Born: June 22, 1949
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Lindsay Jean Wagner (born June 22, 1949) is an American film and television actress, model, author, singer, acting coach, and adjunct professor. Wagner is best known for her portrayal of the 1970s television leading female science fiction action character Jaime Sommers, who takes on special high-risk government missions using her superhuman bionic powers in the American television series The Bionic Woman (1976-1978). She first played this role on the 1970s American television series The Six Million Dollar Man. The Jaime Sommers character also became a pop culture icon of the 1970s. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, she reprised the role in several bionic reunion television movies.
Wagner earned an Emmy Award in 1977 for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Dramatic Role for her portrayal of Jaime Sommers in the The Bionic Woman television series.
Wagner began acting professionally in 1971, and has maintained a lengthy acting career in a variety of film and television productions to the present day.
Wagner was born in Los Angeles, California, the daughter of Marilyn Louise (née Thrasher) and William Nowels Wagner. When she was seven years old, Wagner's parents divorced and her mother moved with her to the northeast Los Angeles neighborhood of Eagle Rock, near Pasadena. Another relocation 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 period of time.
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 primetime network television debut was in the series Adam-12 ("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 and 1975, 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, which was her first feature film and her first lead role. She also co-starred in the 20th Century Fox film The Paper Chase the same year, playing the daughter of the stern law professor Kingsfield.
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 one, 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 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 miniseries and television films. These included the highly rated 1980 miniseries 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 into 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 television film 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, Wagner commenced teaching at San Bernardino Valley College in southern California (Acting and Directing for Television and Film, Motion Picture Production) as an adjunct faculty member.
In 2015, Wagner appeared in the NCIS season 13, episode 10: "Blood Brothers" in the role of Barbara Bishop, the mother of NCIS Probationary Agent Eleanor Bishop (Emily Wickersham).
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 2016, she appeared in the film Change of Heart as the owner of a somewhat rundown bed and breakfast.
Wagner earned an Emmy Award in 1977 for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Dramatic Role for her portrayal of Jaime Sommers in the The Bionic Woman television series (1976-1978).
On December 13, 1984, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce presented Wagner with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, category 'Film', located at the north side of the 6767 block of Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.
In 2012, a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs, California, Walk of Stars was dedicated to Wagner's career.
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 few 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 and her mother were booked on American Airlines Flight 191, but they decided not to board the flight after saying that she felt very uneasy getting onto the airplane. The aircraft crashed shortly after takeoff on May 25, 1979, killing a total of 273 people.
|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"|
|1971-75||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"|
|1975-76||Six Million Dollar Man, TheThe Six Million Dollar Man||Jaime Sommers||10 episodes|
|1976||Whodunnit?||Panellist||Episode: "Future Imperfect"|
|1976-78||Bionic Woman, TheThe Bionic Woman||Jaime Sommers||3 x Seasons: 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|
|2006||The Surfer King||Connie Zirpollo||TV movie|
|2008||Billy: The Early Years||Morrow Graham||TV movie|
|2010-2014||Warehouse 13||Dr. Vanessa Calder||6 x Episodes: "For the Team" (2010)
Episode: "Buried" (2010)
Episode: "Love Sick" (2011)
Episode: "Fractures" (2012)
Episode: "The Living and the Dead" (2013) "Endless Terror" (2014)
|2011||Alphas||Dr. Vanessa Calder||Episode: "Never Let Me Go"|
|2013||The Thanksgiving House||Abigail Mather||TV movie|
|2013||Wi Na Go||Mary Beth (Voice/Narrator)||Short|
|2015||NCIS||Barbara Bishop||Season 13, Episode 10: "Blood Brothers"|
|2016||Love Finds You In Valentine||June Sterling||TV movie|
|2016||Change of Heart||Helen||TV movie|