Lee Majors

Lee Majors Biography.com

Actor, Television Actor(1939–)
Actor Lee Majors achieved stardom through a variety of popular TV series, including The Big Valley, The Fall Guy and The Six Million Dollar Man.

Synopsis

Lee Majors was born April 23, 1939, in Wyandotte, Michigan. He worked as a park recreation director for the City of Los Angeles before entering show business in 1963. He achieved stardom through a variety of popular TV series, including The Big Valley and The Fall Guy. But it was his role as Steve Austin in The Six Million Dollar Man that catapulted the handsome actor into cult status.

Early Life

Actor Lee Majors was born Harvey Lee Yeary III on April 23, 1939, in Wyandotte, Michigan. Shortly before Majors was born, his father died in a steel mill accident. To compound the tragedy, when Majors was around 18 months old, his mother was also killed, hit by a drunk driver as she waited to cross a street on her way to work. Majors didn't find out he had been adopted by relatives until his teenage years, when he found a bundle of newspaper clippings related to his parents' deaths. Majors was raised by an aunt and uncle.

Instead of finding devastation in the news, Majors found resolve. "I made up my mind right then that my stepparents would never regret having adopted me," he said "I set out to prove myself."

A gifted athlete, Majors attended Indiana University on a football scholarship, before transferring to Eastern Kentucky State College (now Eastern Kentucky University). There, he suffered a back injury that left him paralyzed for a short time. Though he recovered, the experience made Majors put aside thoughts of a career in sports. He graduated in 1962 with a degree in physical education, but had a desire to break into acting.

While still a student, Majors married Kathy Robinson. Their son, named Lee, was born in 1962. The next year, Majors and his family moved to Los Angeles, California, where Majors got a job with the city's Department of Recreation and Parks. Soon after the move, his marriage experienced difficulties, and his wife and son went back to Kentucky.

Early Career

In Los Angeles, Majors studied acting with Estelle Harmon at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios. Promoted as a "new James Dean," Majors soon began to land small parts. His breakthrough role was in the TV Western The Big Valley (1965-69).

The Big Valley gave Majors a chance to learn the ropes from a veteran performer, the legendary Barbara Stanwyck. As he explained to Fox News in 2013, Stanwyck "took me under her wing. She was a disciplinarian and taught me. The main thing was to be on time, know your lines, hit your mark and keep your mouth shut."

'The Six Million Dollar Man'

After The Big Valley ended, Majors appeared on another Western, The Virginian, and then the legal drama Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law. Majors next was cast in the title role in The Six Million Dollar Man, a TV movie that aired in 1973.

The Six Million Dollar Man featured Majors as Steve Austin, an astronaut who was rebuilt with bionic technology after an accident. Following this transformation, Austin went to work as an agent for a special branch of the government. The TV movie's success led to a series, which aired from 1974 to 1978 and turned Majors into a huge star.

Later Career

After The Six Million Dollar Man, Majors enjoyed another wave of popularity with The Fall Guy (1981-86). In this action series, he played a stuntman who supplemented his income by working as a bounty hunter. In the 1980s and '90s, Majors also revisited his iconic Six Million Dollar Man role in several TV movies.

Majors has continued to work steadily throughout his career. In recent years, he appeared on The Game, Weeds and Raising Hope. In 2013, Majors was seen on Dallas, where he shared scenes with Linda Gray.

Personal Life

Lee Majors has been married four times. He first married actress Kathy Robinson in 1961. The couple had a son, Lee Majors II, before their divorce in 1964.

He wed actress Farrah Fawcett in 1973. Their marriage coincided with his work on The Six Million Dollar Man and her role as one of Charlie's Angels. The two popular TV stars often made headlines while they were together. They separated in 1979 and divorced in 1982. Fawcett died on June 25, 2009.

Majors' third marriage was to former Playboy model Karen Velez. The couple have three children, daughter Nikki, and twin boys, Dane and Trey, before they called it quits in 1994.

Majors married his fourth wife, Faith Cross, in 2002. They live in Houston, Texas.

In 2003, Majors underwent heart surgery to repair a blocked artery.

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