06-22 Happy birthday to Lindsay Wagner, Born: June 22, 1949.
Lindsay Jean Wagner 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.
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 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.
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