Lindsay Wagner

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This article is about the actress. For the Playboy Playmate, see Lindsay Wagner (model).
Lindsay Wagner
Lindsay Wagner by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Wagner at Phoenix Comicon 2016
Born Lindsay Jean Wagner
(1949-06-22) June 22, 1949 (age 67)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Residence Dungeness, Washington [1]
Nationality American
Alma mater University of Oregon
Occupation Actress
Model
Author
Singer
Adjunct Professor[2]
Years active 1971–present
Known for The Bionic Woman
Height 5ft 9in (175 cm)
Weight 132 lb. (60 kg)
Spouse(s) Allan Rider (1971–1973)
Michael Brandon
(1976–1979)
Henry Kingi (1981–1984) (2 children)
Lawrence Mortorff
(1990–1993)
Children Dorian Kingi (b. 1982)[3]
Alex Kingi (b. 1986)[4]
Relatives Ed Thrasher (uncle)

Lindsay Jean Wagner (born June 22, 1949) is an American film and television actress, model, author, singer, acting coach, and adjunct professor.[5] Wagner is best known for her portrayal of the 1970s television leading female science fiction action character Jaime Sommers, who takes on special high-risk government missions using her superhuman bionic powers in the American television series The Bionic Woman (1976–1978). She first played this role on the 1970s American television series The Six Million Dollar Man. The Jaime Sommers character also became a pop culture icon of the 1970s. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, she reprised the role of Jaime Sommers in several bionic reunion television movies.

Wagner earned an Emmy Award in 1977 for 'Outstanding Lead Actress in a Dramatic Role' for her portrayal of Jaime Sommers in the The Bionic Woman television 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.

Wagner makes little distinction between her life as an actress, advocate, mother or author. What unites these various parts and careers is a commitment through her work and her personal life to exploring and advancing human potential.[6]

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, Wagner's parents divorced and her mother moved with her to the northeast Los Angeles neighborhood of Eagle Rock, near Pasadena. Another relocation 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 attended the University of Oregon for part of her freshman year before she transferred to Mount Hood Community College for a short period of time.

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 (Series 4, "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). 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 Wagner's 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.

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 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 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 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 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 and played the character again in its Syfy sister show Alphas in 2011.

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

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).

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.[7] 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.

In 2016, she appeared in the film Change of Heart as the owner of a semi-rundown bed and breakfast.

Honors[edit]

Wagner earned an Emmy Award in 1977 for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Dramatic Role for her portrayal of Jaime Sommers in the The Bionic Woman television series (1976-1978).

On December 13 1984, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce ceremoniously presented Wagner with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, category 'Film', located at the North side of the 6767 block of Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.[8]

In 2012, a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs, California, Walk of Stars was dedicated to Wagner's career.[9]

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 1984. 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 and her mother were booked on American Airlines Flight 191, but they decided not to board the flight after saying that she felt very uneasy getting onto the airplane. The aircraft crashed shortly after takeoff on May 25, 1979, killing a total of 273 people.[10][11][12]

Filmography[edit]

