Lindsay Wagner

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Lindsay Wagner
Wagnerlindsey2007Comicon.jpg
Wagner at Wizard World Chicago 2007
BornLindsay Jean Wagner
(1949-06-22) June 22, 1949 (age 65)
Los Angeles, California, United States
NationalityAmerican
Alma materUniversity of Oregon
OccupationActress
Model (profession)
Author
Singer
Adjunct Professor[1]
Years active1971–
Spouse(s)Allan Rider (1971–1973)
Michael Brandon
(1976–1979)
Henry Kingi (1981–1984)
Lawrence Mortorff
(1990–1993)
 
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This article is about the actress. For the Playboy Playmate, see Lindsay Wagner (model).
Lindsay Wagner
Wagnerlindsey2007Comicon.jpg
Wagner at Wizard World Chicago 2007
BornLindsay Jean Wagner
(1949-06-22) June 22, 1949 (age 65)
Los Angeles, California, United States
NationalityAmerican
Alma materUniversity of Oregon
OccupationActress
Model (profession)
Author
Singer
Adjunct Professor[1]
Years active1971–
Spouse(s)Allan Rider (1971–1973)
Michael Brandon
(1976–1979)
Henry Kingi (1981–1984)
Lawrence Mortorff
(1990–1993)

Lindsay Jean Wagner (born June 22, 1949) is an American actress. She is best known for her portrayal of Jaime Sommers in the 1970s television series The Bionic Woman (for which she won an Emmy Award), though she has maintained a lengthy career in a variety of other film and television productions since.

Early life[edit]

Wagner was born in Los Angeles, California, the daughter of Marilyn Louise (née Thrasher) and William Nowels Wagner. When she was seven years old, her parents divorced and her mother moved with her to the northeast Los Angeles neighborhood of Eagle Rock, near Pasadena. Another move with her mother and stepfather (Ted Ball), brought Wagner to Portland, Oregon, where she attended David Douglas High School and appeared in a number of school plays. Wagner was a graduate student at the University of Oregon.

Career[edit]

Wagner worked as a model in Los Angeles, and gained some television experience by appearing as a hostess in Playboy After Dark and she was also a contestant on the game show The Dating Game in 1969 (one of her potential suitors, whom she did not choose, was TV actor Roger Ewing). In 1971, she signed a contract with Universal Studios and worked as a contract player in various Universal productions. Her prime-time network television debut was in the series Adam-12, and she went on to appear in a dozen other Universal shows including Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law, The F.B.I., Sarge, and Night Gallery. Between 1971–75, she appeared in five episodes of Universal's Marcus Welby, M.D., and two episodes of The Rockford Files. In 1973, Wagner branched into film roles when Universal cast her in Two People (Wagner's first feature film and first lead role). She also starred in the film The Paper Chase (for 20th Century Fox) the same year.

In 1975, arranged under an extended contract with Universal Studios, Wagner played the role of Jaime Sommers, a former tennis professional who was the childhood sweetheart of "Six Million Dollar Man" Colonel Steve Austin (played by Lee Majors). According to Kenneth Johnson, interviewed for a featurette included in the 2010 North American DVD release of The Bionic Woman season 1, Wagner was cast in the role based upon her appeal and spontaneity, after he saw her appearance in the pilot and a follow-up episode of the The Rockford Files. In the second-season two-part episode, her character is critically injured in a skydiving accident and equipped with bionic implants similar to Col. Austin's, but her body rejects them, ultimately leading to her death.

This was intended to be Wagner's last role under her Universal contract, but public response to the character was so overwhelming that the "death" was retconned into a cover story for a near-death secret recovery, and Wagner appeared in a two-part episode which returned her character, followed by a spin-off series The Bionic Woman, which debuted in January 1976. She made several crossover appearances in the The Six Million Dollar Man during the series' run. The role earned Wagner an Emmy Award for "Best Actress in a Dramatic Role" in 1977. Following the cancellation of The Bionic Woman in 1978, Wagner continued to act, predominantly in television mini-series and made-for-TV movies. These included the highly rated 1980 mini-series Scruples, as well as three made-for-TV Bionic reunion movies with Lee Majors between 1987 and 1994. Also in the 1980s, Wagner co-starred alongside Sylvester Stallone as his ex-wife in his 1981 movie Nighthawks and starred in two more weekly television series; Jessie (1984) and A Peaceable Kingdom (1989), though both of these were short-lived. In 1983, she also appeared in an episode of Lee Majors' series, The Fall Guy.

