biography

Born Lou Degni in Brooklyn, New York, on January 16, 1933, Mark Forest began bodybuilding at the age of 13 after being inspired by physical culture magazines. Later, Forest and his brother worked with the physically handicapped by developing exercise programs for them. Forest competed for the 1952 Mr. America title and finished 27th, a remarkable feat for a 19 year old. Before entering films, he appeared in some nightclub acts as the "strength premise." Forest was named "Mr. Venice Beach" in 1954, and he came in second in the "Mr. Muscle Beach" competition during the same year.

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You'll find more photos like these in the Mark Forest Gallery

Forest was the second American actor, after Steve Reeves, to be recruited by Italian producers to star in sword and sandal films. He is a third-generation Italian-American, and some of his films were made in Naples, Italy, the area from which his grandparents came. With an acting style more relaxed than that of Steve Reeves or Reg Park, Forest seemed to glide through his portrayals of muscle-packed heros.

the films of mark forest

Goliath and the Dragon (1960)

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From Goliath and the Dragon, Mark Forest's first film. This peplum was released in the US by American International Pictures

Son of Samson (1960)

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From Son of Samson, Forest's second film and an excellent peplum

Mole Men Against the Son of Hercules (1961)

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From Mole Men Against the Son of Hercules, released in Europe in 1961 and to television in the US in 1964. LEFT and CENTER: Forest as Maciste. RIGHT: With Paul Wynter

Colossus of the Arena (1962)

Mark Forest and Dan Vadis

From Colossus of the Arena aka Maciste. Spot Dan Vadis at the center rear of this photo

Goliath and the Sins of Babylon (1963)

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From the sword and sandal epic Goliath and the Sins of Babylon, released by American International Pictures. LEFT: Forest as Marcellus. CENTER A and B: With Mimmo Palmara. RIGHT: Forest in action

Hercules Against the Mongols (1963)

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Forest as the title character in Hercules Against the Mongols

Hercules Against the Sons of the Sun (1964)

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LEFT: With Giuliano Gemma. CENTER: Lobby card image. RIGHT: With Anna-Maria Pace

The Terror of Rome Against the Son of Hercules (1964)

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Stills from The Terror of Rome Against the Son of Hercules

Hercules Against the Barbarians (1964)

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Forest in Hercules Against the Barbarians, a film in which he costarred with Ken Clark

The Lion of Thebes (1965)

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Forest in The Lion of Thebes. Thanks to Kris Donaldson and Dan for the screen captures

mark forest today

Forest made a number of sword and sandal films between 1960 and 1965, starring as Hercules twice in Hercules Against the Sons of the Sun and The Revenge of Hercules (aka Goliath and the Dragon). With the release of The Lion of Thebes, Forest walked away from acting to study opera and voice. Today, he resides in Arleta, California, where he sings and teaches opera.

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filmography

Kindar the Invulnerable (1965) with Mimmo Palmara, Rosalba Neri, and Howard Ross
The Lion of Thebes (1965) with Yvonne Furneaux, Massimo Serato, Alberto Lupo, Rosalba Neri, and Carlo Tamberlani
Hercules Against the Sons of the Sun (1964) with Giuliano Gemma
Hercules Against the Barbarians (1964) with Ken Clark and Howard Ross
Hercules Against the Mongols (1964) Ken Clark and Howard Ross
The Magnificent Gladiator (1964) with Marilu Tolo and Paolo Gozlino
The Terror of Rome Against the Son of Hercules (1964) with Marilu Tolo and Peter White
Goliath and the Sins of Babylon (1963) with Giuliano Gemma and Mimmo Palmara
Colossus of the Arena (1962) with Dan Vadis
Mole Men Against the Son of Hercules (1961) with Paul Wynter and Moira Orfei
Goliath and the Dragon (1960) with Broderick Crawford and Gaby André
Son of Samson (1960) with Chelo Alonso

links

Click here to go to the Mark Forest/Lou Degni Gallery

Other Hercules Heroes
Go to the Other Hercules Heroes page, featuring Peter and David Paul, Paul Wynter, Richard Lloyd, and Jacques Sernas.

mark forest trailer now showing

Watch the trailer for Mark Forest's 1960 film Goliath and the Dragon

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This page premiered May 1, 1998.
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