Film
Year Title Role Notes
1973 Two People Deirdre McCluskey
1973 Paper Chase, TheThe Paper Chase Susan Fields
1976 Second Wind Linda
1981 Nighthawks Irene
1981 High Risk Olivia
1985 Martin's Day Dr. Mennen
1991 Ricochet DA Priscilla Brimleigh
1998 Frog and Wombat Sydney Parker
2003 Light in the Forest, AA Light in the Forest Penelope Audrey
2005 Buckaroo: The Movie Ms. Ainsley
2006 Surfer King, TheThe Surfer King Connie Zirpollo
2008 Billy: The Early Years Morrow Graham
Television
Year Title Role Notes
1971 Adam-12 Jenny Carson Episode: "Million Dollar Buff"
1971 Man and the City, TheThe Man and the City Margie Holland Episode: "Disaster on Turner Street"
1971 Bold Ones: The Lawyers, TheThe 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"
1971–75 Marcus Welby, M.D. Various 5 episodes
1971 Rod Serling's Night Gallery Nurse Episode: "The Diary"
1972 Rod Serling's Night Gallery Girl 1 episode
1972 O'Hara, U.S. Treasury Edie Lang Episode: "Operation: XW-1"
1972 F.B.I., TheThe F.B.I. Laurie Peale Episode: "Dark Journey"
1974 Rockford Files, TheThe Rockford Files Sara Butler Episode: "Backlash of the Hunter"
1975 Rockford Files, TheThe Rockford Files Sara Butler Episode: "Aura Lee, Farewell"
1975–76 Six Million Dollar Man, TheThe Six Million Dollar Man Jaime Sommers 10 episodes
1976 Whodunnit? Panellist Episode: "Future Imperfect"
1976–78 Bionic Woman, TheThe Bionic Woman Jaime Sommers 3 x Seasons: 58 episodes
1979 Incredible Journey of Doctor Meg Laurel, TheThe Incredible Journey of Doctor Meg Laurel Meg Laurel TV movie
1979 Two Worlds of Jennie Logan, TheThe Two Worlds of Jennie Logan Jennie Logan TV movie
1980 Scruples Billy Ikehorn TV miniseries
1981 Callie & Son Callie Bordeaux TV movie
1982 Memories Never Die Joanne Tilford TV movie
1983 I Want to Live Barbara Graham TV movie
1983 Fall Guy, TheThe Fall Guy Mary Connors Episode: "Devil's Island"
1983 Princess Daisy Francesca Valenski TV movie
1983 Two Kinds of Love Susan Farley TV movie
1984 Jessie Dr. Jessie Hayden TV movie
1984 Passions Nina Simon TV movie
1984 Jessie Dr. Jessie Hayden 10 episodes
1985 Other Lover, TheThe Other Lover Claire Fielding TV movie
1985 This Child Is Mine Bonnie Wilkerson TV movie
1986 Child's Cry Joanne Van Buren TV movie
1986 Young Again Laura Gordon TV movie
1986 Kate & Allie Julia Episode: "Late Bloomer"
1986 Convicted Martha Forbes TV movie
1987 Stranger in My Bed Beverly Slater TV movie
1987 Return of the Six-Million-Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman, TheThe Return of the Six-Million-Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman Jaime Sommers TV movie
1987 Student Exchange Principal TV movie
1988 Evil in Clear River Kate McKinnon TV movie
1988 Alfred Hitchcock Presents Susan Forrester Episode: "Prism"
1988 Taking of Flight 847: The Uli Derickson Story, TheThe Taking of Flight 847: The Uli Derickson Story Uli Derickson TV movie
1988 Nightmare at Bittercreek Nita Daniels TV movie
1988 Scandals Host TV movie
1988 Police Story: Burnout Det. Sidney Shannon TV movie
1989 From the Dead of the Night Joanna TV movie
1989 Voice of the Heart Katharine Tempest TV movie
1989 Bionic Showdown: The Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman Jaime Sommers TV movie
1989 Peaceable Kingdom, AA Peaceable Kingdom Rebecca Cafferty 12 episodes
1990 Shattered Dreams Charlotte Fedders TV movie
1990 Babies Yvonne TV movie
1991 Fire in the Dark Janet TV movie
1992 She Woke Up Claudia Parr TV movie
1992 Treacherous Crossing Lindsey Thompson Gates TV movie
1992 Against All Odds Host TV series
1992 To Be the Best Paula O'Neill TV movie
1992 Message from Holly, AA Message from Holly Holly TV movie
1993 Nurses on the Line: The Crash of Flight 7 Elizabeth Hahn TV movie
1994 Men Who Hate Women & the Women Who Love Them Host TV movie
1994 Once in a Lifetime Daphne Fields TV movie
1994 Bionic Ever After? Jaime Sommers TV movie
1995 Fighting for My Daughter Kate Kerner TV movie
1996 Sins of Silence Molly McKinley TV movie
1996 Mother's Instinct, AA Mother's Instinct Raeanne Gilbaine TV movie
1997 Contagious Dr. Hannah Cole TV movie
1997 Their Second Chance Barbara TV movie
1998 Voyage of Terror Dr. Stephanie Tauber TV movie
2002 Division, TheThe Division Agatha B. Episode: "Farewell My Lovelies"
2005 Thicker than Water Jess Jarrett TV movie
2006 Four Extraordinary Women Anne TV movie
2006 The Surfer King Connie Zirpollo TV movie
2008 Billy: The Early Years Morrow Graham TV movie
2010–2014 Warehouse 13 Dr. Vanessa Calder 6 x Episodes: "For the Team" (2010)
Episode: "Buried" (2010)
Episode: "Love Sick" (2011)
Episode: "Fractures" (2012)
Episode: "The Living and the Dead" (2013) "Endless Terror" (2014)
2011 Alphas Dr. Vanessa Calder Episode: "Never Let Me Go"
2012 Scruples Narrator TV movie
2013 The Thanksgiving House Abigail Mather TV movie
2013 Wi Na Go Mary Beth (Voice/Narrator) Short
2015 NCIS Barbara Bishop Season 13, Episode 10: "Blood Brothers"
2016 Love Finds You In Valentine June Sterling TV movie
2016 Change of Heart Helen TV movie

Books[edit]

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

References[edit]

External links[edit]