Film and TV star Lou Ferrigno — best known for his iconic portrayal of the title hero in the classic 70s show The Incredible Hulk — was sworn in as an honorary police constable in Hamilton on Friday.
Ferrigno is already a deputy sheriff in California and Ohio, but this is the first time he’s been given the honour in Canada.
“I was always fascinated with law enforcement, because it’s all about protecting life and property,” Ferrigno told CBC News, just before being sworn in by Hamilton Police Chief Glenn De Caire.
“That’s why I’ve played a sheriff in my career as a film actor,” Ferrigno said. “But I’ve always wanted to do the real deal.”
And in the U.S., he is. Ferrigno, much like Steven Seagal before him, does real police work stateside, like criminal investigations and weapons training. His new honorary constable status in Hamilton is a more symbolic gesture, as the hulking bodybuilder won’t actually carry out any real police work here.
Hamilton police Const. Greg Slack orchestrated the 62-year-old actor’s new police status as part of the local Crime Stoppers “be a hero” campaign, which works to stamp out crime and bullying.
“When we came up with the hero campaign a year ago, never in my wildest dreams did I think we’d be endorsed and backed by a Marvel superhero,” Slack said.
“It blows my mind. I feel like a little kid today.”
Ferrigno is from Brooklyn, New York, and his father was an NYPD lieutenant. Not long after he was born, Ferrigno suffered a series of serious ear infections that robbed him of 75 per cent of his hearing.
The bullying he faced from other kids because of his speech and hearing pushed him into bodybuilding, and eventually, made him the perfect choice to play one of the Marvel comics universe's most iconic characters because of the way he could emote without speaking.
That, and the fact that he’s huge.
“The Hulk became the biggest franchise, all over the world,” Ferrigno said. “Every country embraces the Hulk. The Hulk releases our anger, our pain.”
And though the Hulk has long since moved on to a massive, computer generated version of the character in the movies, Ferrigno is still playing the voice of the jolly green giant in the Hulk films and in the upcoming Avengers sequel, Age of Ultron.
“We’re doing another Hulk movie next year, a solo Hulk movie,” he told CBC News on Friday. But the world still needs the real life version, too, he says. “The CGI can’t sign autographs — that’s why I’m over here,” he laughed. “The truth is, nothing compares to the original Hulk.
“The important thing is it brings a lot of happiness to people. We all have that demon inside of us, and we express it with the Hulk.”
Ferrigno is appearing on Saturday at the second annual Hamilton Comic Convention at the Hamilton Convention Centre. He’ll be appearing alongside Julie Newmar (who played Catwoman in the classic 60s Batman TV show) and Ken Osmond (who played Eddie Haskell on Leave It to Beaver).