AKA Terry Gene Bollea
Birthplace: Augusta, GA
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Wrestling, Actor
Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Hogan Knows Best
As a boy, Bollea was un-athletic and fat. He weighed 195 pounds by the time he was 12. At 14 he was sent to the Tampa Youth Ranch, where he first tried wrestling. He wrestled professionally as Terry Bollea, Terry Boulder, and Sterling Golden, earning perhaps $125 for a good week's work on the small-town circuit. He was discovered by Vince McMahon, Sr., the father of present World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) chief, Vince McMahon. The elder McMahon hired Bollea as a heel -- a bad guy, in the sport's melodramatic bouts -- and suggested the name "Hulk Hogan".
Hogan wasn't a great wrestler when he started, but he was big (6 foot 7), the camera loved him, and he always put on a great show. He couldn't stay a heel for long. When the younger McMahon took over WWE in 1982, Hogan's ring persona was quickly reworked into "the honest and courageous good guy", who would always remind kids to "Train, say your prayers, take vitamins, and believe in yourself". First it was just good advice. Later it was a slogan, for Hulk Hogan brand vitamins.
Hogan became tremendously popular, and was largely responsible for the rapid growth of wrestling's fan base in the 1980s. And for decades, every night Hogan's name was on the bill, there was certain to be a sellout. Hogan won his first championship in 1982, defeating Nick Bockwinkel for the American Wrestling Alliance (AWA) World Heavyweight belt. His win, however, was immediately nullified when officials ruled that Hogan had hit Bockwinkel with "an illegal object".
He first won the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) title in 1984, defeating the Iron Sheik, and first lost his title in 1988, to André the Giant. After that, Hogan won and lost and won and lost the title several times. His most famous bout, though, took place in 1987, in front of 93,000 people at the Pontiac Silverdome and a huge "Wrestlemania" audience on TV, again against André the Giant. Hogan not only defeated the 500-pound Frenchman, he lifted him into the air and dropped him to the ground. It made a loud thud, and sold a lot of tickets.
Early in his career, Hogan played a big-time wrestler in Rocky III. In the 1990s he became a bonafide B-movie action star, with No Holds Barred, Suburban Commando, and a series of films you're progressively less and less likely to have heard of, including The Secret Agent Club and Santa with Muscles. He also released an album called Hulk Rules, on which he played bass guitar. The album made it into the top ten, on the children's charts.
In 1985, appeared on the TV show Hot Properties, and put a chin lock on the show's host, Richard Belzer. Belzer fell unconscious, and sued Hogan for $5 million. They settled out of court.
In 1994, a steroids scandal threatened the WWE, and Hogan testified in court that he had used steroids over a period of 12 years "to get big". Hogan never accused WWE head honcho Vince McMahon of distributing steroids himself, and explicitly said that McMahon had said not to use them, but Hogan also testified that steroid use was rampant in the WWE. His testimony may have kept McMahon out of prison, but it definitely hurt WWE's public image -- and Hogan's. Hulk Hogan brand vitamins were discontinued. And when Hogan started wrestling outside the WWE, in Ted Turner's World Championship Wrestling (WCW), McMahon held a very public grudge against Hogan for several years, before (and even after) Hogan came home to the WWE.
Hogan announced his retirement from wrestling in 2002, with a touching speech before a packed house in Tupelo, Mississippi. But then, before Hogan could finish talking, McMahon stepped into the ring and announced that he -- McMahon -- owned the name "Hulk Hogan" and had Hogan under contract and wouldn't let him retire. Furious, Hogan grabbed McMahon, and they began brawling, until the Awesome Undertaker jumped the ropes and blasted Hogan with a forearm to the back. After that, things got violent.
Eventually, McMahon and Hogan settled their grudge in the ring -- not in a wrestling match, but in a "street fight", with everything on the line. If Hogan lost, he'd have to retire from wrestling forever. In the promos, McMahon screamed at Hogan, "You testified against me!... You went south and joined up with Ted Turner and competed against me! You tried to put me out of business!" McMahon hollered that he'd "invented Hulk Hogan" and "could have gotten anyone to play Hulk Hogan". Hogan glared back at him and said, "You better start training, you better start taking your vitamins, and you better start saying your prayers." The ratings were huge. And Hogan didn't lose.
Hogan was the unwitting subject of a sex tape, recorded in 2006 by radio shock jock Bubba "the Love Sponge" Clem, of Hogan having sex with Clem's estranged wife. The tape came to light in 2012 in a snippet published by Gawker. He was fired by WWE in 2015, after audio from the sex tape emerged, of Hogan using racist slurs in a rant against the black man who was dating his daughter. Hogan later filed a defamation suit against Gawker, resulting in a 2016 verdict against the publisher to the tune of $140M. It later emerged that Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel, a longtime enemy of Gawker, had helped finance Hogan's litigation.
Father: Pete Bollea (pipefitter, d. 2001)
Mother: Ruth (housewife, dance instructor)
Wife: Linda Hogan (VeroSlim Diet System spokeswoman, m. 18-Dec-1983, sep. 2007, div. 2009)
Daughter: Brooke Hogan (singer, b. 5-May-1988)
Son: Nick Hogan (b. 27-Jul-1990)
Wife: Jennifer McDaniel (b. circa 1974, m. 14-Dec-2010)
Slept with: Heather Clem (wife of Bubba the Love Sponge, in 2006 sex tape)
High School: Robinson High School, Tampa, FL (1971)
University: Hillsborough Community College (no degree)
University: University of South Florida (no degree)
World Wrestling Entertainment
Endorsement of Arby's 2006
Endorsement of Rent-A-Center 2010
Granted Immunity 1994
WWE Hall of Fame 2005
Sex Tape Scandal (sex tape recorded 2006, leaked 2012)
Risk Factors: Performance-Enhancing Drugs
China, IL The Dean (2011-)
Hogan Knows Best Himself (2005-07)
Thunder in Paradise Randolph J. Spencer ("Hurricane", 1994)
FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
Gnomeo & Juliet (23-Jan-2011) · Terrafirminator V. O. [VOICE]
Muppets From Space (14-Jul-1999) · Man in Black
3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain (10-Apr-1998)
The Ultimate Weapon (1998)
McCinsey's Island (1998)
Shadow Warriors (28-Oct-1997)
Santa with Muscles (8-Nov-1996)
The Secret Agent Club (16-Aug-1996) · Ray
Spy Hard (24-May-1996) · Steele's Tag Team Member
Mr. Nanny (8-Oct-1993) · Sean Armstrong
Thunder in Paradise (22-Sep-1993)
Suburban Commando (21-Jun-1991)
Gremlins 2: The New Batch (15-Jun-1990) · Himself
No Holds Barred (2-Jun-1989) · Rip
Rocky III (28-May-1982) · Thunderlips
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