6 Crazy Facts You Never Knew About Lou Ferrigno

From duelling with Arnie to training Michael Jackson...

Lou Ferrigno as The Incredible Hulk
Jolly green giant Lou Ferrigno all painted up as The Incredible Hulk. Image CBS

Lou Ferrigno is a big TV star in more ways than one.

Famed for playing the raging green monster unleashed from the mild-mannered Bill Bixby in The Incredible Hulk, he’s one of those iconic screen stars who’s instantly recognisable.

But there’s much more to Lou than ‘Hulking Out’ and smashing sh*t up. From duelling with Arnold Schwarzenegger to training Michael Jackson, here are six crazy facts you might not have known about the former Mr Universe.


1

He was nearly assassinated

Well, not quite. But Ferrigno could very well have been in the line of fire had he accepted an invitation from Egyptian President Anwar Sadat to attend an event in 1981. Sadat cancelled the bash at the last minute, but days later he and 12 others were killed by Muslim fundamentalists at a military parade.

The attack was originally due to take place at the earlier event, and with Ferrigno next to Sadat in the seating plan it would’ve been curtains for The Incredible Hulk.

2

He got one over on Arnie

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s rivalry with Ferrigno formed the backbone of the former’s documentary Pumping Iron. Arnie eventually won the Mr Olympia title, but a year later the Austrian Oak lost out to Ferrigno for the role of the Hulk.

Ferrigno, incidentally, only got the part after Bond legend Richard Kiel (of Jaws fame) was axed because he wan’t bulked up enough.

3

He supported Donald Trump

Yes, Ferrigno is a bona fide Donald Trump fan. It probably all stems back to his time on Celebrity Apprentice in 2012, when Trump dismissed him after a boardroom row with comic Lisa Lampanelli. Since Big Lou has a birthday on the same date Trump got elected, there’s clearly going to be a lot of love for the man bound for the White House.

“Donald, all he cares about is our country and keeping our country safe,” Lou later said of Trump’s bid for the White House. Safety is clearly something important to the former Hulk, because…

4

He’s a volunteer sheriff with Steven Seagal

Don’t adjust your monitor. This is a reality. Ferrigno is so keen on law enforcement he’s been sworn in as a reserve sheriff’s deputy in Los Angeles, San Luis Obispo and Ohio.

But that’s not all – his crowning cop achievement must surely be his volunteer role for the Maricopa County, Arizona force. There he shares duties with Steven Seagal and fellow bodybuilder-turned-actor Peter Lupus.

Nothing seems quite as terrifying as the prospect of a bunch of stacked, veteran action stars fighting crime in rural America.

5

Lou Ferrigno was Michael Jackson’s personal trainer

Ferrigno and the King of Pop? That’s an odd couple if ever we saw one, but the ex-Hulk was Michael Jackson’s personal trainer from the early 90s right up to his passing in 2009. Ferrigno was working with Jackson during his rehearsals for his London comeback shows, saying he seemed “stressed out” but still energetic.

“It felt like a tremendous loss. It almost felt to me like 9/11,” Ferrigno said. “It shook the whole world, Michael Jackson just dropping dead.”

6

He’s STILL playing the Hulk

Okay, so Marvel’s current Hulk is Oscar nominated Spotlight star Mark Ruffalo, but hardcore fans will be glad to know that the original star is still involved in the green one’s latest incarnation.

He’s appeared in cameo roles in the two solo Hulk movies, and more recently has been providing uncredited vocal work for the giant green monster. So the next time your hear Hulk work himself into a rage, just remember it might be Lou Ferrigno behind the mic. Even after all these years, the big man’s still got it.

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Loaded digital media manager Simon Reynolds has written about film and entertainment for various leading websites since 2008. Follow Simon at @simonreyn