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Top Bodybuilders Who Became Hollywood Stars

Bodybuilders aren’t always respected or even noticed by the general public. Their sculpted frames make them stand out in a crowd, but only fans of the sport know them by name.

That’s unless they manage to become Hollywood actors. Then they can stand tall among the likes of Arnold Swarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno.

They become major names who are known as much for their bodies as for their acting skills. They can enjoy a successful career both in the sport and on the screen.

Like and subscribe to Facts Verse for more on these uniquely talented celebrities. Keep watching to learn about the top bodybuilders who became Hollywood stars.

Steve Reeves

Steve is often called the King of Bodybuilding. He also has the honor of being considered Lou Ferrigno’s idol and the “poster boy for the ideal physique” by Arnold Schwarzenegger.

He developed an interest in bodybuilding at an early age, but all of his ambitions were interrupted by WWII. He enrolled as a soldier in the Philippines.

Steve was able to pursue both of his passions when the war was over. He studied acting and competed in bodybuilding competitions.

Steve acted in over 17 films from 1954-1967. One of his most memorable and repeated roles was Hercules.

He’s been an inspiration to so many other bodybuilders and actors. Many have read his two books; Building the Classic Physique-The Natural Way and Dynamic Muscle Building.

Steve Reeves died of a blood clot during exploratory surgery at the age of 74 on May 1, 2000. He’ll always be remembered for how he changed Hollywood and bodybuilding. n.

Arnold Schwarzenegger

Arnold is one of the most famous bodybuilders and actors of all time. He began pursuing bodybuilding at the age of 15. He won the title of Mr. Universe at the age of 20 and went on to win it 7 more times in his career. He was even an Olympic weightlifter.

His film career was also a major success. He debuted in Conan the Barbarian in 1982 and followed that up with the even more successful The Terminator in 1984. He has appeared in over 20 films so far.

Arnold has even ventured into politics. He was elected governor of California in 2003 and served for 2 years. He could have even gone for a presidential run if he were born in the states.

Lou Ferrigno

Lou is another one of the most famous actors turned bodybuilders, and part of the reason was his connection to Arnold Schwarzenegger. They used to train and compete together, and their professional rivalry is immortalized in the documentary Pumping Iron.

That film changed the public perception of bodybuilders forever. It also helped begin Lou’s acting career.

His most famous role was in the TV series The Incredible Hulk which ran from 1977-1982. It left him immortalized as “The Original Hulk.”

Lou has acted in other roles since then and made plenty of cameos in TV and film. Most of them prove he has a sense of humor because they parody his tough persona. Two examples include the TV series King of Queens and the 2009 comedy I Love You Man.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson

“The Rock” is another one of the most popular names in this video. He’s better known for his wrestling and acting career, but he also has a passion for bodybuilding. He even married and divorced professional bodybuilder Dany Garcia.

He hasn’t competed in any professional competitions, but his lifestyle seems to suggest he’s preparing himself for them. He continues to sculpt his body and eat a nutritious diet. It’s helped him get through the most difficult times in his life. The world needs to watch out for the first time he does enter a competition.

Dave Batista

Batista is another triple-threat actor-body-builder-wrestler. He was a popular member of the WWE for years. His expert moves were partially thanks to his MMA training, and he also has an impressive body.

Batista also says bodybuilding saved his life. He was poor as a child and developed a criminal record, but he’s now turned himself around in an impressive fashion. He’s a successful actor, with his most notable role being Drax in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies. 

Ralf Moeller

Ralf Moeller began lifting weights as a teenager in Germany and already had an impressive body by the age of 17. He became a champion and moved on to the Mr. Olympia competition. He didn’t win it, but the world began to notice his impressive 6ft 6in, 288lb frame.

Ralf began acting in 1987 with his breakout film role in Universal Soldier. He became a major actor and made it a career. He continues to accept roles in Hollywood and his home country and has been in over 46 films.

Bolo Yeung

Bolo Yeung is one of the most successful Asian bodybuilders of all time. He was trained in both martial arts and bodybuilding, giving him a lean but muscular frame. He won Mr. Hong Kong for ten years in a row.

