Jump to content

Lindsay Wagner

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Lindsay Wagner
Wagner in 2019
Born (1949-06-22) June 22, 1949 (age 75)
EducationDavid Douglas High School
Alma mater
Occupation(s)Actress, model, author, singer, acting coach
Years active1969–present
Known for
Allan Rider
(m. 1971; div. 1973)
(m. 1976; div. 1979)
(m. 1981; div. 1984)
Lawrence Mortorff
(m. 1990; div. 1993)
AwardsHollywood Walk of Fame

Lindsay Jean Wagner (born June 22, 1949)[1] is an American film and television actress, model, author, singer, and acting coach. Wagner is best known for her leading role in the American science fiction television series The Bionic Woman (1976–1978), in which she portrayed character Jaime Sommers. She first played the role on the series The Six Million Dollar Man. The character became a pop culture icon of the 1970s. For this role, Wagner won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Dramatic Role in 1977 – the first for an actor or actress in a science fiction series. Wagner began acting professionally in 1971 and has maintained a lengthy acting career in a variety of film and television productions to the present day.

Early life[edit]

Wagner was born in Los Angeles.[2] Following her parents' divorce,[3] her mother remarried, and the family moved to the Pacific Northwest, where Wagner graduated from Portland's David Douglas High School.[4]

After graduation, Wagner spent a couple of months in France before enrolling at the University of Oregon for one year. Wagner then transferred to Mt. Hood Community College, Gresham, for six months before dropping out and moving to Los Angeles.[5] She was diagnosed with dyslexia.[6]


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 Universal productions. Her primetime network television debut was in the series Adam-12 ("Million Dollar Buff"), 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 (1971, as the nurse in the episode: "The Diary").[7]

Wagner with Vito Scotti (center) from the television series, The Bionic Woman in 1976

Between 1971 and 1975, 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, which was her first feature film and her first lead role. She also co-starred in the 20th Century Fox film The Paper Chase the same year, playing the daughter of the stern law professor, Kingsfield.[8]

Wagner with guest star Evel Knievel. Photo from The Bionic Woman TV show, October 1977

In 1975, arranged under her 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 one, 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 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 Austin's, but her body rejects them, ultimately leading to her death.[9]

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.[9] The same year, she co-starred in a Canadian film, Second Wind opposite James Naughton.[10] She made several crossover appearances in 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.[11]

Wagner kicking off in a soccer match in Argentina, February 1982

Following the cancellation of The Bionic Woman in 1978, Wagner continued to act, predominantly in television miniseries and television films. These included the highly rated 1980 miniseries 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 as Sylvester Stallone's ex-wife in his 1981 movie Nighthawks[12] and starred in two more weekly television series, Jessie (1984) and A Peaceable Kingdom (1989),[13] though both were cancelled with neither completing their first season.[14] In 1983, she also appeared in an episode of Lee Majors' series The Fall Guy.

Wagner continued to act into 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 television film 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[15] and played the character again in its Syfy sister show Alphas in 2011.[16] In the fall semester of 2013, Wagner began teaching at San Bernardino Valley College in southern California (Acting and Directing for Television and Film, Motion Picture Production) as an adjunct faculty member.[17] In 2015, Wagner appeared in the NCIS season 13, episode 10: "Blood Brothers" in the role of Barbara Bishop, the mother of NCIS Probationary Agent Eleanor Bishop (Emily Wickersham).

She appeared in Grey's Anatomy as Alex Karev's mother, Helen Karev, over the course of two seasons, first appearing in 2018 during Season 14 for a single episode and reappearing in 2019 for a number of episodes during Season 15.

