Say, Lou Ferrigno, did you happen to have any interesting celebrity encounters back when you were starring opposite Bill Bixby on “The Incredible Hulk” TV show?
“When I was doing the third season of the show, I was sitting in my trailer in full makeup and there’s a knock on the door. An older guy walks in with glasses and gray hair and a kid with him. He said, ‘My name is Cary Grant — can I please take a picture with you?’ I was floored.”
Decades might have passed since Ferrigno’s encounter with the legendary actor, but for many fans, Ferrigno, in all his massive, green-body-paint glory, remains the physical manifestation of Marvel’s big mean machine. The character looms large for the actor as well.
“It began with me as the Hulk,” Ferrigno said in an interview with Hero Complex. “I was the first to bring superhero muscles to the screen and to make it more believable. There’s still people who prefer to watch the old show over the newer things because it’s real, not CGI.”
A bodybuilder who was influenced by Stan Lee’s and Jack Kirby’s creation long before he lifted a barbell, Ferrigno has been seen over the years in numerous episodes of “The King of Queens,” has appeared on stage and recently wrapped a role in the upcoming “The Scorpion King” film with Rutger Hauer, among others. He even fought real crime as a reserve deputy sheriff in Los Angeles for almost a decade.
Yet Ferrigno said it’s been the Hulk that’s brought him some of his greatest moments professionally.
“The truth is, I’ve been the Hulk my whole life,” he said. “The Hulk was the beginning of me, a platform as an actor to grow. I don’t think anybody else can play the Hulk like I could. I was able to show emotions even with all of the makeup. I don’t think it can be duplicated.”
For Joss Whedon’s 2012 hit “The Avengers,” Ferrigno provided the voice of the CG-rendered Hulk, even calling Tom Hiddleston’s Loki a “puny god” at one point.
He’s still acting in other projects in addition to promoting healthy lifestyles through his FerrignoFit.com site. (Marvel icon Stan Lee will help induct Ferrigno into the Muscle Beach Hall of Fame on Monday.)
Asked about the character’s enduring appeal, Ferrigno responded: “He’s green, so every nationality embraces the Hulk. He’s angry, and everyone can relate to that and wish that they could throw a car around sometimes.
“The greatest thing of all, though, is that it continues generation after generation.”
— Jevon Phillips
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