Lee Majors

Active - 1964 - 2020  |   Born - Apr 23, 1939 in Wyandotte, Michigan, United States  |   Genres - Drama, Action, Science Fiction, Comedy, Spirituality & Philosophy

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Biography by Hal Erickson

A football star at Eastern Kentucky State College, Lee Majors came to Los Angeles armed with a physical education degree and possessed with a vague desire to break into films. He worked as a park recreation director for the City of Los Angeles before entering show business in 1963. Majors was promoted as "the New James Dean," though he personally aspired to become a new Steve McQueen or Paul Newman (he also retained his permit to work as a recreation director, just in case the world wasn't holding its breath for a new Dean, McQueen or Newman). Majors achieved stardom on his own merits in a variety of television series, the most recent of which was 1992's Raven. His best-known TV roles included Heath Barkley on The Big Valley (1965-69), bionic Steve Austin on The Six Million Dollar Man (1973-78) and stunt man Colt Seavers on The Fall Guy (1981-86). In addition, he has headlined a number of made-for-TV movies, essaying the old Gary Cooper part in the 1991 sequel to High Noon and portraying U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers in a 1976 biopic. Majors would continue to act in the decades to come, memorably appearing in Big Fat Liar and on The Game. For several years, Lee Majors was married to actress Farrah Fawcett.

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  • Father died in an industrial accident before he was born, and his mother died in a car crash before his second birthday. He was subsequently raised by his paternal uncle and aunt.
  • Was a star athlete in high school, which earned him a football scholarship to Indiana University.
  • Suffered a back injury during a football game in college; this effectively ended his college football career, but it did not prevent the St. Louis Cardinals from offering him a tryout. He declined to play pro football and instead moved to Los Angeles, where he took a job with the Parks and Recreation Department.
  • Gained first significant recognition when he landed the role of Heath Barkley in The Big Valley (ABC) in 1965; he beat out more than 400 other actors, including Burt Reynolds, for the role.
  • Had a starring role on the early 1970s series Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law. His then girlfriend---and future wife---Farrah Fawcett guest starred in one episode.
  • Starred as Steve Austin in the 1973 ABC movie The Six Million Dollar Man, which was made into the iconic series in 1974.