Peter Lupus Jr (born June 17, 1932) is an American bodybuilder and actor. He attended the Jordan College of Fine Arts at Butler University, where he also played football and basketball, graduating in 1954. He and his wife, Sharon, have a son, Peter Lupus III, who is also an actor.
Lupus in Mission: Impossible in 1967
|Other names||Rock Stevens|
|Spouse(s)||Sharon M. Hildebrand (1960-present)|
|Children||Peter Lupus III|
Lupus was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. Census, World War I draft registration, and naturalization records indicate that his father, Peter Nash Lupus, Sr. (1899-1981), was born in what was then Syria, and his father's death certificate states that he was a native of what is now Lebanon, and the son of George and Anna Lupus. His mother was American.
Standing 6 feet 4 inches (193 cm) with a developed physique, Lupus began his career by earning the titles of Mr. Indianapolis, Mr. Indiana, Mr. Hercules and Mr. International Health Physique. Lupus was one of many bodybuilders who followed Steve Reeves into the "sword and sandal" films of the 1960s, occasionally credited as Rock Stevens for such films as Hercules and the Tyrants of Babylon (1964), Challenge of the Gladiator (1965) and Muscle Beach Party (1964) where he starred as "Mr. Galaxy" Flex Martian.
During the early 1970s, Lupus promoted European Health Spa, traveling the country to make appearances and sign autographs at several of the gyms' grand openings.
Lupus played Willy Armitage in the original Mission: Impossible television series in the 1960s. Armitage was the Impossible Missions Force's muscle man, and featured in nearly all episodes of the series. The character of Willy Armitage was the strong, silent type, usually with very little dialogue. Late in the show's run, during season five, the producers decided that his character was superfluous and he was dropped to recurring status, appearing in a little over half of that season's episodes. Outcry from fans and lack of success in finding a replacement for his character resulted in his return to regular status the following season and to his getting a greater role in the stories, often assuming disguises as a convict or a thug. Only Lupus and Greg Morris sustained regular roles through the show's entire run, although Morris appeared in more episodes.
Lupus's other television work included a guest spot as Tarzan on Jack Benny's television show, a boxer with a glass jaw on The Joey Bishop Show, a caveman on an episode of Fantasy Island, and the recurring role of Detective Norberg on the short-lived sitcom Police Squad!.
Lupus was one of the first well-known male actors to pose with full frontal nudity for Playgirl magazine, in April 1974. Photographs of Lupus appeared in a number of issues. Before this, he was hired by the United States Air Force to appear in a series of commercials playing the role of Superman (with the permission of what is now DC Comics). He appeared for many months until the Playgirl pictorial was published.
On July 19, 2007, at age 75, Lupus set a world weightlifting endurance record by lifting 77,560 pounds over the course of 24 minutes, 50 seconds at the Spectrum Club in El Segundo, California. This topped the record Lupus set five years earlier in celebration of his 70th birthday of 76,280 pounds in 27 minutes.
- "Peter Lupus a Natural In Role of Strongman". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. November 9, 1973. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
- Raddatz, Leslie (1968). "Workout With Peter Lupus". TV Guide.
- "Mission: Impossible in the Encyclopedia of Television". Retrieved 6 October 2014.
- Whitely, Joan, "Strongman, actor Peter Lupus finds health his mission in life", Las Vegas Review Journal, April 15, 1997
- Glen Weldon (2013). Superman: The Unauthorized Biography. John Wiley & Sons. p. 141. ISBN 978-1-118-48382-4.
- Lipton, Glen (July 18, 2007). "Lupus Record". Associated Press – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). Archived from the original on April 2, 2015.
- Perine, Shawn (June 1, 2007). "Mission: possible". Flex – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). Archived from the original on April 2, 2015.
- Leibowitz, Barry (22 November 2010). "Lou Ferrigno, Steven Seagal, Join Sheriff Joe Arpaio's Posse to Crack Down on Illegal Immigrants". CBS News. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
- Patrick J. White, The Complete Mission: Impossible Dossier. New York: Avon Books, 1991.