Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, on June 17, 1932, Peter Lupus has had an on-again, off-again film and television career. Before becoming an actor, Lupus had won the titles Mr. Indianapolis (1954), Mr. Indiana (1960), Mr. Hercules, and the world title of Mr. International Health Physique. As with many bodybuilders of the era, he tried his hand at acting and took roles in the Indianapolis Starlight Musicals series. In addition, he did summer stock work in the east. His first film role came in the 1964 release Muscle Beach Party.

Peter LupusPeter LupusPeter Lupus

LEFT: July 1968 magazine cover featuring Lupus (thanks to Michael Barnum). CENTER: Photo taken during the same shoot. RIGHT: Mid 1970s photo

In his first film, Peter Lupus (billed as Rock Stevens) portrays Flex Martian, the biggest bodybuilder in Jack Fanny's (Don Rickles) troupe of athletes. Look for bodybuilders Chet Yorton and Larry Scott as fellow bodybuilders. Of course, the movie stars the usual AIP beach movie regulars, such as Frankie Avalon, Annette Funicello, John Ashley, Jody McCrea, Dick Dale and the Del-Tones, and Candy Johnson. Others include beautiful Italian sexpot Luciana Paluzzi, Buddy Hackett, Morey Amsterdam, and Don Rickles. After production wrapped on Muscle Beach Party, Lupus went to Italy to make five quickie sword and sandal movies for American International Pictures.

Annette Funicello and Peter LupusAnnette Funicello and Peter LupusAnnette Funicello and Peter Lupus

Muscle Beach Party promotional photos with Annette Funicello

Before Muscle Beach Party was released by American International Pictures, producer Samuel Z. Arkoff told Lupus to come up with a stage name, stating that American audiences liked American-sounding names; therefore, Lupus is billed as 'Rock Stevens' in his early film appearances. He went back to using his real name when he was cast in the role of Willy Armitage in the CBS TV series Mission: Impossible.

the films of peter lupus

Muscle Beach Party (1964)

Don Rickles and Peter LupusLuciana Paluzzi and Peter LupusLuciana Paluzzi and Peter LupusPeter Lupus and Buddy HackettPeter LupusPeter Lupus, Chet Yorton, Luciana Paluzzi, and Larry Scott

Images from the American International Pictures comedy Muscle Beach Party. LEFT: With Don Rickles as Jack Fanny. CENTER A and B: With Luciana Paluzzi. CENTER C: With Buddy Hackett. CENTER D: Production still. RIGHT: With Chet Yorton, Luciana Paluzzi, and Larry Scott

Hercules and the Tyrants of Babylon (1964)

Peter LupusPeter Lupus

From AIP's Hercules and the Tyrants of Babylon

Goliath at the Conquest of Damascus (1964)

Peter LupusPeter LupusPeter Lupus

From AIP's Goliath at the Conquest of Damascus

Giant of the Evil Island (1965)

Peter Lupus

Lupus in AIP's Giant of the Evil Island

Mission: Impossible (1966-1973 CBS TV Series)

Peter LupusPeter LupusPeter LupusPeter Lupus

From the CBS TV series Mission: Impossible. LEFT: Cast photo with Barbara Bain, Martin Landau, Greg Morris, and Peter Graves. CENTER and RIGHT: Press photos of Lupus

Mission Impossible Versus the Mob (1968)

Peter Lupus and Peter Graves

Lobby card from the theatrical release Mission Impossible Versus the Mob with Peter Graves

Police Squad! (1982 ABC TV Series)

Peter Lupus and Leslie Nielsen

With series star Leslie Nielsen in the short-lived ABC comedy series Police Squad!

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Peter Lupus met his wife, Sharon, in the late 1950s when she visited the Indianapolis gym that Lupus owned. They were married in 1960 and have a son, Peter Lupus III, who is also an actor.

For a number of years, Lupus has been a vitamin company representative and spokesman in the Hollywood Hills area, but he occasionally accepts small parts in films and TV shows. Now 83 years old, Lupus is still working out and is in great shape, only 10 pounds off his early 1960s weight of 250 pounds. At 6'4", Lupus is one of the more physically imposing sword and sandal actors, his size roughly comparable to that of Samson Burke.

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Mission: Imposter (2014) with Reggie Brown and Nick Alverson
Mission: Irreparable (2012) with Reggie Brown and Nick Alverson
Carlo's Wake (1999) with Martin Landau
Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings (1994) with Ami Dolenz, Soleil Moon Frye, Steve Kanaly, Gloria Hendry, Roger Clinton, and Peter Lupus III
Love, Cheat & Steal (1993) with John Lithgow, Eric Roberts, Dan O'Herlihy, and Bill McKinney
Acting on Impulse (1993) with C. Thomas Howell, Linda Fiorentino, Nancy Allen, Adam Ant, Paul Bartel, Isaac Hayes, Miles O'Keeffe, and Cassandra Peterson
The Nutt House (1992) with Amy Yasbeck, Traci Lords, Sandra Gould, Stella Stevens, and Barry Livingston
Hangfire (1991) with Jan-Michael Vincent, Brad Davis, Kim Delaney, Lyle Alzado, George Kenney, Yaphet Kotto, Lou Ferrigno, Grant Cramer, and Fred Schneider
Think Big (1990) with David and Peter Paul, Martin Mull, and Richard Kiel
Assassination (1987) with Charles Bronson and Jill Ireland
The Escapist (1983)
Mission Impossible Versus the Mob (1968) with Peter Graves, Martin Landau, Barbara Bain, and Greg Morris
Giant of the Evil Island (1965)
Challenge of the Gladiator (1964)
Hercules and the Tyrants of Babylon (1964) with Helga Line
Goliath at the Conquest of Damascus (1964) with Helga Line and Daniele Vargas
Muscle Beach Party (1964) with Frankie Avalon, Annette Funicello, Luciana Paluzzi, Peter Lorre, Buddy Hackett, Don Rickles, John Ashley, and Jody McCrea

Police Squad!, 1982 ABC TV series. Lupus portrayed Norberg
Mission: Impossible, 1966-1973 CBS TV series. Lupus portrayed Willy Armitage

Spy Game, episode Why Spy?, originally aired March 3, 1997
B.J. and the Bear, episode Detective Finger, I Presume, originally aired May 2, 1981
The Love Boat, episode The Mallory Quest/Two Hours/The Offer/Julie, the Vamp: Parts 1 and 2, originally aired November 15, 1980
Fantasy Island, episode One Million B.C., originally aired March 1, 1980
CHiPs, episode Roller Disco: Part 2, originally aired September 22, 1979
The Joey Bishop Show, episode In This Corner, Jan Murray, originally aired October 25, 1964
The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, episode Beauty Is Only Kin Deep, originally aired May 22, 1963
The Joey Bishop Show, episode Joey's Lucky Cuff Links, originally aired December 15, 1962
The Jack Benny Show, episode Jack Plays Tarzan, originally aired November 13, 1962
I'm Dickens, He's Fenster, episode Nurse Dickens, originally aired October 5, 1962

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Watch Peter Lupus (billed as Rock Stevens) in the 1964 film Hercules and the Tyrants of Babylon

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