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|Also Known As:||Lee Yeary, Harvey Lee Yeary Iii||Died:|
|Born:||April 23, 1939||Cause of Death:|
|Birth Place:||Wyandotte, Michigan, USA||Profession:||actor, recreation director|
Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY
ish" (1979) and "The Last Chase" (1981). In a personal project, he executive-produced and starred in the offbeat feature "Steel" (1979), the production of which he brought back to Kentucky, and he reprised the classic Gary Cooper character in the improbable CBS movie stunt "High Noon, Part II: The Return of Will Kane" (1980). As their careers hit rocky waters, so did the power coupleâ¿¿s marriage. Fawcett would later claim Majors wanted her to simply stay home and be a housewife. They separated in 1979 after Majorsâ¿¿ "friend" Ryan Oâ¿¿Neal made a move on Fawcett in his absence, beginning a long relationship between the two. After rounds of wrangling over settlement details, Majors and Fawcett divorced in 1982.But things were looking up for Majors. In 1981, producer Glen Larson approached the actor to reunite on a new TV project hearkening back to the latterâ¿¿s blue collar roots and early experiences in Hollywood. "The Fall Guy" posed an odd mix of a quirky inside-Hollywood humor and network TVâ¿¿s stock-in-trade detective fare, with the twist that Majorsâ¿¿ character, Colt Seavers, was a well-traveled stuntman who made money between projects as a tracker of bail bond skippers. By one account,...
ish" (1979) and "The Last Chase" (1981). In a personal project, he executive-produced and starred in the offbeat feature "Steel" (1979), the production of which he brought back to Kentucky, and he reprised the classic Gary Cooper character in the improbable CBS movie stunt "High Noon, Part II: The Return of Will Kane" (1980). As their careers hit rocky waters, so did the power coupleâ¿¿s marriage. Fawcett would later claim Majors wanted her to simply stay home and be a housewife. They separated in 1979 after Majorsâ¿¿ "friend" Ryan Oâ¿¿Neal made a move on Fawcett in his absence, beginning a long relationship between the two. After rounds of wrangling over settlement details, Majors and Fawcett divorced in 1982.
But things were looking up for Majors. In 1981, producer Glen Larson approached the actor to reunite on a new TV project hearkening back to the latterâ¿¿s blue collar roots and early experiences in Hollywood. "The Fall Guy" posed an odd mix of a quirky inside-Hollywood humor and network TVâ¿¿s stock-in-trade detective fare, with the twist that Majorsâ¿¿ character, Colt Seavers, was a well-traveled stuntman who made money between projects as a tracker of bail bond skippers. By one account, Larson sold ABC execs on the show by playing them the showâ¿¿s theme song, sung by Majors himself, called "The Unknown Stuntman," a countrified ballad whose narrator sings of how the big stars wind up with the starlets for whom he risks life and limb, and conspicuously begins with the line "Iâ¿¿m not one to kiss and tell, but Iâ¿¿ve been seen with Farrahâ¿¦" The song went on to receive some radio airplay and the fluffy show made its bones on Majorsâ¿¿ blue-collar charisma and the ample use of the comely curves of cast members Heather Thomas and Markie Post, frequently weaving in TV stars via cameo as themselves. One episode even featured Leeâ¿¿s real-life son by Robinson, Lee Majors II. When "Fall Guy" shuttered, enough time had passed that Majors could take advantage of bionic nostalgia, starting with the TV movie "The Return of the Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman" (NBC, 1987), as the bionic team comes out of retirement to foil a terrorist plot. The retro-franchise would resume in 1989 with "Bionic Showdown: The Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman" (NBC, 1989), notable for introducing a new bionic generation, played by a young Sandra Bullock, and for finishing with Somers and Austinâ¿¿s long-delayed engagement. They would tie the knot in a final adventure, 1994â¿¿s "Bionic Ever After?" (CBS).