In June 2018, it was announced that Wagner would co-star in Death Stranding, a video game being developed by Sony Interactive Entertainment and Kojima Productions. Wagner lent her likeness to the characters Bridget and Amelie Strand and voiced the former, with Emily O'Brien voicing the latter and a younger version of the former. Death Stranding was Wagner's first role in a video game, and her first experience with the industry's motion capture and voice acting technology.[18]

In 2021, Wagner starred in the holiday romance film Christmas at the Ranch with Amanda Righetti, Laur Allen, Archie Kao and Dia Frampton playing the character Meemaw.[19]

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 co-authored the vegetarian cookbook, High Road to Health.[20]

Wagner appeared in commercials as a spokesperson for Southern California's regional Ford Motor Company dealerships from 1987 through 2000.[21] She was also a spokesperson in infomercials for Select Comfort's "Sleep Number" bed from 2003 to 2009.[22]

In recent years,[when?] Wagner has given seminars and workshops for her self-help therapy, "Quiet the Mind and Open the Heart," which promotes spirituality and meditation.[23]

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.[24][25]

In 2016, Wagner publicly advocated as a treatment for her chronic urticaria (i.e., hives) Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS), a substance which the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) declared was a toxic industrial bleach used in wastewater treatment and hydraulic fracturing.[26]


Wagner earned an Emmy Award in 1977 for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Dramatic Role for her role in The Bionic Woman television series.[11]

On December 13, 1984, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce presented Wagner with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, category 'Film', located at the north side of the 6700 block of Hollywood Boulevard.[27]

In 2012, a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs, California, Walk of Stars was dedicated to Wagner.[28]

On October 18, 2019, the San Diego International Film Festival presented the actress with the Humanitarian Award.[29] Previous winners include, Geena Davis, Mariel Hemingway and Joaquin Phoenix.

Personal life[edit]

During the first year of The Bionic Woman, Wagner was the driver in a car accident with her then boyfriend, actor Michael Brandon, in the passenger seat. Brandon almost lost an eye and Wagner received a severe cut on her upper lip which left a small but permanent scar. The event halted production on the show for weeks.[30]

Prior to her first marriage, Wagner lived with Captain Daniel M. Yoder (USAF) until he went to Vietnam. She has been married and divorced four times. From 1971 to 1973, she was married to music publisher Allan Rider. From 1976 to 1979, she was married to 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). The couple divorced in 1984.[31] Wagner married TV producer Lawrence Mortorff in 1990 and they divorced three years later.[citation needed]

Wagner was scheduled to be a passenger on American Airlines Flight 191 from Chicago to Los Angeles on May 25, 1979, but suddenly felt very ill while waiting for the plane. She skipped the flight, which crashed only minutes after takeoff, killing all 271 people on board and 2 people on the ground – the deadliest aviation accident[a] to have occurred in the United States.[32]



Year Title Role Notes
1973 Two People Deirdre McCluskey
1973 The Paper Chase Susan Fields
1976 Second Wind Linda
1979 The Incredible Journey of Doctor Meg Laurel Meg Laurel
1979 The Two Worlds of Jenny Logan Jenny Logan
1981 Nighthawks Irene DaSilva
1981 High Risk Olivia
1985 Martin's Day Dr. Mennen
1986 Young Again Laura Gordon
1991 Ricochet District Attorney Priscilla Brimleigh
1998 Frog and Wombat Sydney Parker
2003 A Light in the Forest Penelope Audrey
2005 Buckaroo: The Movie Ms. Ainsley
2006 The Surfer King Connie Zirpollo
2008 Billy: The Early Years Morrow Graham
2012 Who Killed Soul Glow? Unknown
2018 Samson Zealphonis
2019 Christmas on the Range Lillian McCree
2021 Christmas at the Ranch MeeMaw [33]
2022 When Jack Came Back Nancy [34]


