Mark Forest was the second American bodybuilder after Steve Reeves to achieve stardom in Italy doing low-budget, sword-and-sandal, muscleman movies. Born Louis Lorenzo Degni in Brooklyn, NY, he moved to California at the age of 19 and became part of the bodybuilding scene in Muscle Beach. He worked for a time as part of Mae West's celebrated beefcake-laden stage act, won competitions, and was eventually cast in the second muscleman film to come out of Italy in the late '50s: Goliath and the Dragon (aka The Revenge of Hercules). It was for that movie that he was told to change his name to the more American-sounding Mark Forest. He later made his name in the role of the hero known as Maciste (who was often renamed Hercules or Atlas in U.S. releases) in such movies as Maciste, Strongest Gladiator in the World, Maciste and the Valley of Kings, Hercules Against the Sons of the Sun, The Terror of Rome Against the Son of Hercules, and -- best of them all -- The Lion of Thebes. Forest even starred in one Egyptian-made sword-and-sandal title, Kindar the Invulnerable. In more recent years, he has worked as a singer, voice teacher, and personal trainer.