Hearing loss and his speech impediment caused Ferrigno to be bullied by peers during his childhood who called him "deaf" and "mute". He began reading comic books such as Hulk and Spider-Man at this time, later saying "I was obsessed with power", and "I wanted to be strong enough so that I could be able to defend myself".[6]

Ferrigno started weight training at age 13, citing bodybuilder and Hercules star Steve Reeves as one of his role models.[7] Because he could not afford to buy weights, he made his own using a broomstick and pails which he partially filled with cement.[7] He was also a fan of the Hercules films that starred Reeves. Ferrigno attended St. Athanasius Grammar School[8] and Brooklyn Technical High School, where he learned metal working.[8]

Bodybuilding career

After graduating from high school in 1969, Ferrigno won his first major title, IFBB Mr. America. Four years later, he won the title IFBB Mr. Universe. Early in his career he lived in Columbus, Ohio and trained with Arnold Schwarzenegger. In 1974, he came in second on his first attempt at the Mr. Olympia competition. He came in third the following year, and his attempt to beat Arnold Schwarzenegger was the subject of the 1977 documentary Pumping Iron. The documentary made Ferrigno famous.[9]

These victories, however, did not provide enough income for him to earn a living. His first paying job was as a $10-an-hour sheet metal worker in a Brooklyn factory, where he worked for three years. He did not enjoy the dangerous work, and left after a friend and co-worker accidentally cut off his own hand.[10]

Following this, Ferrigno left the competition circuit for many years, a period that included a brief stint as a defensive lineman for the Toronto Argonauts in the Canadian Football League. He had never played football, and was cut after two games.[11] Ferrigno left the world of Canadian football after he broke the legs of a fellow player during a scrimmage.[12]

Ferrigno, who stands at almost 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m),[1] weighed in during competition at 268 lb (130 kg) in 1975 and 315 lb (142 kg) in 1992.[1]

Ferrigno competed in the first annual World's Strongest Man competition in 1977, where he finished fourth in a field of eight competitors.[13]

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 1994 Masters Olympia,[14] where his attempt to beat Robbie Robinson and Boyer Coe was the subject of the 1996 documentary Stand Tall. After this, he retired from competition.[15]

Acting career


In 1977, Ferrigno was cast as the Hulk in The Incredible Hulk. Despite the fact that they were rarely on camera together,[7] Ferrigno and Bill Bixbywho played the Hulk's "normal" alter egobecame friends; Ferrigno has described Bixby as a "mentor" and "father figure" who took him under his wing. Ferrigno also singles out the instances in which Bixby directed Ferrigno in some episodes as particularly memorable.[16] 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.

In November 1978 and again in May 1979 Ferrigno appeared in Battle of the Network Stars.[17][18] He portrayed the titular character in the 1983 science fantasy adventure film Hercules, and received mixed-to-negative reviews for his performance. He was, however, praised by Marylynn Uricchio, a film critic for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,[19] and Andy Brack of Charleston City Paper.[20] Gary Allen Smith, author of the book Epic Films, complimented Ferrigno's physical strength and aesthetics in the film: "At 6'5" and 262 pounds, he is a massive and thoroughly convincing Hercules".[21] In 2014, Decider named Ferrigno the tenth "hottest onscreen Hercules ever".[22]

In 1983, Ferrigno appeared as John Six on the short-lived medical drama Trauma Center.[23]

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.[24] In the latter film, Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) bribes him with a pizza in order to gain entry into a university building. He then went on to voice the Hulk in other Marvel Cinematic Universe films, uncredited.[7][25][26] He continued to be known as the voice of the Hulk until 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron.[27][28] Ferrigno has since been replaced by Mark Ruffalo as the voice of Hulk in subsequent films.[29]


Ferrigno 2009 Dragon Con Parade

He trained Michael Jackson on and off beginning in the early 1990s, and in 2009, he helped Jackson get into shape for a planned series of concerts in London,[30] which were ultimately cancelled due to Jackson's untimely death.