Wagner continued to act in the 1990s and 2000s, though in less prominent roles, such as a small part in the action movie Ricochet (1991). Her most recent projects have included the 2005 telemovie, Thicker than Water with Melissa Gilbert, Buckaroo: The Movie (2005), and Four Extraordinary Women (2006). In 2010, Wagner began a recurring role as Dr. Vanessa Calder in the SyFy channel's hit drama Warehouse 13, and played the character again in its Syfy sister show Alphas in 2011.

In the fall semester of 2013, she began to teach at San Bernardino Valley College in southern California (Acting and Directing for Television and Film, Motion Picture Production) as an adjunct faculty member.

Other work[edit]

wagner at comiccon.
Wagner at San Diego Comic-Con 2008.

In 1987, Wagner wrote a series of books with Robert M. Klein about using acupressure to achieve results akin to a surgical facelift. In 1994, she wrote one of the first "celebrity" vegetarian (and mainly vegan) cookbooks, High Road to Health. Wagner appeared in commercials as a spokesperson for Southern California's regional Ford Motor Company dealerships from 1987 through 2000.[2] She was also a spokesperson in infomercials for Select Comfort's "Sleep Number" bed from 2003 to 2009.

In recent years, Wagner has given seminars and workshops for her self-help therapy, "Quiet the Mind and Open the Heart," which promotes spirituality and meditation.

In 2010, she participated in interviews and featurettes included in the long-delayed North American DVD releases of The Bionic Woman and the 2011 release of The Six Million Dollar Man.

Honors[edit]

In 2012, a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs, California, Walk of Stars was dedicated to her.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Prior to being married, Wagner lived with Captain Daniel M. Yoder (USAF), until he went to Vietnam. She has been married four times. From 1971 to 1973, she was married to music publisher Allan Rider. From 1976 to 1979, she was married to actor Michael Brandon. In 1981, she married stuntman Henry Kingi, whom she met on the set of The Bionic Woman. Wagner had two sons with Kingi; Dorian (b. 1982) and Alex (b. 1986), but the couple divorced in the late 1980s. Wagner then married TV producer Lawrence Mortorff in 1990, but they too divorced a couple of years later.

Dallas star Linda Gray was once married to Wagner's uncle, Ed Thrasher. Wagner and Gray also played romantic rivals in the television movie The Two Worlds of Jenny Logan (1979). Interestingly, actress Martha Scott who played Wagner's adoptive mother in The Bionic Woman also played Gray's mother on Dallas.

Wagner very nearly died in the American Airlines Flight 191 plane crash, as she and her mother were about to board but she started feeling sick and decided not to board.

Filmography[edit]

