To Top

Gallery of Ironmen: Mark Forest

Muscles to Vocals. Mark Forest went from gladiator-movie roles to opera.

Like many others, Mark Forest used bodybuilding as a springboard to success. Thanks to his shapely physique, a career in films opened up for him. Forest did 12 lavish films in the 1960s, but then he did something even more extraordinary than becoming a star: He stepped away from his cinematic career and began another as an operatic singer.

Forest was born Lou Degni in 1933 in Brooklyn, New York. Inspired by muscle magazines, he began bodybuilding at the age of 13. After building an impressive physique, he started competing in bodybuilding events. Thanks to his handsome face and impressive form, his image appeared on the cover of a small publication called Men and Art; later he opened a gym on Long Island. Fortunately, a movie agent saw his picture and invited him to Hollywood to audition for the role of Tarzan. Although he didn’t get the part, the young bodybuilder eventually found work with Mae West’s troupe of pre-Chippendales hunks. He also found time to enter several bodybuilding contests, including Mr. Muscle Beach, which he won.

While working with West, Forest was tapped for a new venture in the movies. Steve Reeves had a huge success in ‘Hercules’ in 1959, and moviemakers were busily searching for rival musclemen. After a quick audition, he was signed to a three-picture contract almost on the spot. He soon found himself on the way to Italy, where he was to co-star with Broderick Crawford in ‘Goliath and the Dragon.’ Along the way, he shed his given name and acquired the one that has brought him great fame ever since: Mark Forest.

Forest was the second American actor to be recruited by Italian producers to make gladiator films, and thanks to his natural grace and ease before the cameras, he was a popular star with both filmmakers and fans. The good-looking, chesty actor made a dozen films in Italy and reportedly had a good time doing so. Eventually, however, it was time to move on. Moviemaking was fun and profitable but not what he wanted to do forever. It was singing that had long fascinated him, so he turned his attention to opera. He sang the tenor lead in many important operas, but when he returned to the U.S., Mark became one of the most popular voice coaches in Hollywood. Many celebrities have sought him out to improve their voices and their stage presence. Today, Forest continues to improve his students’ techniques and vocal chords in Southern California.

‘David Chapman

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

More in

  • Build a Balanced Bikini Body with IFBB Pro Breena Martinez

    Truth: You won’t get a balanced bikini body by under eating and spending countless hours on the treadmill. Contrary to popular...

    ironashleyJanuary 14, 2019
  • How You Should Eat During The Holidays

    Halloween and Thanksgiving have come and gone. How did you do with your eating plan? Are you the type to just...

    Cindy MamNovember 22, 2018
  • Heat Treatment for Weight Training Workout

    A study published in The Journal of Physiological Sciences examined the anabolic properties of heat stress. Japa-nese scientists examined muscle tissue...

    Cindy MamOctober 29, 2018
  • Ready-To-Drink Supplement Conundrum

    Years ago, one of the biggest supplement scams was a ready-to-drink creatine serum. This was before it was widely known that...

    Cindy MamOctober 25, 2018

    IRON MAN PICKS THE WINNERS OF THE FIRST ANNUAL PROTEIN BAR AWARDS Protein bars have been through more evolutions than iPhones....

    Cindy MamOctober 22, 2018
  • Fruit Trees In Urban Living

    People often look at fruit trees found in dense urban areas and assume its of offerings are nutritionally bankrupt, made up...

    Cindy MamOctober 18, 2018
  • Carb Consumption

    Just when you think you have carbs all figured out, more information comes to light. Conventional wis-dom has recommended tapering carb...

    Cindy MamOctober 15, 2018
  • Lets Build Those Shoulders

    This unorthodox shoulder program will wake up your delts to become bigger, stronger, and healthier than ever.   Shoulders are tricky. One...

    Cindy MamOctober 11, 2018
  • The WorkOut Session

    We can separate people into two categories in the gym. No, not the dedicated versus the lazy. I am talking about those with genetically blessed calves...

    Cindy MamOctober 8, 2018