The Brooklyn Daily Eagle ran a great piece today on actor, fitness consultant, former professional bodybuilder and Bensonhurst native Lou Ferrigno.
Ferrigno was born on November 9, 1951 to Victoria and Matt Ferrigno, an NYPD lieutenant.
He attended Saint Athanasius Elementary School and, despite a hearing disability which affected his speech, went on to the elite Brooklyn Technical High School and in adulthood lives the charmed life of an international celebrity.
As a young bodybuilder, Ferrigno quickly became a champion of the sport, winning every major title. After a brief career in football – voluntarily cut short after accidentally breaking another player’s legs during a game – he won a role in the 1977 Arnold Schwarzenegger film Pumping Iron, which began his career as an actor.
From the Eagle:
He landed the role of Bill Bixby’s snarling alter-ego in “The Incredible Hulk,” which was first seen as a TV movie in November 1977 and became a hit series the following spring. A movie version was made of the Jekyll-Hyde type story in which Bill Bixby turns into a powerful seven-foot monster (Ferrigno) when enraged. This film was followed by TV feature sequels: “The Return of the Hulk” (1977), “The Incredible Hulk Returns” (1988) and “The Trial of the Incredible Hulk” (1989).
After achieving worldwide fame from The Incredible Hulk, Ferrigno fully committed himself to addressing a speech impediment that had plagued him since childhood.
At a young age, the actor had lost 60 percent of his hearing to an inner ear infection. He had a halting speech pattern typical of children who are unable to hear the sound of their own voice as they develop the ability to speak.
Like the disciplined athlete that he is, Ferrigno worked day and night to improve his speech, appearing at a myriad of public speaking engagements and TV talk shows in order to practice. He eventually became a spokesperson for hearing and speech impairment advocacy groups.
And let’s not forget his seven year stint on The King of Queens…