Film
YearTitleRoleNotes
1973Two PeopleDeirdre McCluskey
1973Paper Chase, TheThe Paper ChaseSusan Fields
1976Second WindLinda
1981NighthawksIrene
1981High RiskOlivia
1985Martin's DayDr. Mennen
1991RicochetDA Priscilla Brimleigh
1998Frog and WombatSydney Parker
2003Light in the Forest, AA Light in the ForestPenelope Audrey
2005Buckaroo: The MovieMs. Ainsley
2006Surfer King, TheThe Surfer KingConnie Zirpollo
2008Billy: The Early YearsMorrow Graham
Television
YearTitleRoleNotes
1971Adam-12Jenny CarsonEpisode: "Million Dollar Buff"
1971Man and the City, TheThe Man and the CityMargie HollandEpisode: "Disaster on Turner Street"
1971Bold Ones: The Lawyers, TheThe Bold Ones: The LawyersStella BowersEpisode: "In Defense of Ellen McKay"
1971SargeLaurie MeyersEpisode: "The Combatants"
1971Owen Marshall: Counselor at LawDiana OliverEpisode: "Until Proven Innocent"
1971–1975Marcus Welby, M.D.Various5 episodes
1971Rod Serling's Night GalleryNurseEpisode: "The Diary"
1972Rod Serling's Night GalleryGirl1 episode
1972O'Hara, U.S. TreasuryEdie LangEpisode: "Operation: XW-1"
1972F.B.I., TheThe F.B.I.Laurie PealeEpisode: "Dark Journey"
1974Rockford Files, TheThe Rockford FilesSara ButlerEpisode: "Backlash of the Hunter"
1975Rockford Files, TheThe Rockford FilesSara ButlerEpisode: "Aura Lee, Farewell"
1975–1976Six Million Dollar Man, TheThe Six Million Dollar ManJaime Sommers10 episodes
1976Whodunnit?PanellistEpisode: "Future Imperfect"
1976–1978Bionic Woman, TheThe Bionic WomanJaime Sommers58 episodes
1979Incredible Journey of Doctor Meg Laurel, TheThe Incredible Journey of Doctor Meg LaurelMeg LaurelTV movie
1979Two Worlds of Jennie Logan, TheThe Two Worlds of Jennie LoganJennie LoganTV movie
1980ScruplesBilly IkehornTV miniseries
1981Callie & SonCallie BordeauxTV movie
1982Memories Never DieJoanne TilfordTV movie
1983I Want to LiveBarbara GrahamTV movie
1983Fall Guy, TheThe Fall GuyMary ConnorsEpisode: "Devil's Island"
1983Princess DaisyFrancesca ValenskiTV movie
1983Two Kinds of LoveSusan FarleyTV movie
1984JessieDr. Jessie HaydenTV movie
1984PassionsNina SimonTV movie
1984JessieDr. Jessie Hayden10 episodes
1985Other Lover, TheThe Other LoverClaire FieldingTV movie
1985This Child Is MineBonnie WilkersonTV movie
1986Child's CryJoanne Van BurenTV movie
1986Young AgainLaura GordonTV movie
1986Kate & AllieJuliaEpisode: "Late Bloomer"
1986ConvictedMartha ForbesTV movie
1987Stranger in My BedBeverly SlaterTV movie
1987Return of the Six-Million-Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman, TheThe Return of the Six-Million-Dollar Man and the Bionic WomanJaime SommersTV movie
1987Student ExchangePrincipalTV movie
1988Evil in Clear RiverKate McKinnonTV movie
1988Alfred Hitchcock PresentsSusan ForresterEpisode: "Prism"
1988Taking of Flight 847: The Uli Derickson Story, TheThe Taking of Flight 847: The Uli Derickson StoryUli DericksonTV movie
1988Nightmare at BittercreekNita DanielsTV movie
1988ScandalsHostTV movie
1988Police Story: BurnoutDet. Sidney ShannonTV movie
1989From the Dead of the NightJoannaTV movie
1989Voice of the HeartKatharine TempestTV movie
1989Bionic Showdown: The Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic WomanJaime SommersTV movie
1989Peaceable Kingdom, AA Peaceable KingdomRebecca Cafferty12 episodes
1990Shattered DreamsCharlotte FeddersTV movie
1990BabiesYvonneTV movie
1991Fire in the DarkJanetTV movie
1992She Woke UpClaudia ParrTV movie
1992Treacherous CrossingLindsey Thompson GatesTV movie
1992Against All OddsHostTV series
1992To Be the BestPaula O'NeillTV movie
1992Message from Holly, AA Message from HollyHollyTV movie
1993Nurses on the Line: The Crash of Flight 7Elizabeth HahnTV movie
1994Men Who Hate Women & the Women Who Love ThemHostTV movie
1994Once in a LifetimeDaphne FieldsTV movie
1994Bionic Ever After?Jaime SommersTV movie
1995Fighting for My DaughterKate KernerTV movie
1996Sins of SilenceMolly McKinleyTV movie
1996Mother's Instinct, AA Mother's InstinctRaeanne GilbaineTV movie
1997ContagiousDr. Hannah ColeTV movie
1997Their Second ChanceBarbaraTV movie
1998Voyage of TerrorDr. Stephanie TauberTV movie
2002Division, TheThe DivisionAgatha B.Episode: "Farewell My Lovelies"
2005Thicker than WaterJess JarrettTV movie
2006Four Extraordinary WomenAnneTV movie
2010–2013Warehouse 13Dr. Vanessa CalderEpisode: "For the Team"
Episode: "Buried"
Episode: "Love Sick"
Episode: "Fractures"
Episode: "The Living and the Dead"
2011AlphasDr. Vanessa CalderEpisode: "Never Let Me Go"
2013The Thanksgiving HouseAbigail MatherTV movie

Books[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]