Majors married again in 1988, this time to Playboyâ¿¿s 1985 Playmate of the Year Karen Velez, but after having three children, they too would divorce in 1994. Professionally, his career entered a new phase, from leading man to supporting character, sometimes playing himself as a yesteryear icon, as in the "Christmas Carol"-retelling "Scrooged" (1988); sometimes crotchety, jaded, tough-talking characters, as in the Vietnam drama "Tour of Duty" (CBS, 1987-90) and the short-lived action-adventure "Raven" (CBS, 1992-93). Though he would do his share of TV movies and series guest-shots in the ensuing years, many of his more memorable performances would be by playing comedically against type as gruff, unsavory characters, including Col. Seymour Kooze on the over-the-top "Baywatch" satire "Son of the Beach" (FX, 2000-01); a remorseless developer in "Out Cold" (2001); a lazy dad in "The Brothers Solomon" (2007), and the border-prowling Minuteman honcho on Showtimeâ¿¿s comedy series "Weeds" (2005- ). He also periodically did tongue-in-cheek reprises of Steve Austin in some iteration, as with the indie comedy "Trojan War" (1997), in which he played a cop named Austin, and the animated comedy series "Family Guy" (Fox, 1999- ) and "Robot Chicken" (Cartoon Network, 2005- ). Along the way, he married his third wife, Faith Noell, in 2002, but suffered some health setbacks the next year, undergoing both knee and heart surgeries. He briefly returned to TV semi-regularly as the recurring character of the coach of the fictional pro football team central to the CW comedy/drama "The Game" (2006-09), did a turn in the live-action film based on the Cartoon Network show "Ben 10: Race Against Time" (2007), and joined a bevy of erstwhile TV stars in the teen sex B-film homage "Spring Break 1983" (2010). Majors also lent his name to a hearing aid marketed on late-night time slots as "The Lee Majors Rechargeable Bionic Hearing Aid."
By Matthew Grimm" (1968). He was reportedly even primed for the role of Joe Buck in John Schlesingerâ¿¿s gritty Oscar-winning masterpiece "Midnight Cowboy" (1969), but his "Big Valley" contract prevented him from doing the film. Also in 1968, Majors met a model recently arrived in Hollywood from Texas, Farrah Fawcett, and the two began a relationship. When "Valley" ended, he joined another Western series, the long-running "The Virginian" (NBC, 1962-1971) for its final season. He next won a part as the legal assistant to the title character of "Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law" (1971), but a star vehicle, and then some, was in the offing.
After two seasons on "Marshall" and even crossover appearances as the same character on the popular "Marcus Welby, M.D." (ABC, 1969-1976), he was offered the lead role in an adaptation of the best-selling novel "Cyborg" (Warner, 1972). Premiering as a TV movie in March 1973 on ABC, "The Six Million Dollar Man" starred Majors as Steve Austin, an astronaut critically injured when his craft crashed, but was saved by being "rebuilt" with bionic parts and put to work as a super-agent for the U.S. government. Austinâ¿¿s first adventure drew big audiences, quickly prompting ABC to commission two follow-up films, "The Six Million Dollar Man: Wine, Women and War" (1973) and "The Six Million Dollar Man: Solid Gold Kidnapping" (1973), made even as he continued his work on "Owen Marshall." The sequels also introduced Austinâ¿¿s stalwart control agent Oscar Goldman (Richard Anderson). The inevitable hour-long action series bowed as a mid-season replacement show in January 1974 and became a massive hit, with Majors playing Austin as an amiable, everyday Joe thrust by circumstance into battles against enemy agents, criminal plots, aliens and even, in a recurring gimmick, Bigfoot. An oft imitated trademark of the show was the use of slow-motion and fast-motion effects, coupled with trademark "bionic" sounds to emphasize his bionic speed, strength and enhanced vision. Not surprisingly, "The Six Million Dollar Man" went over big with young boys, and Steve Austin action figures, lunchboxes, board games and other merchandise became big sellers, even as Andersonâ¿¿s weekly title-sequence voiceover became pop cultural canon: "Steve Austin: a man barely alive. We can rebuild him. We have the technologyâ¿¦" Among Austinâ¿¿s onscreen romances, Majorsâ¿¿ new real-life wife, now known professionally as Farrah Fawcett-Majors, made four appearances on the show and Lindsay Wagner did a turn as Jaime Sommers, a female cyborg to whom Austin becomes engaged, only to have her body tragically reject her cybernetics. She would be resurrected, however, for the series inevitable "The Bionic Woman" (ABC, 1976-78), with occasional heroic assists from Austin.
Between Majorsâ¿¿ superheroics and Fawcettâ¿¿s ascent via "Charlieâ¿¿s Angels" (ABC, 1976-1981) as TVâ¿¿s foremost pin-up, the two became ABCâ¿¿s power-couple, which they soon leveraged with producers; Majors attempted a much-publicized holdout on his contract at the beginning of the 1977 season, while Fawcett left "Angels" after the first season, convinced a bigger movie career was in the offing. Though Majors received a boost in salary and went back to work, his showâ¿¿s ratings dropped off and ABC cancelled the show in March 1978. Both Majors and Fawcett tried their hand at feature films and both failed, with Majors appearing in a succession of anemic B-grade duds such as "The Norseman" (1978), "Killer F
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CAST: (feature film)
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Majors commented on his TV career since the late 1980s to John Sellers of ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY (January 24, 1997): "You tend to get lost when you're not [in L.A.] . . . They probably think you're dead or don't need the job." (Majors and his family had moved to Fort Lauderdale, FL in the early 90s.)
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