- Category : Actress
- Type : GP
- Profile : 4/6 - Opportunistic / Role Model
- Definition : Split - Small (54)
- Incarnation Cross : RAX The Vessel of Love 2
Lindsay Jean Wagner (born June 22, 1949) is an American actress. She is best known for her portrayal of Jaime Sommers in the 1970s television series The Bionic Woman (for which she won an Emmy Award), though she has maintained a lengthy career in a variety of other film and television productions since.
Wagner was born in Los Angeles, California, the daughter of Marilyn Louise (née Thrasher) and William Nowels Wagner. When she was seven years old, her parents divorced and her mother moved with her to the northeast Los Angeles neighborhood of Eagle Rock, near Pasadena. Another move 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 was a graduate student at the University of Oregon.
Wagner worked as a model in Los Angeles, and gained some television experience by appearing as a hostess in Playboy After Dark. In 1971, she signed a contract with Universal Studios and worked as a contract player in various Universal productions. Her prime-time network television debut was in the series Adam-12, 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. Between 1971-75, 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 (Wagner's first feature film and first lead role). She also starred in the film The Paper Chase (for 20th Century Fox) the same year.
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, Steve Austin (played by Lee Majors). In the SMDM Season 2 two-part episode of "The Bionic Woman", Jaime was critically injured in a skydiving accident and, at Steve's request due to his love for her, she was equipped with bionic implants similar to his own (with the exception of his bionic eye, as Jaime was equipped with a bionic ear instead). Jaime's body rejected her new bionics which ultimately led to her death.
According to Kenneth Johnson, interviewed for "Bionic Beginnings", a featurette included in the 2010 North American DVD release of The Bionic Woman Season 1, Wagner was cast in the role based upon her appeal and spontaneity, having seen her appearance on the Pilot and Season 1 of the American TV seriesThe Rockford Files.
This was intended to be Wagner's last role under her Universal contract, but public response to the character was so overwhelming that Jaime was "brought back to life" (it was discovered that Jaime hadn't really died but had been put into cryogenic suspension until she could be cured). She next appeared in a two-part episode of The Six Million Dollar Man entitled "The Return of the Bionic Woman", and soon after in her own spin-off series, The Bionic Woman, which debuted in January 1976. Like Steve, Jaime became an agent for the U.S. Government agency, the O.S.I., though, suffering from amnesia, she could not remember her love for Steve. However, the two would team up for several crossover episodes throughout 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 mini-series and made-for-TV movies. These included the highly rated 1980 mini-series 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 in 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 telemovie, 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 1987, Wagner wrote a series of books with Robert M. Klein about using acupressure to achieve results akin to a surgical facelift. Wagner appeared in commercials as a spokesperson for Ford Motor Company and also appears in infomercials for Select Comfort's "Sleep Number" beds.
More recently, 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 2012, a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs, California, Walk of Stars was dedicated to her.
Prior to being married, Wagner lived with Capt. Daniel M. Yoder (USAF), until he went to Vietnam. She has been married four times. From 1971–73, she was married to music publisher Allan Rider. From 1976–79, 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 the late 1980s. Wagner then married TV producer Lawrence Mortorff in 1990, but they too divorced a couple of 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).
Wagner is on the board of directors of the charitable organization Teen Talking Circles Project (formerly The Daughters Sisters Project) and is an active supporter of Girls Talking Circles.