Ferrigno took part in a Smosh video, titled "I Love Lou Ferrigno", in which he is tracked down by one of Smosh's members, Anthony, in Hollywood. The skit ends with Ferrigno knocking Anthony unconscious, in response to Ian's claim that Anthony stole Ferrigno's Butterfinger.

Ferrigno has his own line of fitness equipment called Ferrigno Fitness. In January 2009, he provided equipment to The Price Is Right for use as a One Bid prize, and demonstrated the equipment himself.[31]

In 2016, Ferrigno appeared as a playable Lego version of himself in Lego Marvel's Avengers.[32]

Non-acting endeavors

In February 2006, Ferrigno was sworn in as a Los Angeles County, California, reserve sheriff's deputy, Level II.[33] In November 2010, Maricopa County, Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio swore Ferrigno in as a member of a volunteer sheriff posse, which also included actors Steven Seagal and Peter Lupus, in order to help control illegal immigration in the Phoenix Valley area.[34]

Ferrigno was a contestant on season five of the NBC reality television series The Celebrity Apprentice, which premiered in February 2012. He appeared on the program in order to raise money for his charity, the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Ferrigno was Team Unanimous' project manager for the task depicted in the fifth episode, "I'm Going to Mop the Floor With You," which was to create a viral video to promote O-Cedar's ProMist Spray Mop, placing him in competition with actress Tia Carrere, the project manager of the women's team, Forte. In addition to the usual $20,000 awarded to the charity of the project manager of the winning team, O-Cedar pledged an additional $30,000 for that task. Team Unanimous' video—in which Ferrigno appeared dancing while mopping—won the task, winning the $50,000 for Muscular Dystrophy Association.[35] He was fired in episode nine, "Ad Hawk", which involved creating a 60-second commercial for Entertainment.com.[36]

In June 2012, Ferrigno was sworn in as a reserve deputy to the San Luis Obispo County, California, Sheriff's Department.[37] There he completed his level I law enforcement academy, bringing his training up to full peace officer status. In September 2013, Ferrigno was sworn in as a special deputy to the Delaware County, Ohio, Sheriff's Department.[38]

In May 2018, President Donald Trump appointed Ferrigno to be a member of his Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition.[39]

Personal life

Due to ear infections he had soon after birth, Ferrigno lost 75 to 80% of his hearing and has been using hearing aids since the age of five.[40] Ferrigno says his hearing loss helped shape his sense of determination in his youth, saying, "I think that if I wasn't hard of hearing I wouldn't be where I am now. Early on, as a youngster it was difficult, but I'm not ashamed to talk about it because many people have misconceptions about hearing loss; like who has hearing loss and what it's like not to hear, so I do talk about it. I think my hearing loss helped create a determination within me to be all that I can be, and gave me a certain strength of character too. Anytime I do a movie or a TV show, I make them aware of my hearing loss at the beginning, and that makes it much easier for all of us to communicate and get the job done."[4] Later in life, he received a cochlear implant which restored much of his hearing.[6]

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; she 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 film 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.[41] He currently plays a recurring role in the TV series S.W.A.T., airing on CBS.[42]

Ferrigno has filed suit against his younger brother, Andrew, on two occasions over the use of the name Ferrigno in business ventures.[43][44]


Magazine covers

  • Muscle & Fitness (March 1982, September 1982, March 1983, January 1986, June 1987, July 1988, April 1989, March 1993, March 1994, April 1996)
  • Flex (November 1983, August 1985, August 1989, August 1992, October 1992, June 1993, March 1994, November 1994, November 2017)
  • Muscle Builder (May 1974, July 1974, April 1977, September 1977, July 1979, March 1980, May 1980)
  • Iron Man (July 1973, August 1988, October 1992, November 1994, April 2009)
  • Bodybuilding Lifestyle (December 1991, May 1992)
  • Muscle Mag International (March 1979, December 1983, November 1994)
  • Muscular Development (February 1981, October 1992, April 2009)
  • Muscle Training Illustrated (May 1972)
  • Natural Bodybuilding (February 1983)
  • Strength & Health (November 1983)


Ferrigno's handprints at Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park


