Louis Jude “Lou” Ferrigno is an American actor, fitness trainer, fitness 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 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.
After graduating from 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. The documentary made Ferrigno famous.
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. During competition, Ferrigno at 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) weighed 285 lb (130 kg) in 1975, and 315 lb (142 kg) in 1992. Ferrigno competed in the first annual World’s Strongest Man competition in 1977, where he finished fourth in a field of eight competitors. 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, 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. In 1977, Ferrigno was cast as the Hulk in The Incredible Hulk. Ferrigno and Bill Bixby – who played the Hulk’s “normal” alter ego – became 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. 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 1983, Ferrigno appeared as John Six on the short-lived medical drama Trauma Center. 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.
Ferrigno trained Michael Jackson on and off since the early 1990s, and in 2009, he helped Jackson get into shape for a planned series of concerts in London. 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. In 2010, Ferrigno appeared in “My Two Chads”, an episode of Sonny with a Chance, appearing as himself in an episode of the fictional series MacKenzie Falls. He also voices the character Billy the Hero in the animated series Adventure Time. Ferrigno’s voice was utilized (in composite) for the Hulk in the 2012 film The Avengers and its 2015 sequel Avengers: Age of Ultron. In 2014, Ferrigno appeared as Zaminhon, the Orion slave trader, in the Star Trek Continues episode Lolani. In 2016, Ferrigno appeared as a playable Lego version of himself in Lego Marvel’s Avengers