By: Scott RossPublished: November 9, 2022

Lou Ferrigno

Lou Ferrigno was born on November 9, 1951, in Brooklyn, New York. As a young child, he suffered a series of ear infections that cost him most of his hearing, which in turn made difficult his speech development. Throughout his youth he suffered mountains of abuse at the hands of his peers, from physical intimidation to taunts about him being "deaf" and "mute." Lou finally said fuck this noise when he was thirteen and began working out like a beast, lifting weights he made out of broomsticks and buckets of cement. Ferrigno was officially done taking shit off of anybody. Except, well, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Ferrigno was originally inspired by the musclebound Hercules star Steve Reeves, but in 1969 he attended a bodybuilding competition featuring one Arnold Schwarzenegger. Here was a man Ferrigno could emulate. Standing at 6-foot-5, Ferrigno was something of a unicorn in the world of bodybuilding, but in the 6-foot-2 Schwarzenegger he saw a fellow giant who was as ripped as anybody.

Ferrigno won a series of lesser titles throughout the late '60s and early '70s, and eventually wound up living in Ohio, where he trained alongside his hero. The two men faced off in the 1974 Mr. Olympia competition, with Ferrigno finishing second, while Arnold won for the fifth year in a row, whereupon he announced his retirement and desire to focus on acting.

But Schwarzenegger was convinced to come out of his Brady-esque retirement so that his quest for a sixth Mr. Olympia title could be filmed for a documentary called Pumping Iron. In addition to being mainstream America's first big exposure to the world of bodybuilding, the film also showcased the psychological cruelty Arnie inflicted on Lou in an effort to break his spirit, going as far as telling Lou on the morning of the competition that he'd already called his mother and told her he'd won. Spoiler alert: he won, while Lou finished third.

Despite his newfound fame and reasonable success, Ferrigno still had to keep his job as a sheet metal worker and tried his hand in the Canadian Football League, before getting cast in the title role of "The Incredible Hulk" TV series. The show lasted five seasons and made Ferrigno beloved to Gen-X kids everywhere.

Since then, Ferrigno has acted on and off, worked as a personal trainer, dabbled in law enforcement, and in 2018 was appointed by Donald Trump to the President's Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition.

Ferrigno is now 70 years old and is still way more jacked than you'll ever be.

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