Lou Ferrigno is a Real-Life Superhero Amongst Us: How Childhood Disabilities Shaped His Mr. Universe Persona
Above all else that Lou Ferrigno is known for, he is a real life superhero. Not simply because he played one on the big screen in The Incredible Hulk or The Avengers. Nor because he has held the Guinness World Record for Youngest Mr. Universe for 40 years! But rather because within his own life, Ferrigno has overcome every obstacle thrown his way.
Ferrigno suffered a series of ear infections when he was an infant, causing him to lose 75 percent of his hearing. That disadvantage made the star an introverted youngster who, he claims, “wanted to build [his] self-esteem” in order to become a strong, confident man. Fortunately, disabilities do not mean impossibilities for this larger than life personality.
Ferrigno started to weight train at 13 years old, throwing himself head first into athletics, pushing himself to be the superheroes he idolized in comic books and on television. Ferrigno describes how he turned to The Incredible Hulk and Superman for inspiration because he wanted to be just like one of them. When asked who he thinks children can look up to today, he cites himself, noting that he “gave [himself] respect because I wanted to be a hero.”
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