Peter Lupus

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Peter Lupus
Lupus in Mission: Impossible (1967)
Born (1932-06-17) June 17, 1932 (age 91)
Other namesRock Stevens
  • Bodybuilder
  • actor
Sharon M. Hildebrand
(m. 1960)

Peter Nash Lupus Jr. (born June 17, 1932) is an American bodybuilder and actor.[1] He is best known for his role as Willy Armitage on the television series Mission: Impossible (1966–1973).

Personal life[edit]

Lupus is one of three siblings born in Indianapolis, Indiana to Mary Irene (née Lambert; 1910-2003) and Peter Nash Lupus (1898-1981). His father was of Syrian and Lebanese descent.[2]

Lupus attended the Jordan College of Fine Arts at Butler University, where he also played football and basketball and a member of Sigma Chi Fraternity, graduating in 1954. He and his wife, Sharon, have a son, Peter Nash Lupus III, who is also an actor.[citation needed]



Standing 6 feet 4 inches (193 cm) with a developed physique, Lupus began his career by earning the titles of Mr. Indianapolis, Mr. Indiana, Mr. Hercules and Mr. International Health Physique.[3] Lupus was one of many bodybuilders who followed Steve Reeves into the "sword and sandal" films of the 1960s, occasionally credited as Rock Stevens for such films as Hercules and the Tyrants of Babylon (1964), Challenge of the Gladiator (1965) and Muscle Beach Party (1964) where he starred as "Mr. Galaxy" Flex Martian.[1]

During the early 1970s, Lupus promoted European Health Spa, traveling the country to make appearances and sign autographs at several of the gyms' grand openings.


Lupus played Willy Armitage in the original Mission: Impossible television series in the 1960s.[4] Armitage was the Impossible Missions Force's muscle man, and featured in nearly all episodes of the series. The character of Willy Armitage was the strong, silent type, usually with very little dialogue. Late in the show's run, during season five, the producers decided that his character was superfluous and he was dropped to recurring status, appearing in a little over half of that season's episodes. Outcry from fans and lack of success in finding a replacement for his character — originally replaced by Sam Elliott — resulted in his return to regular status the following season and to his getting a greater role in the stories, often assuming disguises as a convict or a thug. Only Bob Johnson and Greg Morris sustained regular roles through the show's entire run.

Lupus's other television work included a guest spot as Tarzan on Jack Benny's television show,[5] a boxer with a glass jaw on The Joey Bishop Show, a caveman on an episode of Fantasy Island, and the recurring role of Detective Norberg on the short-lived sitcom Police Squad!

Playgirl pinup[edit]

Lupus was one of the first well-known male actors to pose with full frontal nudity for Playgirl magazine, in April 1974.[6] Photographs of Lupus appeared in a number of issues. Before this, he was hired by the United States Air Force to appear in a series of commercials playing the role of Superman (with the permission of what is now DC Comics). He appeared for many months until the Playgirl pictorial was published.[7]

Present day[edit]

On July 19, 2007, at age 75, Lupus set a world weightlifting endurance record by lifting 77,560 pounds (35,180 kg) over the course of 24 minutes, 50 seconds at the Spectrum Club in El Segundo, California.[8] This topped the record Lupus set five years earlier in celebration of his 70th birthday of 76,280 pounds (34,600 kg) in 27 minutes.[9]

Lupus was a member of Sheriff Joe Arpaio's volunteer posse in Maricopa County, Arizona.[10]


List of acting credit references:[11]


Year Title Role Notes
1964 The Brass Bottle Slave uncredited
1964 Muscle Beach Party Flex Martian credited as Rock Stevens
1964 Hercules and the Tyrants of Babylon Hercules credited as Rock Stevens
1965 Goliath at the Conquest of Damascus Goliath credited as Rock Stevens
1965 Challenge of the Gladiator Spartacus credited as Rock Stevens
1965 Giant of the Evil Island Pedro Valverde credited as Rock Stevens
1983 The Escapist unknown role
1985 Pulsebeat Greg Adonis
1987 Assassination TV Announcer
1989 Think Big Bad Guy #1
1991 Hangfire Sergeant Conlan
1991 Driving Me Crazy GM Boss
1992 The Nutt House Musso
1993 Acting on Impulse Steven Smith
1993 Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings Cockfighter #2
1999 Carol's Wake Uncle Chavy
2012 Mission: Irreparable P.L.
2014 Mission: Imposter President Bush


