Peter Lupus

Peter Nash Lupus Jr. (born June 17, 1932) is an American bodybuilder and actor.[1] He is best known for his role as Willy Armitage on the television series Mission: Impossible (1966–1973).

Peter Lupus
Peter Lupus 1967.jpg
Lupus in Mission: Impossible (1967)
Born (1932-06-17) June 17, 1932 (age 88)
Other namesRock Stevens
  • Bodybuilder
  • actor
Sharon M. Hildebrand
(m. 1960)

Personal lifeEdit

Lupus was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, to Mary Irene Lambert and Peter Nash Lupus. His father was from Sareen, Lebanon.[2] Lupus attended the Jordan College of Fine Arts at Butler University, where he also played football and basketball, graduating in 1954. He and wife Sharon have a son, Peter Lupus III, who is also an actor.



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.[3] 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.[1]

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.[4] 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,[5] 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!.

Playgirl pinupEdit

Lupus was one of the first well-known male actors to pose with full frontal nudity for Playgirl magazine, in April 1974.[6] 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.[7]

Present dayEdit

On July 19, 2007, at age 75, Lupus set a world weightlifting endurance record by lifting 77,560 pounds (35,180 kg) over the course of 24 minutes, 50 seconds at the Spectrum Club in El Segundo, California.[8] This topped the record Lupus set five years earlier in celebration of his 70th birthday of 76,280 pounds (34,600 kg) in 27 minutes.[9]

Lupus has been a member of Sheriff Joe Arpaio's volunteer posse in Maricopa County, Arizona.[10]


  1. ^ a b Morgan, Gary (November 9, 1973). "Peter Lupus a Natural In Role of Strongman". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. p. B1. Retrieved January 8, 2021.
  2. ^ Peter Lupus father Peter Nash Lupus (1899-1981) was born in Sareen, Lebanon as can be seen in his marriage certificate of 1930 to Mary Irene Lambert. In Peter Nash Lupus Naturalization Act of 1943 it is misspelled as Sarhan, probably because Sareen is also called Saraain. Information from the National Archives, United States. Scans of oficial acts of Peter Lupus father on
  3. ^ Higgins, Will (January 30, 2018). "Weird lives of Hoosier muscle men: Twiggy's bodyguard, Arnold's template, Mel Brooks' Mongo". Indianapolis Star. Retrieved January 8, 2021.
  4. ^ Newcomb, Horace, ed. (1997). Mission: Impossible. Encyclopedia of Television. 2. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn. pp. 1062–1064. Retrieved January 8, 2021.
  5. ^ Whitely, Joan (April 15, 1997). "Strongman, actor Peter Lupus finds health his mission in life". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved January 8, 2021.
  6. ^ Rettenmund, Matthew (July 22, 2011). "Not For Ladies Only: It's Hollywood Showtime!". Boy Culture. Retrieved January 8, 2021.
  7. ^ Weldon, Glen (2013). Superman: The Unauthorized Biography. John Wiley & Sons. p. 141. ISBN 978-1-118-48382-4.
  8. ^ Lipton, Glen (July 18, 2007). "Lupus Record". Associated Press. Archived from the original on April 2, 2015 – via HighBeam Research.
  9. ^ Perine, Shawn (June 1, 2007). "Mission: possible". Flex. Archived from the original on April 2, 2015 – via HighBeam Research.
  10. ^ Leibowitz, Barry (November 22, 2010). "Lou Ferrigno, Steven Seagal, Join Sheriff Joe Arpaio's Posse to Crack Down on Illegal Immigrants". CBS News. Retrieved December 11, 2017.

Further readingEdit

  • Patrick J. White, The Complete Mission: Impossible Dossier. New York: Avon Books, 1991.

External linksEdit