Year Title Role Notes
1971 Adam-12 Jenny Carson Episode: "Million Dollar Buff"
1971 The Man and the City Margie Holland Episode: "Disaster on Turner Street"
1971 The Bold Ones: The Lawyers Stella Bowers Episode: "In Defense of Ellen McKay"
1971 Sarge Laurie Meyers Episode: "The Combatants"
1971 Owen Marshall, Counselor at Law Diana Oliver Episode: "Until Proven Innocent"
1971–1972 Night Gallery Girl/Nurse 2 Episodes
1971–1975 Marcus Welby, M.D. Susan Davis/Denise Malory/Emily Matocsis/Nurse Gledhill 5 episodes
1972 O'Hara, U.S. Treasury Edie Lang Episode: "Operation: XW-1"
1972 The F.B.I. Laurie Peale Episode: "Dark Journey"
1974–1975 The Rockford Files Sara Butler 2 Episodes
1975–1976 The Six Million Dollar Man Jaime Sommers 9 episodes
1976 Whodunnit? Panellist Episode: "Future Imperfect"
1976–1978 The Bionic Woman Jaime Sommers 3 x Seasons: 58 episodes
1978 Windows, Doors & Keyholes Unnamed Television film
1979 The Incredible Journey of Doctor Meg Laurel Meg Laurel Television film
1979 The Two Worlds of Jennie Logan Jennie Logan Television film
1980 Scruples Billy Ikehorn Television miniseries, 3 episodes
1981 Callie & Son Callie Bordeaux Television film
1982 Memories Never Die Joanne Tilford Television film
1983 I Want to Live! Barbara Graham Television film
1983 The Fall Guy Mary Connors Episode: "Devil's Island"
1983 Princess Daisy Francesca Valenski Television film
1983 Two Kinds of Love Susan Farley Television film
1984 Passions Nina Simon Television film
1984 Jessie Dr. Jessie Hayden & Executive producer Television film 2 hour pilot and 12 episodes in a series
1985 The Other Lover Claire Fielding Television film
1985 This Child Is Mine Bonnie Wilkerson Television film
1986 A Child's Cry Joanne Van Buren Television film
1986 Kate & Allie Julia Episode: "Late Bloomer"
1986 Convicted Martha Forbes Television film
1987 Stranger in My Bed Beverly Slater Television film
1987 The Return of the Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman Jaime Sommers Television film
1987 Student Exchange Principal Television film
1988 Evil in Clear River Kate McKinnon Television film
1988 Alfred Hitchcock Presents Susan Forrester Episode: "Prism"
1988 The Taking of Flight 847: The Uli Derickson Story Uli Derickson Television film
1988 Nightmare at Bittercreek Nita Daniels Television film
1988 Scandals Host Television film
1988 Police Story: Burnout Detective Sidney Shannon Television film
1989 From the Dead of the Night Joanna Television film
1989 Voice of the Heart Katharine Tempest Television miniseries, 4 episodes
1989 Bionic Showdown: The Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman Jaime Sommers Television film
1989 A Peaceable Kingdom Rebecca Cafferty 12 episodes
1990 Shattered Dreams Charlotte Fedders & Co-Producer Television film
1990 Babies Yvonne Television film
1991 Fire in the Dark Janet Television film
1991 To Be the Best Paula O'Neill Television miniseries, 2 episodes
1992 She Woke Up Claudia Parr Television film
1992 Treacherous Crossing Lindsey Thompson Gates Television film
1992 Against All Odds Host Television film
1992 A Message from Holly Holly Television film
1993 Nurses on the Line: The Crash of Flight 7 Elizabeth Hahn Television film
1994 Men Who Hate Women & The Women Who Love Them Host Television film
1994 Once in a Lifetime Daphne Fields Television film
1994 Bionic Ever After? Jaime Sommers Television film
1995 Fighting for My Daughter Kate Kerner Television film
1996 Sins of Silence Molly McKinley Television film
1996 A Mother's Instinct Raeanne Gilbaine Television film
1997 Contagious Dr. Hannah Cole Television film
1997 Their Second Chance Barbara Television film
1998 Voyage of Terror Dr. Stephanie Tauber Television film
2002 The Division Agatha B. Episode: "Farewell My Lovelies"
2005 Thicker than Water Jess Jarrett Television film
2006 Four Extraordinary Women Anne Television film
2006 The Surfer King Connie Zirpollo Television film
2008 Billy: The Early Years Morrow Graham Television film
2008 Tranquility Executive producer Short
2010–2014 Warehouse 13 Dr. Vanessa Calder 6 episodes
2011 Alphas Dr. Vanessa Calder Episode: "Never Let Me Go"
2012 Scruples Narrator Television film
2013 The Thanksgiving House Abigail Mather Television film
2013 Wi Na Go Mary Beth (Voice/Narrator) Short
2015 NCIS Barbara Bishop Episode: "Blood Brothers"
2016 Love Finds You in Valentine June Sterling Television film
2016 A Change of Heart Helen Television film
2017 Eat, Play, Love Rita Television film
2018 Mingle All the Way Veronica Hoffman Television film
2018 Fuller House Millie Episode: "Angels' Night Out"
2018–2019 Grey's Anatomy Helen Karev 4 episodes
2022 Blood & Treasure Dani Kowalski Episode: "The Ravens of Shangri-La"
2023 Generation Gap Herself Episode: "The Six Million Dollar Woman"

