The Mean, Green, Fighting Machine

The Incredible Hulk (Photo courtesy of CBS Photo Archive); Lou Ferrigno (Photo by Luigi Novi)

Lou Ferrigno, who is best known for playing the green-skinned and muscular humanoid creature simply known as the Hulk on the 1970s television show The Incredible Hulk, had fans of all ages lining up to meet him at last Sunday’s Eternal Con at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

Ferrigno, who is a native New Yorker himself, looked forward to meeting his fans and peers alike at last week’s comic con.

“I’ve never done a show or a comic convention on Long Island and especially since I’m from Brooklyn, it’s basically in my backyard,” said Ferrigno. “I’m excited to meet all my peers and their friends and my fans.”

Overall, visiting New York brings back a lot of good memories for Ferrigno who said that New York will always be a part of him since you can take the man out of Brooklyn but you can never take Brooklyn out of the man.

The former bodybuilder said attending comic cons such as Eternal Con is extremely gratifying.

“It gives me a chance to relive my childhood because when I was a kid I never had a convention like this to go to,” explained Ferrigno. “Growing up I had low self-esteem, I was bullied and I was very introverted. So I would have given anything to go to a convention where I feel that I can feel like someone or somebody. So when I meet people who went through the same thing [being bullied] and see a smile on their face—it’s all about that positive reinforcement.”

Forty-seven years later, Ferrigno is still amazed at how popular the Hulk truly is.

“I was the Hulk my whole life. I knew how to play the Hulk and it became the most beloved character in every country in the world. I had the chance to visit the entire world and visit different countries so it was great.”

Ferrigno recalls his favorite moment on set of The Incredible Hulk when he came face to face with a Hollywood legend who wanted to meet him.

“I was in a motorhome and someone knocked at the door,” said Ferrigno. “A famous movie star named Cary Grant came to my motorhome once to take a picture with me with his nephew because of how popular the show was. I was so ecstatic because that was the highest respect I could receive as an actor on the show.”

Ferrigno also recalls working with Bill Bixby, who played Dr. David Banner, the widowed physician and presumed dead scientist who turns into the Hulk when he becomes angry due to an experiment gone wrong with gamma radiation.

“He was like a second father to me and like a mentor because you spend more time on the series than being at home,” explained Ferrigno. “So I learned a lot from him. I used to watch him and I was a fan of his especially from his previous TV series. I loved the guy because he was such a joy to work with and he was a wonderful director as well.”

Besides being known as the green creature who possessed immense physical strength dependent on how angered he was, Ferrigno is also known as the youngest person ever to win two executive IFBB Mr. Universe titles at the age of 21 and also won the IFBB Mr. America title.

Ferrigno attributes his body building awards and great shape to his strict discipline and regimen routine.

“I’m the only actor that has the muscles without the costume,” joked Ferrigno. “That’s why working out in Brooklyn, we didn’t have the fancy machines but that’s where it all started. I started working out in my basement when I was just 12-years-old.”

Because Ferrigno was poor growing up, he improvised and made his own workout equipment out of cement blocks.

Over the years, the Hulk’s appearance has changed drastically thanks to the latest technology. Ferrigno, who collaborated on voicing the Hulk for the recent films Avengers: Age of Ultron and Thor: Ragnarok, says it’s weird to see the CGI version of his character.

“You can’t compare the CGI to the human Hulk,” said Ferrigno. “I enjoyed the film but it was hard for me to look at the CGI because it’s not quite the same but I thought they did a great job at it on the big screen.”

Ferrigno’s career has placed him in more than 40 films and various guest spots on different television shows. Most might remember seeing Ferrigno on the CBS comedy The King of Queens where he played himself.

“I did a movie called The Godson with Rodney Dangerfield and one of the producers for The King of Queens [was working on the film], so they asked me to be on the show as the neighbor,” said Ferrigno. “I thought why not? I’ll play myself and live my everyday life, which is the same thing. I had a blast because it was one of my favorite series that I’ve been a part of.”

Not only is Ferringo a famed actor and bodybuilder, he is also involved with law enforcement.

“I’ve been a deputy sheriff for the past 14 years,” explained Ferrigno. “I went through the academy because my father was a NYPD lieutenant so I ended up going into law enforcement and became a certified deputy sheriff in my spare time. I help save people’s lives and protect life and property.”

Ferrigno is also developing a new television show that he’s excited for everyone to see. He is currently filming a new television series called Pumped.

“It’s going to be like the new Celebrity Apprentice, but for fitness and bodybuilding.”

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Anthony Murray
Anthony Murray is a co-managing editor of Anton Media Group and is also the editor of Long Island Weekly, the Mineola American and New Hyde Park Illustrated News.

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