Bodybuilders Through the Ages

Over the past 150 years, bodybuilders have gone from circus sideshows to celebrities, imparting fitness lessons along the way

Jack LaLanne (1914 - 2011) (Bettmann / Corbis)
smithsonian.com

Lou Ferrigno

Lou Ferrigno
(Maura McCarthy)

A childhood illness caused Ferrigno to lose most of his hearing, making him the target of schoolyard bullies. He consequently started developing his body to gain some respect. The 6-foot-5, 285-pound bodybuilder went on to win two consecutive Mr. Universe titles and to play Dr. David Banner’s verdant alter ego in The Incredible Hulk television series. In addition to acting and working as a personal trainer to such Hollywood celebrities as Michael Jackson and Mickey Rourke, Ferrigno has spent his time as a motivational speaker, reaching out to people with hearing impairments.

About Jesse Rhodes

Jesse Rhodes is a former Smithsonian magazine staffer. Jesse was a contributor to the Library of Congress World War II Companion.

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