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2019 Death Stranding[35] Bridget (voice and likeness), Amelie (likeness only) Amelie and the young Bridget digitally de-aged and voiced by Emily O'Brien

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Category Nominated work Result
1977 Golden Globe Award Best Actress – Television Series Drama The Bionic Woman Nominated
1977 Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series Won
1978 Golden Globe Award Best Actress – Television Series Drama Nominated
1974 Photoplay Award Gold Medal New Female Star Nominated
1977 Favorite Female Sex Symbol Nominated
1978 Nominated
1984 Hollywood Walk of Fame Star on the Walk of Fame - Motion Picture Won
1989 CableACE Award Actress in a Dramatic Series Alfred Hitchcock Presents Nominated
2003 TV Land Award Superest Super Hero The Bionic Woman Nominated
2006 Greatest Gear or Admirable Apparatus Nominated
2007 Won
2019 San Diego International Film Festival Humanitarian Award Won


  • 1987: Lindsay Wagner's New Beauty: The Acupressure Facelift by Lindsay Wagner and Robert M. Klein (ISBN 0-13-536806-5)
  • 1988: 30-Day Natural Face Lift Program by Lindsay Wagner and Robert M. Klein (ISBN 0-86188-779-4)
  • 1994: High Road to Health: A Vegetarian Cookbook by Lindsay Wagner and Ariane Spade (ISBN 0-671-87277-X)

Explanatory notes[edit]

  1. ^ The fatalities of the September 11 attacks are terrorism, not accidents.


