Louis Jude Ferrigno (born November 9, 1951) is an American bodybuilder and actor. Ferrigno has appeared in such TV shows and movies as The Incredible Hulk, Pumping Iron (with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Franco Columbu), Sinbad of the Seven Seas, and, in the title role, Hercules in 1983. He is more recently known for playing a recurring role, as himself, in the sitcom The King of Queens.
After graduating from Brooklyn Technical High School in 1969, Ferrigno won his first major titles, IFBB Mr. America and 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.
Ferrigno competed in the first World's Strongest Man contest in 1977, where he finished fourth in a field of eight competitors. While competing, Ferrigno commonly went to see a physician who checked up on whether he was doing damage to his body.
At his peak, the 6 ft 5 in (195 cm) Ferrigno's contest weight was 285 lb (130 kg) and he was one of the tallest professional bodybuilders at that time. While he never bested Schwarzenegger in bodybuilding, Ferrigno did have one triumph over his Austrian rival: the role of the Hulk on the 1970s television series. Only because Arnold was not tall enough , the producers stated.
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.
He made a cameo in the 2003 film Hulk as a security guard, including one deleted scene. He has also done guest appearances and advertisements. He again appeared as a security guard in 2008's The Incredible Hulk, as well as voicing the Hulk in the film after being publicly offered at the 2008 New York Comic Con by The Incredible Hulk director Louis Leterrier.
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.
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 appears in the NBC series Windfall, as well as the telemovie Within, and in 2005 she appeared in the E! reality TV series, Filthy Rich: Cattle Drive. Louis, Jr. was a linebacker for the University of Southern California Trojans football team.
After co-starring in three The Incredible Hulk made for TV movies with series' lead, Bill Bixby, he received word that his friend had died on November 21, 1993, and had attended his friend's funeral, a week later in Hawaii.
Ferrigno played himself during intermittent guest appearances on the CBS television show, The King of Queens, beginning in 2000 and continuing until the program's conclusion in 2007. He (along with his wife Carla) is the Heffernans' next-door neighbor. 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.
In February 2006 he was sworn in as a Los Angeles County reserve sheriff's deputy. In June 2006, Ferrigno attended the first Bionicon in Tampa, Florida, and in April 2007, He attended the second Calgary Comic Expo in Calgary, Alberta.
He still trains daily and also sells his own line of fitness equipment through his company, Ferrigno Fitness.
Ferrigno currently lives in Arroyo Grande, California.