|Full Name||Harvey Lee Yeary|
|Birthday||April 23, 1939|
Lee Majors is an American actor best known for starring as Steve Austin in the 1970s TV series The Six Million Dollar Man. He became a pop culture icon portraying the bionic hero, leaving an enduring legacy on science fiction and television. With a career spanning over 60 years, Majors has entertained generations of fans with his rugged charm and versatility as an actor.
Early Life and Football Career
Born Harvey Lee Yeary in 1939, Majors had a difficult childhood, losing both his parents in accidents by age 5. He was raised by his grandparents in Kentucky and developed a love of sports. Majors attended Indiana University on a football scholarship, playing alongside future NFL quarterback Terry Hanratty. Major suffered a back injury that dashed his football dreams. But it led him to pursue acting instead.
Move to Hollywood
After graduating college in 1962, Majors headed to Los Angeles to find work as an actor. He picked the stage name Lee Majors as a tribute to his childhood idol, football star Johnny Majors. One of his first roles was a small part in the John Wayne war film The Longest Day (1962). For several years, Majors landed bit parts on various TV Westerns like Gunsmoke and The Big Valley.
His breakout role came in 1965 on The Big Valley, where he was cast as the hot-tempered Heath Barkley. Displaying talent and charisma, Majors‘ supporting part soon grew into one of the show‘s most popular characters. He earned his first Emmy nomination for the performance.
The Six Million Dollar Man Makes Majors a Star
In 1973, Lee Majors achieved international fame when he won the starring role of Steve Austin in ABC‘s sci-fi adventure series The Six Million Dollar Man. Based on the Martin Caidin novel Cyborg, it told the story of a former astronaut rebuilt through bionic technology after a crash. With his portrayal of Austin, a reluctant hero traumatized by his bionic transformation, Majors became a household name.
The show was a massive success and Majors was nominated for two Golden Globes for his performance. His chemistry with co-star Farrah Fawcett, who played girlfriend Jaime Sommers, also drew legions of fans. Majors‘ bionic hero defined 1970s pop culture, immortalized through his slow-motion running and the show‘s iconic sound effects.
Continued Success in the 1980s
Even after The Six Million Dollar Man ended in 1978, Majors remained highly popular, transitioning into new hit shows and movie roles. In 1981, he starred in the ABC action series The Fall Guy playing Colt Seavers, a stuntman and bounty hunter, which ran until 1986.
Films like the racing comedy Stroker Ace (1983) and the hijacking thriller Starflight One (1983) also showcased Majors‘ range beyond bionic heroics. He even reprised the role of Steve Austin in several Six Million Dollar Man TV movies, giving fans more of his signature character. Majors proved his durability as a leading man who could sustain multiple successful franchises.
Acting in Recent Years
While he is now in his 80s, Lee Majors continues acting, often playing mentors and father figures. He has appeared in films such as The Last Stand (2013) and Do You Believe? (2015), as well as on TV shows including a recurring guest role on the Dallas reboot. Fans also enjoyed seeing him voice an animated version of Steve Austin in the Futurama episode "Benderama" in 2011.
In 2018, Majors released an autobiography called Lee Majors: Reflections on Faith, Hope and Love where he shares stories and wisdom from his life. He lives with his wife Faith outside Los Angeles. On social media, Majors engages enthusiastically with fans, reminding the world he‘s still the same charming Steve Austin they came to love decades ago.
Why Lee Majors Is so Beloved
There are countless reasons why Lee Majors remains one of the most universally adored television actors:
- He epitomized the action hero. As Steve Austin, Majors struck the perfect balance between tough-as-nails power and underlying compassion. He created the archetype.
- He‘s an incredible actor. Though known for action roles, Majors always brought nuance, humor, and heart. He made his characters memorable.
- He‘s incredibly charming. Majors‘ easygoing charisma and disarming warmth made him magnetic on screen. His smile lit up any scene.
- He had incredible chemistry with co-stars. Whether with Farrah Fawcett, Lindsay Wagner, or Doug Barr, Majors ignited dynamite chemistry that resonated with audiences.
- He‘s a Hollywood legend. With his iconic roles in beloved shows like The Six Million Dollar Man, Majors is cemented as true pop culture royalty.
- He‘s still captivating today. Now in his 80s, Majors retains the same charm and work ethic that made him a star. He‘s a true professional.
Lee Majors is proof some actors become more than just stars – they become legends. He will forever be remembered as TV‘s bionic hero, capturing imaginations for generations.
Five Fun Lee Majors Facts
Beyond his famous roles, there are some fascinating facts about Lee Majors that even hardcore fans may not know:
- He was almost Han Solo. Majors turned down the role of Han Solo in Star Wars because he was contracted to do more Six Million Dollar Man projects.
- He survived a traumatic accident. Prior to acting, Majors was in a car accident that killed his girlfriend and left him with serious injuries that required plastic surgery.
- He has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Majors was awarded stars in 1984 for film and television to recognize his legendary career.
- He turned down a role in Midnight Cowboy. While struggling to catch a break, Majors declined a supporting role in the film Midnight Cowboy that could have been his big break.
- He met his wife Faith on a blind date. Majors has said he knew he would marry Faith the moment they first met on a blind date in 1987, and they tied the knot in 2002.
Closing Thoughts on an Unforgettable Career
Few actors have matched the impact Lee Majors made in his prime, dominating television screens with characters that instantly lodged into the public consciousness. Though pop culture has evolved, Majors‘ portrayal as Steve Austin remains truly timeless. His bionic hero defined an era and his own career.
Yet beyond the breakout roles, Majors proved over and over the depth of his talent, showcasing range, emotion, and humanity. He shared captivating chemistry with all his co-stars. And he always gave 100% of himself to every performance. This consummate professional is still sought after today because he‘s simply magnetic to watch.
Lee Majors is living proof that some stars shine so brightly, they become forever embedded in Hollywood‘s constellation. He achieved the American Dream, rising from difficult childhood circumstances into a phenomenally successful acting career spanning six decades and counting. But through it all, he never lost the earnest appeal and work ethic that made him so beloved. Lee Majors is more than just an extraordinary actor. He‘s a real life hero who inspired – and continues inspiring – millions.