Year Title Role Notes
1962 I'm Dickens, He's Fenster Dr. Bartless "Nurse Dickens"
1962 The Jack Benny Program Tarzan "Jack Plays Tarzan"
1962 The Joey Bishop Show Willie Foster "Chance of a Lifetime"
1963 The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis Casimir H. Prohosky, Jr. "Beauty Is Only Kin Deep"
1963 The Red Skeleton Hour Roommate/Silent Spot "The Mouth Shall Rise Again"
1966–1973 Mission: Impossible Willy Armitage series regular (161 episodes)
1966 Gypsy Himself "Naura Hayden/Sandy Baron/Peter Lupus"
1968–1975 The Mike Douglas Show Himself 5 episodes
1969 Pay Cards! Himself "08.25.1969"
1970 The Carol Burnett Show Himself (Cameo) "Vikki Carr and Flip Wilson"
1970 Life with Linkletter Himself "Peter Lupus/Morton Hunt"
1970 The Real Tom Kennedy Show Himself "#1.35"
1970–1971 The Merv Griffin Show Himself 2 episodes
1970–1974 Dinah's Place Himself 2 episodes
1971 It's Your Bet Himself "Dan Dailey/Peter Lupus"
1971 The Virginia Graham Show Himself "10.14.1971"
1979 CHiPs Himself "Roller Disco: Part 2"
1980 Fantasy Island Antar Nona/One Million B.C."
1980 The Love Boat Dave Porter 2 episodes
1981 B.J. and the Bear Mose Detective Finger, I Presume"
1982 Police Squad! Norberg 4 episodes
1984 Family Feud Himself 2 episodes
1993 Love, Cheat & Steal Guard #5 TV Movie
1997 Spy Game Mr. White "Why Spy?"


  1. ^ a b Morgan, Gary (November 9, 1973). "Peter Lupus a Natural In Role of Strongman". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. p. B1. Retrieved January 8, 2021.
  2. ^ Peter Nash Lupus naturalization paperwork United States Citizen (1943)
  3. ^ Higgins, Will (January 30, 2018). "Weird lives of Hoosier muscle men: Twiggy's bodyguard, Arnold's template, Mel Brooks' Mongo". Indianapolis Star. Retrieved January 8, 2021.
  4. ^ Newcomb, Horace, ed. (1997). Mission: Impossible. Encyclopedia of Television. Vol. 2. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn. pp. 1062–1064. Retrieved January 8, 2021.
  5. ^ Whitely, Joan (April 15, 1997). "Strongman, actor Peter Lupus finds health his mission in life". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved January 8, 2021.
  6. ^ Rettenmund, Matthew (July 22, 2011). "Not For Ladies Only: It's Hollywood Showtime!". Boy Culture. Retrieved January 8, 2021.
  7. ^ Weldon, Glen (2013). Superman: The Unauthorized Biography. John Wiley & Sons. p. 141. ISBN 978-1-118-48382-4.
  8. ^ Lipton, Glen (July 18, 2007). "Lupus Record". Associated Press. Archived from the original on April 2, 2015 – via HighBeam Research.
  9. ^ Perine, Shawn (June 1, 2007). "Mission: possible". Flex. Archived from the original on April 2, 2015 – via HighBeam Research.
  10. ^ Leibowitz, Barry (November 22, 2010). "Lou Ferrigno, Steven Seagal, Join Sheriff Joe Arpaio's Posse to Crack Down on Illegal Immigrants". CBS News. Retrieved December 11, 2017.
  11. ^ "Peter Lupus". IMDb. Retrieved 2023-06-13.

Further reading[edit]

  • Patrick J. White, The Complete Mission: Impossible Dossier. New York: Avon Books, 1991.

External links[edit]