Hulk Hogan biography
Born Terry Gene Bollea, on August 11, 1953, in Augusta, Georgia, Hulk Hogan was discovered in 1979 by World Wrestling Federation owner Vince McMahon and had his debut match against Andre the Giant, which he won. Hulkamania spread from there. Reinventing himself as Hollywood Hogan in 1996, he made a comeback and starred in his own TV show with his family, Hogan Knows Best, from 2005 to 2009.
Wrestler, actor. Born Terry Gene Bollea, on August 11, 1953, in Augusta, Georgia. Bollea is the youngest son of Pete Bollea, a construction foreman, and Ruth Bollea, a homemaker and dance instructor.
Bollea acquired an interest for wrestling in high school. He went on to study at Hillsborough Community College and the University of South Florida. In spite of his education, his interests remained in the ring and he never received his degree. Instead, he chose to devote his time to working out in a local gym owned by wrestlers Jack and Jerry Brisco. Encouraged by these two brothers, Bollea spent a few months wrestling on small circuits in the Southeast.
In 1979, Bollea's talent caught the attention of Vincent McMahon Sr., the legendary promoter and owner of the World Wrestling Federation (WWF), the most prominent wrestling league in the Northeast. McMahon gave Bollea an opportunity to join the WWF—and to create a new identity. Because of his massive physique (he stood 6 feet 8 inches, and weighed 303 pounds) and his uncanny resemblance to the comic book hero, the Incredible Hulk, McMahon suggested that Terry assume the stage name "Hulk Hogan."
In 1980, Hogan had his debut bout against the fierce Andre the Giant. Hogan won the match, along with the respect and support of wrestling fans throughout the country. Actor Sylvester Stallone was so impressed by Hogan's performance that he cast him as "Thunderlips the Ultimate Male" in his 1982 movie, Rocky III.
In 1984, Hogan was awarded the WWF championship belt for his memorable defeat of the Iron Sheik. Hogan rose to super-stardom. The resulting fan frenzy became legendary, and earned the nickname "Hulkamania." Hogan would hold his title for three more years, and his success during this time bolstered the public's fascination with professional wrestling.
By 1985, Hogan had acquired tremendous popularity among Americans. His image was marketed to sell a multitude of products, and he began to take on leading roles in a number of films. In 1989, Hogan starred in the wrestling movie No Holds Barred. This film experienced moderate success, but was followed by several low performing movie projects, including Mr. Nanny (1993) and Santa with Muscles (1996).
The success Hogan enjoyed in the 1980s waned in the early 90s. Accused of providing anabolic steroids to its wrestlers, the WWF underwent a turbulent trial in which Hogan was called to testify against his former boss, Vince McMahon Jr. Hogan's admission of drug abuse forced him to terminate both his wrestling and film careers.
Hogan surprised everyone by making a remarkable comeback to the wrestling arena in 1996. Re-inventing himself as "Hollywood Hogan," the wrestler established himself as a villain and, once again, secured his popularity among wrestling fans. Hogan joined media tycoon Ted Turner's WCW (World Championship Wrestling) as part of the New World Order, a wrestling team that paired Hogan with two other wrestlers, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall. This infamous triumvirate gained immense support from wrestling fans and, ultimately, returned Hogan to the success of his past.
In 2002, he shared his experiences as a professional wrestler in his autobiography, Hollywood Hulk Hogan. He also gave television viewers an inside look into his family life with the reality series Hogan Knows Best, which first aired in the summer of 2005. The show followed the daily lives of Hogan and his wife Linda as they raised their teenage children, daughter Brooke and son Nick.
Early on, the show earned some comparisons to veteran rocker Ozzy Osbourne's hit reality show, The Osbournes. In response, Hogan called his family "the anti-Osbournes." That same year, Hogan was inducted into the World Wrestling Entertainment Hall of Fame. His friend Sylvester Stallone presented him with the honor.
For four seasons, Hogan had a popular television show. Viewers tuned in to see this famous wrestler face a variety of personal and parental challenges, including getting marriage counseling with his wife and having his daughter go on dates. The greatest hardship, however, happened off-camera. During August of 2007, Hogan's son, Nick, was involved in a car crash which left his friend John Graziano critically injured. Law enforcement officials arrested Nick three months later for his role in the accident. In May of 2008, Nick pled no contest to a felony count of reckless driving, and received an eight-month prison sentence. That same month, Hogan's wife Linda filed for divorce, seeking to end their 24-year marriage. Hogan initially told the press he hoped to reconcile, but his wife later dismissed the notion.
Despite his personal difficulties, Hogan continued to thrive professionally. In January of 2008, he was tapped to co-host the reality competition American Gladiators with Laila Ali, a professional boxer. The show aired for two seasons.
In the fall of 2008, Hogan became the host and executive producer of Hulk Hogan's Celebrity Championship Wrestling. The show, which currently airs on the Country Music Television cable network, pits celebrities against each other in competition to see who is the best celebrity wrestler. Competitors include Danny Bonaduce, Todd Bridges, and Dennis Rodman.
Hogan currently resides in Clearwater, Florida, with his daughter, Brooke, who now stars in her own reality series, Brooke Knows Best.