Lou Ferrigno is a sweet, civil hulk of man.
I interviewed TV’s “Incredible Hulk” at the Hyatt restaurant when he was here for Wizard World Comic Con. At the end of our interview, Ferrigno took a photo with a GdB PR fan and then gave me a warm embrace. It was enjoyable if you like being enveloped by a gigantic contoured muscle, and I did.
Bill Cosby probably shouldn’t expect a hug, but the disgraced comedian apparently wouldn’t bring out the “Incredible Hulk” in Ferrigno.
In 2014, Ferrigno’s wife, Carla Ferrigno, revealed that in 1967 when she was single and known as Carla Green, Cosby forced himself on her when she was invited to his home by a mutual friend. She didn’t think she would be believed, but when more women started telling similar stories (the number is now over 50), she decided to speak out a couple of years ago.
Ferrigno had a very charitable response when I asked about Cosby. He was playful when talking about his late friend Michael Jackson, and he even did something memorable when I asked if he could wiggle his pecs like Terry Crews.
Q: Who’s your second favorite super hero? I think I know your favorite.
A: I think you’re right. I would say Superman. I grew up with Superman when he was on the TV series. That was my first love of a super hero.
Q: What super power do you wish you had?
A: To read people’s minds. [Intent smile.]
Q: How do you think your career would have been different if you hadn’t had hearing issues? (Ferrigno is an icon in the deaf community for what he has accomplished as a result of a profound hearing loss believed to have been the result of a childhood infection that was not properly treated.)
A: I would not have come as far as I have now. I probably would have been a carpenter or sanitation worker. It forced me to work harder than the average person to succeed. That’s why I had all these dreams, when I was young … being the Hulk, being Hercules, being an actor, an entrepreneur and worldwide motivational speaker. When I was younger I had difficulties articulating and speaking.
Q: Are you watching Nyle DiMarco, the completely deaf contestant, who is the best dancer on “Dancing With The Stars?” Could you do that?
A: Yes. But he’s a lot younger than me … I have to give him tremendous credit because people don’t realize what it takes. He’s had to work five times harder than the average person dancing to perform like that.
Q: Terry Crews, the guy in the Old Spice commercial who used to play in the NFL, is always making his pecs wiggle. Do you make your pecs move?
A: I don’t think I want to do that. But if somebody challenges me to do it, I’ll just do it. [Then he does it.]
Q: How do you guys do that?
A: It’s easy. I think it’s years of working out. You do a lot of chest work, you have control of the muscle.
Q: You know, women can’t do that, I don’t think.
A: Some can. If you look at female body builders, I’m sure they can.
Q: Do you ever break things around your house because you don’t know your own strength?
A: Sometimes. [Smile] I have a lot of antiques in my house. sometimes I’m walking, because of my size [items get bumped]. If I have to turn a screw, sometimes I turn it too tight. I snap it. My wife’s not happy about that.
Q: Has anyone ever tried to lift you off the floor?
A: Yes. Other guys my size.
Q: What time do you get up in the morning to start your regimen. You clearly are still in the gym every day.
A: I just finished working out today at 12:30. I go to the gym in the morning by 8 o’clock. I like to train for an hour, 30 minutes with weights and 30 minutes with cardio.
Q: Do any of the costumes worn at Comic Con ever scare you?
A: One time a guy came to Comic Con and he had a big mask on and he looked like something out of the “Predator” movie and kept making these [spooky] sounds. And I kept saying, “Excuse me.” Then he came back again two or three hours later, making these weird sounds. I kind of ignored it, but I found out the next day it was Michael Jackson playing a prank on me. It was Michael Jackson in a costume at the comic convention. Yes. Yes. I was so mad at him.
Q: You knew him socially, I imagine?
A: I trained him for 20 years.
Q: Michael Jackson didn’t look like he ever exercised. He was so skinny.
A: He liked flexibility, not heavy weights, the stamina and also conditioning [were important to Jackson]. We were very close. He came to my private gym and I would train him. We were like two kids. Michael Jackson was one of my favorite people.
Q: Did you ever meet Prince?
A: No, but I always wanted to. I didn’t know he was 5-3. He was a little guy.
Q: Yeah. Those high heels and splits are what caused the hip pain.
A: I think so. It’s a shame he passed.
Q: Would you like to go Incredible Hulk and MMA on Bill Cosby?
A: I can’t speak for my wife. I know she had her situation with him. I think [Cosby’s] got his own set of problems. I don’t have to point the finger at people. People are responsible for their own actions.
Q: Do you believe the women or Bill Cosby?
A: The women. You are talking about more than 10 or 15 women. There’s got to be some truth to it.
Interviews are edited. To contact C.J., try firstname.lastname@example.org and to see her watch Fox 9’s “Jason Show.”