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Lindsay Jean Wagner (born June 22, 1949) 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 was born in Los Angeles, California, the daughter of Marilyn Louise (née Thrasher) and William Nowels Wagner. When she was seven years old, her parents divorced and her mother moved with her to the northeast Los Angeles neighborhood of Eagle Rock, near Pasadena. Another move 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 while.
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 1971–75, 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 co-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.
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. 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 2012, a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs, California, Walk of Stars was dedicated to her.
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 very nearly died in the American Airlines Flight 191 plane crash (there were no survivors). She and her mother were about to board, but she started feeling uneasy and decided not to.
|1973||Two People||Deirdre McCluskey|
|1973||Paper Chase, TheThe Paper Chase||Susan Fields|
|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|
|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"|
|1971–1975||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"|
|1975–1976||Six Million Dollar Man, TheThe Six Million Dollar Man||Jaime Sommers||10 episodes|
|1976||Whodunnit?||Panellist||Episode: "Future Imperfect"|
|1976–1978||Bionic Woman, TheThe Bionic Woman||Jaime Sommers||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||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|
|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|
|2010–2013||Warehouse 13||Dr. Vanessa Calder||Episode: "For the Team"
Episode: "Love Sick"
Episode: "The Living and the Dead"
|2011||Alphas||Dr. Vanessa Calder||Episode: "Never Let Me Go"|
|2013||The Thanksgiving House||Abigail Mather||TV movie|
|2015||NCIS||Barbara Bishop||Episode: "Blood Brothers"|
- 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
- Lindsay Wagner at the Internet Movie Database
- Official Website
- International Website