Year Title Role Notes
1977 Pumping Iron Himself Docudrama
1983 Hercules Hercules
The Seven Magnificent Gladiators Han
1985 The Adventures of Hercules Hercules Sequel to Hercules
1987 Undershorts: The Movie Hulk Short: "The Incredible Bulk"[47]
1988 Desert Warrior Zerak
1989 Sinbad of the Seven Seas Sinbad
Cage Billy Thomas
All's Fair Klaus
Liberty & Bash Bash
1993 And God Spoke Himself
1994 Cage II Billy Thomas
1996 Stand Tall Himself Docudrama
1998 The Godson Bugsy
2003 Hulk Security guard Cameo
2008 The Incredible Hulk Hulk Voice
Security Guard Cameo
2009 I Love You, Man Himself
2012 The Avengers Hulk Voice collaboration (uncredited)[25]
2014 Moms' Night Out Cameo
2015 Avengers: Age of Ultron Hulk Voice collaboration (uncredited)[25]
The Scorpion King: The Lost Throne Skizurra Direct-to-video
Avengers Grimm Iron John
2017 Instant Death John Bradley Lead Role
Thor: Ragnarok Hulk Voice collaboration (uncredited)[48]
2019 Ring Ring Mr. Daniels


Year Title Role Notes
1977 The Incredible Hulk Hulk Pilot movie
World's Strongest Man Himself / competitor 4th place
1978–82 The Incredible Hulk Hulk 82 episodes
1979 Billy Cameo
1980 Mister Rogers' Neighborhood Himself 2 episodes
1983 The Fall Guy Six Episode: "Trauma"
Trauma Center John Six 13 episodes
1984 Matt Houston Steve Otto Episode: "Blood Ties"
1985 Night Court The Klondike Butcher Episode: "The Battling Bailiff"
Amazing Stories Hulk Episode: "Remote Control Man"; uncredited[citation needed]
1988 The Incredible Hulk Returns Movie
1989 The Trial of the Incredible Hulk
1990 The Death of the Incredible Hulk
1996–1997 The Incredible Hulk Voice role
2000–07 The King of Queens Lou Ferrigno 20 episodes
2002 Raw Iron: The Making of 'Pumping Iron Himself Documentary
2004 My Wife and Kids Big Guy Episode "Illegal Smile"
Reno 911! Deputy Cletus Senior Episode: "Department Investigation: Part 2"
2010 Chuck Sofia Stepanova's bodyguard Episode: "Chuck Versus the Suitcase"
Sonny with a Chance Himself Episode: "My Two Chads"
2010–16 Adventure Time Billy / Bobby 4 episodes
2012 Celebrity Apprentice Himself 8 episodes (9th fired)
Next Great Baker Guest judge Episode: "Cake Powers, Activate!"
2014 Star Trek Continues Zaminhon Web series; episode: "Lolani"[49]
2016 We Bare Bears Paul Episode: "Yard Sale"
2022 The Offer Lenny Montana Miniseries

