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Fame & Fortune
Lou Ferrigno
Actor reprises role as hefty, green Hulk
Celebrity interview

Fame & Fortune: Lou Ferrigno

Lou Ferrigno is an imposing figure at 6 feet 4 inches tall and weighing 260 pounds. Born Louis Jude Ferrigno in Brooklyn, N.Y., "Big Lou" as he was called, began working out with weights at age 13. He started competing in bodybuilding contests after graduating Brooklyn Tech High School in 1969.

In 1973, he won Mr. America and the Mr. Universe contest, at age 21 became the youngest ever to hold the Mr. Universe title. In 1977 he came in fourth in the first World's Strongest Man competition.

He also played in the Canadian Football League, and it was there that Ferrigno came to the attention of Hollywood producer Kenneth Johnson. Johnson was looking for a large, muscular man who could morph into a big, lethal green machine in TV's "The Incredible Hulk."

Now living in Santa Monica, Calif., Ferrigno still trains at his home gym and helps others achieve their fitness goals with his personal training methods and motivational speeches. He has also proven himself to be a successful author, penning two books, one chronicling his bodybuilding knowledge and the other about his life playing The Incredible Hulk.

Still an icon, his Web site is visited by hundreds every day. And he still dabbles in acting, recently with a recurring role on "King of Queens" and with a part in the upcoming "The Incredible Hulk" remake.

Bankrate: Did the producers approach you to become involved in this remake or did you go to them?

Lou Ferrigno: They were happy to have me in the movie because I'm the original Hulk and they wanted me to be a part of the new movie. They were excited for me to be onboard and so was I.

Bankrate: What was your highest weight when competing?

Lou Ferrigno: I was 335 pounds when I competed years ago and came back from bodybuilding competitions in off season. I was on stage at 325 with 2-percent body fat.

Bankrate: Did you take anything from your competition days to use as the Hulk?

Lou Ferrigno: Yes, learning how to control my muscles and learning how to maximize my muscle mass. When I did the TV show, I had a chance to explore and work on my body to connect to the Hulk character.

Bankrate: Did playing the Hulk on TV more or less help you obtain financial security?

Lou Ferrigno: I didn't make a lot of money competing, and "Pumping Iron" was actually a documentary on the bodybuilding life so I didn't make money there. So I guess the Hulk provided me with security and being able to provide for my family. And I have my private fitness training, too.

Next: "People like talking to me and I like helping and motivating people."
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