"Ferrigno" redirects here. For the Italian wine grape also known as Ferrigno, see Cesanese Comune.

Louis Jude "Lou" Ferrigno (born November 9, 1951[1]) is an American actor, fitness trainer/consultant, and retired professional bodybuilder. Ferrigno won an IFBB Mr. America title and two consecutive IFBB Mr. Universe titles. He appeared in the television series The Incredible Hulk (playing David Banner's bulky alter ego, the Hulk), the bodybuilding documentary Pumping Iron, European-produced fantasy-adventures including Sinbad of the Seven Seas and Hercules, and most recently in the 2009 comedy I Love You, Man. He had a recurring role, as himself, in the sitcom The King of Queens.

Early life

Ferrigno was born in Brooklyn, New York to Matt Ferrigno, an Italian American New York City Police Department Lieutenant, and his mother Victoria.[2] As an infant, he suffered an ear infection and lost some of his hearing.[3] Ferrigno started weight training at age 13, citing body builder and Hercules star Steve Reeves as one of his role models.[4]


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. 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.[citation needed]

Ferrigno competed in the first World's Strongest Man contest in 1977, where he finished fourth in a field of eight competitors.[5] While competing, Ferrigno regularly went to see a physician who checked up on whether he was doing damage to his body.

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 quick shot of Kiel remains in the pilot movie. Although he did not share a line with Bixby on the set (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 death, 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. Early in his career he lived in Columbus and trained with Arnold Schwarzenegger.

During competition, Lou Ferrigno weighed 285 lb (130 kg) in 1975,[3] and 316 lb (143 kg) in 1992; at Script error[3] he was one of the tallest professional bodybuilders at that time. He currently stands Script error.

File:Ferrigno as Hulk.jpg

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.

2000s work

He made a cameo in the 2003 film Hulk as a security guard and was in one deleted scene. He has also done guest appearances and advertisements, including one for LongHorn Steakhouse.

He again appeared as a security guard in 2008's feature film The Incredible Hulk as well as voicing the Hulk. Furthermore, Ferrigno has been the favorite choice to play the voice of the Hulk in several animated adaptations as well as in the most recent film after being publicly offered at the 2008 New York Comic Con by The Incredible Hulk director Louis Leterrier.[6]

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

Carla Ferrigno told Reuters that her husband had been helping Michael Jackson train in advance of his 2009-2010 concerts at the time of his death. Jackson and Ferrigno have worked together in the past.[7]

Ferrigno took part in a Smosh video where he is tracked down by one of Smosh's members, Anthony, in Hollywood. The skit ends with Ferrigno knocking Anthony unconscious, due to Ian claiming that Anthony stole Lou's Butterfinger.

Ferrigno stated in an interview that he would be involved in The Avengers (2012) movie.[8]

Personal life

File:Lou Ferrigno.jpg

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."[3]

Ferrigno's personal heroes as a child were Spider-Man and the Hulk.[9] Appropriately, he would later play the role of the Hulk himself in the Incredible Hulk television series and related TV movies.[10] 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.

He 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.[11]

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.

Ferrigno once used his celebrity status to make calls for Hollywood is Calling, a company which allows people to have a celebrity call them on a special occasion, such as a birthday.[12]

In February 2006 he was sworn in as a Los Angeles County, California reserve sheriff's deputy.[13] In June 2006, Ferrigno attended the first Bionicon in Tampa, Florida, one of his many convention appearances.

He still trains daily and also sells his own line of fitness equipment through his company, Ferrigno Fitness. In a January 2009 taping, Ferrigno Fitness provided equipment to The Price Is Right, hosted by Drew Carey for use as a One Bid prize, and he demonstrated the equipment himself, including a mention as part of the prize.

He was also great friends with Michael Jackson. Before Jackson's death, they had been collaborating to prepare for Jackson's concert This Is It, a planned series of fifty concerts by Michael Jackson to be held at The O2 arena in London.

Ferrigno currently lives in Santa Monica, California.


Template:Infobox bodybuilder

Magazine covers

Total: 37

  • 10 Muscle & Fitness ('82, '83, '86, '87, '88, '89, '93, '94)
  • 8 Flex ('83, '85, '89, '92, '93, '94)
  • 7 Muscle Builder ('74, '77, '79, '80)
  • 4 Iron Man ('73, '88, '92, '94)
  • 2 Bodybuilding Lifestyle ('91, '92)
  • 2 Muscle Mag International ('83, '94)
  • 2 Muscular Development ('81, '09)
  • 1 Muscle Training Illustrated ('72)
  • 1 Natural Bodybuilding ('83)
  • 1 Strength & Health ('83)




  1. 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",, Accessed 2007-01-01). The results were reported in the July 1973 issue of Muscle magazine ("Lou Ferigno, Mr Universe, 1973". Some sources report a birthdate in 1952, but in that case Ferrigno would not have turned 21 until November 1973. See also "History of Mr. Olympia: Lou Ferrigno".
  2. Jim Schmaltz (February 2004). Matt Ferrigno: 1925-2003. Flex. Accessed 2008-08-01.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Biography. Version of February 20, 2006 available at Accessed 2007-06-23.
  4. David Robson. The Incredible Hulk Returns: Lou Ferrigno Speaks About His Role & Acting Life!. Accessed 2008-08-01.
  5. Bonnie Siegler. Fame & Fortune: Lou Ferrigno. Accessed 2008-08-01.
  6. Jeff Otto (May 27, 2008). Special Report: "Hulk" Edit Bay Visit. Dark Horizons. Accessed 2008-05-27.
  7. Dobuzinskis, Alex (June 19, 2009). "The Hulk trains Michael Jackson ahead of London concerts". Reuters. Retrieved June 19, 2009. 
  8. YouTube (2008-12-16). "Nuke The Fridge Interviews Lou Ferrigno". YouTube. Retrieved 2009-05-16. 
  9. The Incredible Lou.
  10. Lou Ferrigno - The Incredible Hulk
  11. Player Bio: Lou Ferrigno Jr. Accessed 2007-01-01.
  12. • A Humble Calling
  13. Lou Ferrigno becomes reserve LA County sheriff's deputy (February 13, 2006) AP. Accessed 2008-08-01.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 14.5 14.6 14.7 14.8 History of Mr. Olympia: Lou Ferrigno. Accessed 2007-01-01.
  15. 15.0 15.1 "History of the Men's World Amateur Championships". Accessed 2007-01-01.

External links

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ar:لو فيريغنو

da:Lou Ferrignoit:Lou Ferrigno he:לו פריגנו nl:Lou Ferrignopl:Lou Ferrignoru:Феррино, Лу fi:Lou Ferrigno sv:Lou Ferrigno tr:Lou Ferrigno uk:Лу Ферріньйо

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