Bolo’s breakout film was the Bruce Lee hit Enter the Dragon in 1973. He continued to play the villain in other martial arts movies after that, including Bloodsport in 1988 and Double Impact in 1991. He’s acted in over 109 films and shows no signs of stopping despite being 76 years old today.

Reg Park

Reg Park is one of the most important European bodybuilders of all time. He has earned three Mr. Universe titles and even mentored Arnold Swarzenegger.

He fell in love with acting when he lost his job as a gym owner and bodybuilder. He played Hercules in at least four films and Samson in another one in the 60s. He also showed off his body on plenty of magazine covers and spreads.

Reg Park died of skin cancer at the age of 79 on November 22, 2007. The bodybuilding world lost a man who gave so much to the sport.

David Prowse

David was a British weightlifter who won several competitions as a teenager. His height and physique also attracted Hollywood heavyweights. He starred in 1971’s A Clockwork Orange, but his most popular role was as one of the most memorable film villains of all time.

David Prowse was the physical presence of Star Wars’ Darth Vader. His voice was later dubbed out in favor of James Earl Jones, but the combination is a major part of what made the character so imposing.

David’s health isn’t as great as it used to be, but he’s still an impressive figure at 82 years old. 

Gordon Scott

Certain actors are lucky enough to land a successful role that lasts for years. Gordon got that stroke of luck when he was working odd jobs in Vegas and a talent agent noticed his impressive body.

Gordon played the same character for five years straight, appearing as Tarzan in six films. He’s the second-most successful actor to take on the role behind Johnny Weissmuller who played him in 12 MGM movies.

He didn’t let his acting ambitions end when his time with the role ended. He went to Italy and appeared in popular sword-and-sandal epics.

Gordon only worked for 27 years but starred in 27 movies in total. He made the most of his short career and snatched up every role he could find.

Gordon retired from acting at the age of 40 despite being at the top of his game. He died at the age of 80 on April 5, 2007.

Like and subscribe to Facts Verse for more of the most physically impressive actors of all time. Keep watching to learn about more of the top bodybuilders who became Hollywood stars.

Mickey Hargitay

Miklos “Mickey Hargitay” was a Hungarian-born bodybuilder inspired by Steve Reeves. He saw his picture in a magazine and knew what he wanted to do with his life. Mickey won the Mr. Universe title in 1955. He was also successful at other sports such as speed skating.

He moved on to Hollywood and flourished there with 19 credits to his name. His personal life is also unique when compared to the rest of the top bodybuilders who became Hollywood stars.

Mickey married movie star, Jaynes Mansfield. They had a daughter Masika Hargitay. She’s now a regular on Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. Her father even made a guest appearance on one of the over 389 episodes she’s appeared in.

Peter Lupus

Also known as Rock Stevens, Peter is a champion bodybuilder with plenty of titles under his belt. He’s also a successful actor who played Willy Armitage on the Mission: Impossible TV show from 1966-1973.

Peter also has the distinction of being one of the first well-known actors to pose nude for Playgirl. Showing off his toned body lead to even more work.

Peter Lupus is 90 years old today. He’s still lifting weights and probably always will.

Alan Steel

Sergio Ciani was a successful Italian bodybuilder who took on the stage name Alan Steel once he moved on to Hollywood. He was a stuntman and body double for Steve Reeves. He also starred in several movies of his own and played Hercules in many of them, including Hercules Unchained in 1959.

He kept starring in movies as an actor and stuntman until retiring in 1979. He died in his sleep at the age of 79 on September 5, 2015.

Franco Columbo

Franco was another Italian bodybuilder. He won Mr. Olympia twice and placed 5 in the first World’s Strongest Man competition. He eventually followed Arnold Swarzenerggger to America in the 1960s.

Franco suffered a leg injury that doctors told him he would never recover from, but he proved them wrong. He and his friend appeared in several of the same movies together, including Conan the Barbarian and Terminator. Arnold even said he should have won more Mr. Olympia titles than he did.

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