Lee Majors

BIOGRAPHY

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LEE MAJORS

biography

Lee Majors is best known as Steve Austin, The Six Million Dollar Man.

 

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Born April 23rd 1938, Harvey Lee Yeary, aka Lee Majors, lost his father in an industrial accident a month before his birth. His mother died 18 months later in a car crash.

Orphaned before his second birthday, Majors was taken in by his aunt and uncle and the family moved to Kentucky. At school he participated in track and [American] football and, following his graduation in 1957, won a scholarship to Indiana University where he continued to pursue his passion for sports. His college career ended abruptly in 1959 after breaking his back playing football and he turned his hand to acting.

After graduating in 1962 he moved to Los Angeles where he met James Dean’s agent, Dick Clayton, who suggested he took acting classes. In 1964, aged 25, he landed a small, uncredited role in the Joan Crawford movie, 'Strait-Jacket', in addition to a (credited) role in an episode of 'Gunsmoke' and another in the 'Alfred Hitchcock Hour'.

His big break came in 1965 when he beat off 400 actors (including Burt Reynolds) to win the part of Heath Barkley opposite Barbara Stanwyck in a new Western series called 'The Big Valley'.

In 1968 he appeared in ‘Will Penny’ alongside Charlton Heston and the following year he landed a lead part in ‘The Ballad of Andy Crocker’, arguably the first ever movie to deal with Vietnam veterans. In the same year he was offered the chance to star in ‘Midnight Cowboy’ opposite Dustin Hoffman but contractual obligations to ‘The Big Valley’, which ran for four years, prevented him accepting the role.

His most famous role of all was 1973's 'The Six Million Dollar Man' in which Majors played ex-astronaut Steve Austin, a man fitted with bionic implants. The show became a huge success and was screened in over 70 countries, by the time it was cancelled in 1978 Majors was a huge star.

Majors was married to Kathy Robinson, with whom he had a son, but the pair divorced in 1968. In 1973, the year he became Steve Austin, he married Farrah Fawcett, herself famous for U.S. hit 'Charlie’s Angels'. The couple were, for a while, the toast of the town. Despite their divorce in 1982 it was rumoured that they became close before Fawcett died of anal cancer in 2009. Since then he’s been married a further two times, in 1988 to Playboy model Karen Velez, mother to their daughter and twin boys, and following their divorce in 1994 he married actress Faith Cross in 2002.

In 1981, after failing to find satisfactory success in the movies, Majors returned to television in 'The Fall Guy', playing Colt Seavers -a Hollywood stuntman/bounty hunter. Majors produced and directed the show (he even sung the theme tune) and it ran for five years before it was cancelled.

Since the 'The Fall Guy' Majors had a re-occurring role in ‘Tour of Duty’ but, largely, his parts have been cameos or guest spots. He continues to make regular TV appearances but, to many, he’ll always be Steve Austin.

 

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