See also


  1. ^ a b c d "ALL ABOUT LOU FERRIGNO". BodybuildingPro.comApril 9, 2013. Archived from the original on February 6, 2013. Retrieved April 9, 2013.
  2. ^ Although Ferrigno's official site does not list a year of birth, it says he was 21 when he won the first of two successive Mr. Universe titles, which occurred in 1973 ("History of the Men's World Amateur Championships" Archived July 17, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, IFBB.com, Accessed January 1, 2007). The results were reported in the July 1973 issue of Muscle magazine ("Lou Ferigno, Mr Universe, 1973" Archived June 24, 2006, at the Wayback Machine. IFBB.com); see also "History of Mr. Olympia: Lou Ferrigno" Archived June 29, 2017, at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ Jim Schmaltz (February 2004). Matt Ferrigno: 1925-2003. Flex. Accessed August 1, 2008.
  4. ^ a b Mabe, Catherine "Lou Ferrigno: Living, Acting and Bodybuilding with Hearing Loss" Archived January 26, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. Disaboom. Retrieved February 8, 2012.
  5. ^ Doughterty, Margot (May 16, 1988). "Green with Indignation, Lou Ferrigno Is Back in Bulk as the Incredible Hulk" Archived March 10, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. People. Vol. 29, No. 19.
  6. ^ a b Mazziotta, Julie (May 20, 2021). "Incredible Hulk's Lou Ferrigno Is Fixing His Lifelong Hearing Problem: 'A Dream Come True'". People. Archived from the original on May 31, 2021. Retrieved June 18, 2021.
  7. ^ a b c d Eury, Michael (Summer 2018). "The Hulk Speaks!: An Interview with Lou Ferrigno". RetroFan. TwoMorrows Publishing (1): 3–8.
  8. ^ a b Parker, Vernon. "On This Day in History: November 9That Incredible Hulk" Archived December 10, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. Brooklyn Eagle. November 9, 2011
  9. ^ "How Pumping Iron Gave Birth to the Incredible Hulk". Arnold Body Building. Archived from the original on December 26, 2012. Retrieved April 5, 2013.
  10. ^ "About" Archived May 19, 2012, at the Wayback Machine at LouFerrigno.com (official site)
  11. ^ Grech, Ron. "Lou Ferrigno to Hulk up at the Mac" Archived April 1, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. Daily Press. May 2011. Accessed September 19, 2011.
  12. ^ Inman, David. The TV Encyclopedia. New York: Perigree, 1991. Print.
  13. ^ Bonnie Siegler. Fame & Fortune: Lou Ferrigno Archived June 2, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. Accessed August 1, 2008.
  14. ^ "Lou Ferrigno - Age | Height | Weight | Images | Bio". Greatest Physiques. October 11, 2016. Archived from the original on June 21, 2018. Retrieved June 21, 2018.
  15. ^ Harvey, Dennis (April 6, 1997). "Stand Tall". Variety. Archived from the original on June 21, 2018. Retrieved June 21, 2018.
  16. ^ Murphy, Matt. "WWLA: "The Incredible Hulk" Retrospective with Lou Ferrigno" Archived October 15, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. Comic Book Resources. March 16, 2008
  17. ^ Battle of the Network Stars V, Howard Cosell, Frank Gifford, Richard Hatch, November 18, 1978, archived from the original on February 8, 2017, retrieved November 9, 2017{{citation}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  18. ^ "'Battle of the Network Stars': Photos of TV's First Reality Competition". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on November 10, 2017. Retrieved November 9, 2017.
  19. ^ Uricchio, Marylynn (August 27, 1983). "'Hercules' is just ludicrous". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Block Communications. Retrieved March 20, 2022.
  20. ^ Brack, Andy (May 2, 2012). "Chatting with a childhood hero, Lou Ferrigno". Charleston City Paper. City Paper Publishing, LLC. Archived from the original on March 5, 2022. Retrieved March 5, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  21. ^ Smith, Gary Allen (2009). Epic Films: Casts, Credits and Commentary on More Than 350 Historical Spectacle Movies. McFarland & Company. p. 114. ISBN 9781476604183. Retrieved April 29, 2022.
  22. ^ O'Keefe, Meghan (July 24, 2014). "Who Is The Hottest Hercules Of Them All?". Decider. NYP Holdings, Inc. Archived from the original on March 5, 2022. Retrieved March 5, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  23. ^ The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946-Present. Ballantine Books. 2003. p. 1227. ISBN 0-345-45542-8.
