Even though she came to prominence in 1973 playing Susan Fields in the commercially successful movie The Paper Chase, Lindsay Wagner had already been involved in about ten movie and television projects in the two years prior. She wears many hats as an actress, producer, mother, model, author, acting coach, singer, and adjunct professor. She doesn’t like to make a distinction between these roles as she believes her commitment to them all is her way of advancing her potential.
As a hot property in the movie industry in the 1970s and 1980s, one of her most iconic roles came in 1975 when she first played the character Jamie Sommers in the science fiction television series The Six Million Dollar Man. She has since reprised that role more than once and has amassed over 90 movie and television credits to her name in her acting career. Wagner who has been diagnosed with dyslexia is proof that anyone can break through any barrier to become a success story.
Lindsay Wagner’s Biography
Given the name Jean as her middle name, Lindsay was born to Marilyn Louise and William Nowels Wagner on June 22, 1949, in Los Angeles. While she was yet at the young age of seven, she experienced the collapse of her parents’ marriage. She then went on to live with her mother and stepfather to Eagle Rock, Los Angeles, and then to Portland, Oregon.
It was here that she did her high school education at David Douglas High School and started building her interest in the world of theatre and acting. Upon graduation, she gained admission into the University of Oregon. Less than a year later, she transferred to Mount Hood Community College.
Her Career Achievements
Over the course of her career, Lindsay has been a lot of things to a lot of people for a lot of reasons. Through her work on the big screen, in particular, it seems she is always taking roles that seek to communicate ideas that help people progress in their personal journeys.
Lindsay started out doing some modeling work in her native Los Angeles. This early period of her career saw her appear on a few television shows including Playboy After Dark, and The Dating Game, while also signing as a contract player for Universal Studios. She finally broke into primetime television when she appeared as Jenny Carson in an episode of Adam-12 in 1971. This opened the door for a slew of tv appearances with Universal. In this period, she portrayed Stella Bowers in The Bold Ones: The Lawyers (1971); Diana Oliver in Owen Marshal, Counsel at Law (1971); Laurie Peale in The F.B.I. (1972); and Laurie Meyers in Sarge (1971) among others.
Switching to film roles in 1973, she was cast in Two People as Deirdre McCluskey and The Paper Chase as Susan Fields. The former was her first feature film and saw her play a lead character for the first time.
One of her biggest character portrayals came in 1975 when she played Jamie Sommers in the science fiction series The Six Million Dollar Man alongside actor Lee Majors. The positive response received for her portrayal prompted the network to write her character into subsequent episodes and spinoffs of the show. This included a separate show for her character in 1976 titled The Bionic Woman. She continued to make appearances on both shows throughout 1976, while her own spin-off continued until 1978 ending a 58 episode run for the show. For her efforts, she bagged herself a 1977 Emmy Award in the category of “Best Actress in a Dramatic Role”.
Following the cancellation of The Bionic Woman in 1978, Lindsay Wagner continued to show up in a slew of television films and minor projects. These included 1980’s Scruples where she played Billy Ikehorn and Nighthawks where she starred as the ex-wife to Sylvester Stallone‘s character. The 80s also saw her reunite on-screen with Lee Majors for a number of Bionic and Six Million Dollar Man television reunion movies.
Leading into the 1990s and 2000s her acting career began to taper off gradually. She appeared in Ricochet (1991); A Peaceful Kingdom (1989 – 1995); Thicker than Water (2005); Warehouse 13 (2010 – 2014); and Mingle All the Way (2018).
Wagner’s name was finally etched in permanent ink on December 13, 1984, when she was gifted her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame under the film category. She would get her second star, a Golden Palm Star on the Walk of Stars, Palm Springs, California, in 2012.
Her Non-Acting Endeavors
Wagner had slowly begun to focus on other aspects of her career. In 2013, she took up an adjunct professorship position as an acting coach at San Bernardino Valley College located in Southern California. As of 2018, she has also started voicing and motion capture work on Death Stranding a video game collaborative by Sony Interactive Entertainment and Kojima Productions.
As an author, Lindsay Wagner has published a series of books between 1987 and 1994. These books have seen her collaborate with authors Robert M. Klein and Ariane Spade. Her first book Lindsay Wagner’s New Beauty: The Acupressure Facelift was released in 1987. Next was 30-Day Natural Face Lift Program the following year and High Road to Health: A Vegetarian Cookbook in 1994.
Lindsay has also been part of a number of commercials for brands like Ford Motor Company, and Select Comfort.
Lindsay Wagner’s Spouse and Children
The actress has been in four marriages and interestingly, none of them have lasted more than three years.
Her first relationship was with Captain Daniel M. Yoder. They never got married as the military man was sent to Vietnam, thus ending their relationship. Her first marriage was to music mogul Allan Rider from 1971 to 1973. She then tied the knot with fellow actor Michael Brandon in 1976 but this too only lasted as far as 1979.
Next was Henry Kingi who worked as a stuntman on the set of The Bionic Woman. She got married to him in 1981 and they annulled the union in 1984. However, the couple had two sons, Dorian and Alex, during their time together. Her last marriage was to Lawrence Mortoff, a television and movie producer. The marriage lasted from 1990 to 1993.