  1. ^ Film Actors Guide. University of Michigan. 1991. p. 406. ISBN 9780943728384.
  2. ^ Scott, Vernon (December 10, 1975). "Bionic Woman Zeroes In on Series". Los Angeles Times. p. G30. ProQuest 157811604. Lindsay, born in Los Angeles 26 years ago, is a poised, confident young woman who did some teaching in a private school while working as an actress.
  3. ^ Beck, Marilyn (March 11, 1976). "Bionic Woman Lindsay Wagner's attitudes spawned by hard childhood". p. 26. ProQuest 1937151105. Her parents divorced while she was still young, and it's only as an adult that she has finally established a meaningful relationship with her father.
  4. ^ Williams, Elisa (February 1, 2010). "Bionic Woman' star to speak in Vancouver on domestic violence". The Columbian. Archived from the original on February 5, 2010. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
  5. ^ Herz, Peggy (1976). Tv Talk 2: Exploring Tv Territory. Scholastic; First edition.
  6. ^ "Lindsay Wagner defeats dyslexia". USAToday.com. May 1, 2002. Archived from the original on May 30, 2012. Retrieved August 31, 2018. "When Carolyn Brenner, founder of Tikvah, described dyslexia to me," says Wagner, "I realized that's what I have. I looked back at my life and saw it had informed everything. I was intelligent but couldn't get through a book.
  7. ^ Skelton, Scott; Benson, Jim (1999). Rod Serling's Night Gallery: An After-hours Tour. Syracuse University Press. p. 186. ISBN 0-8156-0535-8.
  8. ^ Reid, Michael D. (April 17, 2015). "There's much more to Lindsay Wagner than Bionic Woman role". Times Colonist. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
  9. ^ a b Pena, Xochitl (August 22, 2017). "Lindsay Wagner talks 'Bionic Woman' and still working with 'Six Million Dollar Man'". The Desert Sun. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
  10. ^ Jackson, Marni (April 5, 1976). "Scrimpin' down the road". Maclean's. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
  11. ^ a b Pilato, Herbie J (December 19, 2016). "A 40th Anniversary Tribute to The Bionic Woman and Wonder Woman Part 1: The Bionic Woman". Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
  12. ^ Maslin, Janet (April 10, 1981). "'NIGHTHAWKS' WITH SYLVESTER STALLONE". The New York Times. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
  13. ^ Weinstein, Steve (September 13, 1989). "The New TV Season : CBS' Animal Park : Network Spends Millions of Dollars on a Zoo for Lindsay Wagner's 'Peaceable Kingdom'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
  14. ^ Mills, Bart (April 15, 1990). "RELATIONSHIPS GO TO 'HEART' OF WAGNER MINI". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
  15. ^ "Lindsay Wagner Guest Stars on Syfy's WAREHOUSE 13 Tonight, 8/27". BroadwayWorld. August 27, 2012. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
  16. ^ Sellers, John (August 2, 2011). ""Alphas" beams up Brent Spiner". Reuters. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
  17. ^ Steinberg, Jim (September 10, 2013). "Lindsay Wagner, 'The Bionic Woman,' teaching at San Bernardino Valley College". The San Bernardino Sun. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
  18. ^ Panda (June 11, 2018), E3 2018 Death Stranding Interview with Kojima & Lindsay Wagner, retrieved June 13, 2018
  19. ^ Lawrence, Jacquie (December 2, 2021). "Christmas At The Ranch: A lesbian holiday romance". Diva Magazine. Retrieved April 24, 2024.
  20. ^ Bionic Beauty
  21. ^ GELLENE, DENISE (November 19, 1998). "Bionic Woman Wired for Success With Region's Ford Sales". Retrieved July 28, 2017 – via LA Times.
  22. ^ Mooallem, Jon (November 18, 2007). "The Sleep-Industrial Complex". The New York Times. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
  23. ^ Bianco, Megan (February 25, 2016). "Honoring a bionic career". The Durango Herald. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
  24. ^ Vinciguerra, Thomas (December 10, 2010). "On DVD, Better ... Stronger ... Faster". The New York Times. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
  25. ^ Smith, Jennifer (October 21, 2010). "THE BIONIC WOMAN: SEASON ONE DVD Review". Collider.
  26. ^ Rand, Jory (October 29, 2016). "'Bionic Woman' actress says substance known as MMS worked for her".
  27. ^ "Lindsay Wagner - Hollywood Star Walk - Los Angeles Times". projects.latimes.com. Retrieved July 28, 2017.
  28. ^ Palm Springs Walk of Stars by date dedicated Archived October 13, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  29. ^ "Night Of The Stars Tribute". San Diego International Film Festival. April 19, 2018. Retrieved September 18, 2019.
  30. ^ Pilato, Herbie J. (2015). The Bionic Book Reconstructed. BearManor Media.
  31. ^ "While Lindsay Wagner Romps with Son Dorian, Her Third Marriage Heads for a Fall – Vol. 21 No. 4". January 30, 1984. Archived from the original on May 18, 2016. Retrieved July 28, 2017.
  32. ^ "10 Premonitions of Doom from History That Actually Came True". March 16, 2018.
  33. ^ Bentley, Rick (November 29, 2021). "Lindsay Wagner driven by need to tell stories in 'Christmas on the Ranch' and life". KGET-TV. Retrieved March 18, 2023.
  34. ^ Ng, Alan (October 18, 2022). "When Jack Came Back – Film Review". Film Threat. Retrieved February 16, 2024.
  35. ^ Death Stranding E3 2018 trailer debuts gameplay, new characters, By Allegra Frank, June 11, 2018 - Polygon

External links[edit]