  24. ^ Jeff Otto (May 27, 2008). Special Report: "Hulk" Edit Bay Visit. Dark Horizons. Accessed May 27, 2008.
  25. ^ a b c Messer, Ron (October 10, 2010). "NY Comic Con: Lou Ferrigno Interview – Opens Up About The Avengers, Mark Ruffalo as The Hulk, and Chuck". Collider. Archived from the original on October 11, 2010. Retrieved October 10, 2010.
  26. ^ Collura, Scott (May 8, 2012). "So Ferrigno *Is* in The Avengers". IGN. Archived from the original on May 27, 2019. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  27. ^ "Exclusive: Lou Ferrigno Says He's Back To Voice the Hulk in Avengers: Age of Ultron". Nuke The Fridge. April 22, 2014. Archived from the original on April 25, 2014. Retrieved April 22, 2014.
  28. ^ "The Avengers: Age Of Ultron To Bring Back Lou Ferrigno As Hulk's Voice". CINEMABLEND. April 22, 2014. Archived from the original on April 15, 2021. Retrieved April 15, 2021.
  29. ^ Avengers: Endgame (2019) - IMDb, retrieved October 20, 2022
  30. ^ Smith, Michael David. "Lou Ferrigno: Michael Jackson Was Energetic and Happy in Training". AOL News. Archived from the original on July 19, 2012. Retrieved June 19, 2009.
  31. ^ "Lou Ferrigno Biography and Bodybuilding Stats". About-Muscle.com. Archived from the original on October 1, 2015. Retrieved June 2, 2015.
  32. ^ "Lou Ferrigno". Behind the Voice Actors. Archived from the original on May 27, 2019. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  33. ^ "Lou Ferrigno becomes reserve LA County sheriff's deputy". Associated Press. February 13, 2006. Archived from the original on December 20, 2008. Retrieved August 1, 2008.
  34. ^ "Lou 'The Hulk' Ferrigno Joins Posse Fighting Illegal Immigration". Fox News. Associated Press. November 18, 2010. Archived from the original on January 24, 2011. Retrieved January 2, 2011.
  35. ^ "I'm Going to Mop the Floor With You". The Celebrity Apprentice. Season 12. Episode 5. March 18, 2012. NBC.
  36. ^ "Ad Hawk". The Celebrity Apprentice. Season 12. Episode 9. April 8, 2012. NBC.
  37. ^ Linn, Sarah (June 15, 2012). "Lou Ferrigno sworn in as reserve deputy for Sheriff's Office". The Tribune. Archived from the original on December 2, 2013. Retrieved November 15, 2013.
  38. ^ Salsman, Tara. "Lou Ferrigno is sworn in as Delaware County's newest Special Deputy". Archived from the original on November 24, 2013. Retrieved November 15, 2013.
  39. ^ "Lou Ferrigno Appointed by President Trump to the President's Council on Sports Fitness and Nutrition". Media One Entertainment. May 9, 2018. Archived from the original on January 16, 2019. Retrieved January 15, 2019.
  40. ^ Beck, Doug (January 17, 2005). "Interview with Lou Ferrigno Mr. Universe, and TVs "The Hulk"". Audiology Online. Archived from the original on April 8, 2007. Retrieved May 13, 2012.
  41. ^ Player Bio: Lou Ferrigno Jr. Archived March 30, 2009, at the Wayback Machine USCTrojans.cstv.com. Accessed January 1, 2007.
  42. ^ "Who Is Rocker on 'S.W.A.T.'? That's Hulk Lou Ferrigno's Son". 2Paragraphs. Retrieved November 3, 2021.
  43. ^ "Lou Ferrigno Exercises His Right to Threaten to Sue His Brother". TMZ. March 3, 2015. Archived from the original on July 7, 2018. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  44. ^ "Ferrigno files suit over brother's fitness store". Today. Associated Press. March 10, 2006. Archived from the original on May 23, 2019. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  45. ^ a b c d e f g h i History of Mr. Olympia: Lou Ferrigno Archived March 4, 2016, at the Wayback Machine. Schwarzenegger.it Accessed January 1, 2007.
  46. ^ a b "History of the Men's World Amateur Championships Archived 2012-07-17 at the Wayback Machine". IFBB.com. Accessed January 1, 2007.
  47. ^ Stoller, Bryan. "The Incredible Bulk". YouTube. Bryan Michael Stoller. Archived from the original on November 13, 2021. Retrieved August 2, 2021.
  48. ^ "Tessa Thompson Joins The Marvel Universe In 'Thor: Ragnarok'". Deadline Hollywood. April 11, 2016. Archived from the original on April 12, 2016. Retrieved April 11, 2016.
  49. ^ Crandall, Steve (January 26, 2014). "Star Trek Continues Episode 2 Prepares For Launch". Star Trek Continues. Archived from the original on February 25, 2014. Retrieved February 15, 2014.

External links