As a teenager, Ferrigno trained in his home basement in Brooklyn, New York. Ear infections as a youngster caused Ferrigno to suffer permanent hearing loss, but he continued to hear the call of iron and entered his first contest, the 1970 Mr. New Jersey Open Hercules, which was staged in Trenton.
Twenty-one men placed ahead of him, but last place would not last long on Ferrigno’s agenda.
After several more minor contests, Ferrigno switched to the IFBB in 1973, winning the Mr. America and the tall class of the Mr. Universe in Geneva. The next year, he won the Mr. Universe in Verona, Italy.
Then, in the 1975 Mr. Olympia in South Africa, Ferrigno faced Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose physique he had tried to emulate. Ferrigno came in third, and he was done with physique competitions for 17 years, until 1992, when he appeared in Helsinki, finishing 12th in the Olympia.
In 1993, a final try for the Olympia yielded 10th place, so he switched to the Masters Olympia in 1994, but was edged out by Robby Robinson for that inaugural crown. It would be Ferrigno’s last contest.
Ferrigno played the Incredible Hulk on television from 1978-1982, where fits of rage would hurl him from quiet to chaotic when his 6’5” body would explode with green-tinted muscularity.
Other acting appearances have been TV’s Trauma Center in 1983 and several movies including Hercules, Sinbad and Cage.
He also occasionally appeared on the TV show The King of Queens, and he has a role in the new movie release of The Hulk.
Ferrigno married Carla Green on May 30, 1980. They have three children: Shanna, Lou Jr. and Brent.
1971: Pro Mr. America – WBBG, Teen 1st
1971: Teen Mr. America – AAU, 4th, Most Muscular 5th
1972: Pro Mr. America – WBBG, 2nd
1972: NABBA Mr. Universe, Tall 2nd
1973: IFBB Mr. America, Overall Winner
1973: IFBB Mr. Universe, Tall 1st, Overall Winner
1974: IFBB Mr. International
1974: IFBB Mr. Universe, Tall 1st, Overall Winner
1974 Mr. Olympia, Heavyweight 2nd
1975 Mr. Olympia, Tall class, 3rd place
1992 Mr. Olympia, 12th
1993 Mr. Olympia, 10th
1994: Olympia Masters, 2nd