To a legion of television viewers who grew up in the '70s and early '80s, musclebound bodybuilder-turned-actor Lou Ferrigno was The Incredible Hulk. It was as an infant that the future muscle man developed a debilitating ear infection that resulted in some notable hearing loss, though instead of viewing it as a disability, the driven youngster used the loss as a means to maximize his potential in other arenas. At the age of 21, Ferrigno became the youngest contender ever to win the Mr. Universe title, and with a second consecutive win the following year, he became the only man ever to win the Mr. Universe competition two years in a row. The later part of Ferrigno's remarkable career in bodybuilding can be witnessed firsthand as he unsuccessfully faced off against then up-and-comer Arnold Schwarzenegger in the absorbing cult documentary Pumping Iron.
It was around the mid-'70s that Ferrigno decided to expand his horizons into the realm of acting with starring roles in Arsenic and Old Lace and Requiem for a Heavyweight, earning him particularly positive critical notice. A leap to the small-screen in The Incredible Hulk found Ferrigno ideally cast as the raging alter ego of mild-mannered scientist Bruce Banner, a role that he would continue to play until the show drew to a close in 1982. A mere year later, Ferrigno made the leap to the big-screen with Hercules, though the remainder of the decade he would reprise both roles in such efforts as The Adventures of Hercules and The Incredible Hulk Returns. As his career dried up a bit in the '90s, the old green meanie would continue to land work in such efforts as the 1996 animated series The Incredible Hulk. After appearing opposite former Batman stars Adam West and Burt Ward in the 2002 feature From Heaven to Hell, Ferrigno's involvement in the 2003 feature Hulk was relegated to a cameo appearance. Reunited with former competitor Schwarzenegger for the 2002 follow-up documentary Raw Iron: The Making of Pumping Iron, Ferrigno got the last laugh by appearing noticeably larger than the man who had previously dethroned him at the 1975 Mr. Olympia competition.Though not an actor by trade,Ferrigno continued to appear frequently in film and television in such efforts as the 2009 comedy I Love You, Man.