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Preparing For Wizard World Con With Lou Ferrigno

Carlos Osorio
AP Images
Lou Ferrigno, who played The Incredible Hulk, will attend this year's Pittsburgh Wizard Comic Con.
Who doesn't love the Hulk? - Lou Ferrigno

Don’t make him angry. You wouldn’t like him when he is angry.

Lou Ferrigno, famous for playing the Incredible Hulk from the 1978 series of the same name, will be appearing in Pittsburgh this weekend for the upcoming Wizard World Comic Con. But before going there, he came to Pittsburgh Essential to talk about some of the history behind his most famous role, as well as his lesser known ones.

Playing the Hulk was Ferrigno’s first break into the industry of TV and film. He had only previously appeared in the body building documentary “Pumping Iron.”

“It was like a dream come true,” Ferrigno said. As a child, Ferrigno lost most of his hearing and became very introverted. His one escape, he says, was reading comic books like “The Incredible Hulk.”

“I was like a real life Walter Mitty,” Ferrigno said.

The chance to play one of his childhood heroes was not the only reason Ferrigno was excited about the role. Bill Bixby, who played the Hulk’s human half David Banner, was one of Ferrigno’s favorite actors. The two developed a fast friendship on set and maintained a close relationship, despite rarely ever appearing on camera together.

That is not to say everything about playing the character was wonderful. It took four hours to apply the Hulk make up, Ferrigno said, and he would constantly have to get touch ups throughout the day. However, the fact he got the role in the first place was something of a miraculous chance. The role was originally given to Richard Keel. But when the son of the show’s director said Keel didn’t look like the Hulk, a casting call was put out for a new person to play the big green guy. 24 hours later and Ferrigno had the role.

Today, Ferrigno is still playing the Hulk, lending his voice to the character in the “Avengers” films.

“If it wasn’t for the success of the hulk at the beginning, you would not have seen the success of the super heroes today,” Ferrigno says.

While he has heard the same jokes time after time, Ferrigno says the constant hulk references have never gotten old

“Who doesn’t love the Hulk?” Ferrigno said. All it means is that people still remember him and were touched by his acting.

While the Hulk is his most famous role, Ferrigno has held many other roles and jobs in his life time. He was a contestant on “Celebrity Apprentice”, played as a defensive line man on the Toronto Argonauts football team, worked as a body builder for many years and even won several Mr. America and Mr. Universe contests.

As for the future, Ferrigno says he would like to act in a sitcom again. The actor famously played himself in “King of Queens,” acting as the neighbor to the main characters. But now, he’s just happy to meet and greet his fans at the many conventions across the country.