Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Godspeed Lyle Waggoner

Lyle Waggoner, who was a regular on The Carol Burnett Show for seven seasons and appeared as Steve Trevor and Steve Trevor, Jr. on the Seventies TV series Wonder Woman, died yesterday, March 17 2020, at the age of 84 after a brief illness.

Lyle Waggoner was born on April 13 1935 in Kansas City, Kansas. He spent a large part of his childhood in Excelsior Springs, Missouri. He graduated from Kirkwood High School in Kirkwood, Missouri. Afterwards he attended Washington University in St. Louis for a brief time before enlisting in the United States Army. In the army he served as a radio operator. Following his service Mr. Waggoner studied mechanical engineering at the General Motors Institute of Technology and later worked as a door-to-door salesman. After being told by many customers that he should be an actor, he appeared in a local production of Li'l Abner. Afterwards he moved to Los Angeles where he signed with MGM's "new talent" school for six months. After receiving no work at MGM, he signed with 20th Century Fox's "new talent" school.

In 1965 Lyle Waggoner auditioned for the title role in the upcoming TV series Batman. He made a screen test with child actor Peter Deyell as Robin, but the pair lost the roles to Adam West and Burt Ward. In 1966 he made his television debut in a guest appearance on Gunsmoke. He also guest starred in a small part on Lost in Space in 1967. It was in 1967 that Mr. Waggoner was hired as the announcer on The Carol Burnett Show. It was not long before he was appearing in skits. He ultimately remained with the show until 1974. In the late Sixties Lyle Waggoner also guest starred on The Governor & J. J. He made his film debut in Swamp Country in 1966. During the decade he appeared in the films Catalina Caper (1967) and Journey to the Centre of Time (1967). He hosted the syndicated version of the game show It's Your Bet.

In the Seventies Mr. Waggoner continued to appear on The Carol Burnett Show. He left the show in 1974. It was in 1975 that he was cast as Major Steve Trevor on the TV series Wonder Woman. When the show moved from ABC to CBS in its second season and was updated from World War II to the 1970s, Lyle Waggoner continued to appear on the show, playing Steve Trevor, Jr., the son of his original character. He guest starred on the shows Maude, The San Pedro Beach Bums, Flying High, Supertrain, Time Express, and Charlie's Angels. He continued to host the game show It's Your Bet until 1973. He also appeared as a guest on such talk shows, variety shows, and games shows as The Merv Griffith ShowThe Sonny and Cher Hour, Tattletales, and The Mike Douglas Show. He appeared in the films Love Me Deadly (1972) and Zero to Sixty (1978).  In 1979 he started the company StarWaggons, a company that rented motor homes for actors, makeup artists, and on for use on film and television sets.

In the Eighties Lyle Waggoner guest starred on such shows as Mork & Mindy; The Love Boat; Romance Theatre; Fantasy Island; Gun Shy; Happy Days; Hardcastle & McCormick; Simon & Simon; Mike Hammer; It's a Living; and Murder, She Wrote.  He appeared in such movies as Surf II (1984), Murder Weapon (1989), Mind Trap (1989), Gypsy Angels (1990), and The Girl I Want (1990).

In the Nineties Mr. Waggoner guest starred on the TV shows Daddy Dearest, Burke's Law, Ellen, Pauly, The Naked Truth, Love Boat: The Next Wave; and That '70s Show. He appeared in the movies Wizards of the Demon Sword (1991) and Dead Women in Lingerie (1991). In the Naughts he guest starred on the TV show The War at Home.

Lyle Waggoner was certainly handsome. He was also charming. Of course, he also had a voice like velvet. That having been said, he was much more than just a good looking guy with a great voice. On The Carol Burnett Show he proved he had a gift for comedy and was able to keep up with such comedic talents as Carol Burnett and Harvey Korman. On Wonder Woman he played Steve Trevor and Steve Trevor, Jr. with a perfect balance of seriousness and humour that was necessary for a superhero show that was largely played tongue in cheek. With his gift for comedy it should not be a surprise that most of Mr. Waggoner's roles tended to be comedic, but he did play dramatic roles from time to time, including guest appearances on Marcus Welby M.D. and Mike Hammer. Any time Lyle Waggoner appeared on the screen, one was guaranteed to be entertained.

1 comment:

Caftan Woman said...

Lyle was just what The Carol Burnett Show needed. The TV gods were kind.