Lyle Wesley Waggoner
April 13, 1935
|Died||March 17, 2020 (aged 84)|
Lyle Wesley Waggoner (/ˈwæɡnər/; April 13, 1935 — March 17, 2020) was an American actor and former model, known for his work on The Carol Burnett Show from 1967 to 1974, and for playing the role of Steve Trevor and Steve Trevor Jr. on Wonder Woman from 1975 to 1979.
1 Early life
2 Acting career
3 Later career
4 Personal life
7 External links
Waggoner was born in Kansas City, Kansas, the son of Marie and Myron Waggoner, and spent part of his childhood in Excelsior Springs, Missouri. In 1953, he graduated from Kirkwood High School in Kirkwood, Missouri, and then studied briefly at Washington University in St. Louis. He then joined the United States Army, serving two years in West Germany as a radio operator.
After his discharge, Waggoner studied mechanical engineering in the junior executive program at the General Motors Institute of Technology. He then sold encyclopedias door to door. He made his acting debut as a muscle man in a Kansas City production of Li'l Abner, after which he created a sales promotion organization that enabled him to make enough money to finance a trip to Los Angeles and start an acting career.
By the mid-1960s, Waggoner was appearing regularly in television and films, including an episode of Gunsmoke. He was a finalist for the title role in the TV series version of Batman, but lost the role to Adam West.
In 1967, he appeared in Catalina Caper (with Tommy Kirk, a former child actor trying to restart his career as a young adult), a film which would eventually be lampooned by Mystery Science Theater 3000. He also had a minor guest-starring role in the season-three episode "Deadliest of the Species" of the TV series Lost in Space.
Left: Waggoner and other cast members from The Carol Burnett Show in 1967 (clockwise from the bottom): Burnett, Harvey Korman, Vicki Lawrence, and Lyle Waggoner (on the right, the 1977 cast)
Also in 1967, Waggoner began a seven-year stint on The Carol Burnett Show, a comedy sketch and variety show, on which he appeared as announcer and performer. In 1973, Waggoner became Playgirl's first male seminude centerfold. Waggoner left The Carol Burnett Show in 1974 in the hopes of advancing his career as a lead actor. His spot on the show was filled by frequent guest star Tim Conway (and his role as announcer by Ernie Anderson). He has appeared on some of the show's reunion TV specials.
In 1976, Waggoner was appointed "mayor" of Encino, California, by the local chamber of commerce. The "mayor" is not an actual government official; the post is an honorary "goodwill ambassador" position. In addition to Waggoner, other holders of the title include Steve Allen, Mike Connors, Fred Travalena, Ronnie Schell, and Cesare Danova.
A year after leaving Carol Burnett, Waggoner landed the role of Steve Trevor for the pilot and first season of the television series Wonder Woman starring Lynda Carter. Initially set during World War II, when the subsequent two seasons advanced the timeline to the 1970s, Waggoner played Steve Trevor, Jr.
Waggoner also appeared in several TV movies and minor motion pictures during the 1970s and 1980s, often cast for “hunk” appeal. He has also made guest appearances on numerous television series including Charlie's Angels, The San Pedro Beach Bums, Happy Days, Mork & Mindy, The Golden Girls, Ellen, and most recently The War at Home. Waggoner has also played at least three roles on The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, and Murder, She Wrote throughout their respective runs.
In 1979, Waggoner founded Star Waggons, a company that leases customized location trailers for use by the entertainment industry. In 1990, Waggoner co-produced and appeared in a consumer-product show called Consumer America with co-host Shawn Bruner. The show featured novel national products from self-help to home goods and lasted about two seasons.
Waggoner retired from full-time acting to run Star Waggons, but he makes occasional appearances, often parodying his earlier image (The Naked Truth, That '70s Show, and Return to the Batcave).
In 1993, Waggoner was the host of an infomercial, “Let's Talk With Lyle Waggoner”, which advertised “Y-Bron”, supposedly a natural product that would cure male impotence. Scottsdale, Arizona-based Twin Star was later fined $1.5 million for unsubstantiated claims about Y-Bron.
Waggoner was married to Sharon Kennedy, an actress, financial consultant, and realtor. They married in 1961 and have two sons, Jason and Beau. He currently resides near Jackson, Wyoming, where he is a sculptor. His works can be seen at Galleries West Fine Art in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and are usually humorous renditions of lovely ladies, some of which are cast at Eagle Bronze in Lander, Wyoming. He also has homes in Manzanillo, Colima, Mexico; Oxnard California, and Westlake Village, California.
Waggoner died on March 17, 2020, after a short illness.
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