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) Get It Here at Movies Unlimited

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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) Get It Here at Movies Unlimited

Mark Forest

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

Mole Men Against the Son of Hercules (1961) Get It Here at Movies Unlimited

Mark ForestMark ForestMark ForestMark Forest and Paul Wynter

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) Get It Here at Movies Unlimited

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)

Mark ForestMark Forest and Mimmo PalmaraMark Forest and Mimmo PalmaraMark Forest

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) Get It Here at Movies Unlimited

Mark Forest

Forest as the title character in Hercules Against the Mongols

Hercules Against the Sons of the Sun (1964)

Mark Forest and Giuliano GemmaMark ForestMark Forest

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

The Terror of Rome Against the Son of Hercules (1964) Get It Here at Movies Unlimited

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Stills from The Terror of Rome Against the Son of Hercules

Hercules Against the Barbarians (1964) Get It Here at Movies Unlimited

Mark Forest

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

The Lion of Thebes (1965) Get It Here at Movies Unlimited

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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.

mark forest films available from movies unlimited

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Goliath And The Dragon [DVD](1960) DVD
The heroic muscleman (who must have reformed after his fight with David) must battle not only a dragon, but also a three-headed dog, a giant bat, and other mythological roadblocks put in his path by evil ruler Broderick Crawford. Mark Forest stars. 88 min. Widescreen; Soundtrack: English (dubbed). Plays All Regions.
Son Of Samson (1961)/Son Of Cleopatra [DVD](1962) DVD
Heeding an inner voice, the "Son of Samson," a loner from an outlying borough scourges the capital, using his high-caliber muscles to break up the Queen's tryst with those treacherous Persians. Mark Forest plays the hero who goes Old Testament to save Egypt. And, in a sword-and-sandal extravaganza, El Kabir, the "Son of Cleopatra" and Julius Caesar, leads his Egyptian rebels against Roman oppression. When El Kabir's brother is imprisoned and killed, he kidnaps the daughter of the Roman governor, with whom he falls in love. With Mark Damon, who later became a successful producer, and Scilla Gabel. Soundtrack: English (dubbed).
War Gods Collection [DVD] DVD
Four-disc boxed set includes "The Day the Earth Froze," "Son of Samson," "The Invincible Gladiator," "The Magic Voyage of Sinbad," "Son of Cleopatra," "War Gods of Babylon," "Hero of Rome," and "War Goddess."
Mole Men Against The Son Of Hercules [DVD](1961) DVD
Etruscan hero Maciste (apparently Italian for ``beefcake'') battles a race of hideous albinos in their weird underground city. Mark Forest reprises his role as the sandal-wearing muscle lad. Soundtrack: English (dubbed).
Colossus Of The Arena [DVD](1962) DVD
Some burly Roman slaves, forced to compete as gladiators, are promised their freedom by their master if they accompany him to a nearby kingdom for the coronation of a young queen. The he-men are unaware they're to take part in the new monarch's overthrow, but luckily the heroic Maciste (Mark Forest) is around to save the day. With Scilla Gabel, Jon Chevron. AKA: "Maciste, The Strongest Gladiator in the World." 100 min. Widescreen; Soundtrack: English (dubbed). Dubbed in English.
The Terror Of Rome Against The Son Of Hercules [DVD](1963) DVD
Thrilling spectacle pits Poseidon, the son of Hercules, against fearsome gladiators and ferocious beasts in a struggle to free captive Christians intended for slaughter in the Roman arena. Can Poseidon pull off some Herculean feats of his own and make dear old dad proud? With Mark Forest and Marilu Tolo. 100 min. Soundtrack: English (dubbed). Dubbed in English.
Hercules Against The Mongols [DVD](1963) DVD
After warlord Genghis Khan dies, his three sons go on a murderous rampage, killing innocent people and jailing Princess Bianca until they decide which one will marry her and inherit her land. Her brother escapes and tells Hercules about the troubles. Then Herc gets all medieval on them. Mark Forest, Grazia Maria Spina and Renato Rossini star. Standard; Soundtrack: English (dubbed).
Lion Of Thebes [DVD](1964) DVD
This lion's not cowardly. He's actually heroic Mark Forrest, who in this gladiatorial saga helps save lovely Helen of Troy from a shipwreck and accompanies her to the city of Thebes, where they find themselves embroiled in court intrigue and conspiracies (proving that there's no honor among Thebes). With Yvonne Furneaux, Pierre Cressoy. 90 min. Standard; Soundtrack: English (dubbed). Dubbed in English.
Hercules Against The Barbarians [DVD](1964) DVD
The same cast of "Hercules Against the Mongols" gets together for another furious loincloth foray featuring Mark Forest as Hercules. Here he helps the Poles save their beloved Kracow from Mongols led by Genghis Khan's son, Kubali. Ken Clark and Renato Rossini also star in this anachronistic thrill-a-thon. Standard; Soundtrack: English (dubbed).
The Magnificent Gladiator (Il Magnifico Gladiatore) [DVD](1964) DVD
When a corrupt Roman commander overthrows the emperor, a fearless gladiator faces his greatest challenge after he is arrested. Following a daring escape, he finds himself immersed in the most difficult fight of his life as he squares off against the crooked military man. Mark Forest, Marilu Tolo, Paolo Gozlino star. NOTE: Taken from a print dubbed in English with foreign subtitles. Soundtrack: English (dubbed). Dubbed in English.
Kindar The Invulnerable [DVD](1965) DVD
There's a Kindar hush all over the world tonight, thanks to rugged Mark Forest's performance as the hero whom no weapon can injure. His enemies try to learn the secret of Kindar's invincibility in this rare swords-and-sandals fantasy. With Mime Palmara, Dea Flowers. Soundtrack: English (dubbed). Dubbed in English.

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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


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

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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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