Childhood & Early Life
Lee Majors was born Harvey Lee Yeary on 23 April 1939, in Wyandotte, Michigan, U.S.A. His father Carl Yeary was a manual laborer who died on the job before Lee was born. His mother Alice Yeary was a homemaker; she passed away in an auto accident before his second birthday.
Orphaned before the age of two, Lee was adopted by his paternal uncle and aunt, Harvey Yeary and Mildred Poore. They brought him to their home in Middlesboro, Kentucky.
He found out about his adoption much later in his teenage years, and became determined to make his adoptive parents proud.
Growing up, he wanted to become a football coach. He began playing football for his school team at ‘Middlesboro High School.’ After graduating in 1957, he earned a scholarship to ‘Indiana University’ where he continued to play football.
In 1959, he transferred to ‘Eastern Kentucky University’ in Richmond where he suffered a severe back injuryduring a game that left him paralyzed waist down for a few weeks. This brought an end to his prospective football career.
He graduated from ‘Eastern Kentucky’ in 1962 with a degree in history and physical education. He later received an honorary doctorate from the university in 2006.
He starteddeveloping an interest in acting and performed in plays at the ‘Pioneer Playhouse’ in Danville, Kentucky. After college, he received an offer to join ‘St. Louis Cardinals.’ However, he decided tomove to Los Angeles and started working as a parks and recreation director.
In Los Angeles, he came in contact with several actors and industry professionals, including agent Dick Clayton. He attended Clayton’s acting school for a year and also studied at Estelle Harman’s acting school at MGM, preparing himself for a showbiz career.
He adopted the stage name ‘Lee Majors’after his childhood idol and football legend Johnny Majors.
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In 1964, Lee Majors appeared in his first, although uncredited, role in the horror film ‘Strait-Jacket.’
In 1965, his first credited role came in an episode of ‘Gunsmoke.’ He also appeared in an installment of ‘The Alfred Hitchcock Hour: The Monkey's Paw – A Retelling.’
His big break came in 1965 when he was cast to play a role in the hit ABC western series ‘The Big Valley’ (1965-1969). He portrayed the role of ‘Heath Barkley’ in the show. Meanwhile, he also appeared in the 1967 Charlton Heston film ‘Will Penny.’
In 1969, he played the lead role in a television film titled ‘The Ballad of Andy Crocker.’ The same year, he also got an offer to star in ‘Midnight Cowboy,’ but had to refuse as ‘The Big Valley’ was renewed for another season.
In 1970, he appeared in William Wyler's last movie ‘The Liberation of L.B. Jones.’He also appeared in the last season of ‘The Virginian.’
In 1971, he started portraying the character of ‘Jess Brandon’ on ABC’s critically acclaimed legal drama series ‘Owen Marshall: Counsellor at Law’ (1971-1974).
In 1973, he starred in ABC’s television movie ‘The Six Million Dollar Man’ as ‘Colonel Steve Austin,’ an ex-astronaut who has extraordinary powers due to bionic implants.
From 1974 to 1978, ‘The Six Million Dollar Man’ became a weekly series and garnered huge international success. Broadcast in more than 70 countries, the series catapulted him to global stardom. However, following some legal disagreements with ‘Universal Television,’ the series was canceled in 1978.
Meanwhile during the late-1970s, he continued to appear in films like ‘The Norseman’ (1978), ‘Killer Fish’ (1979), ‘Steel’ (1979), etc.
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In 1981, he starred in the television series ‘The Fall Guy’ in which he played the role of a Hollywood stuntman named‘Colt Seavers.’ Apart from producing and directing the show, he also sang its theme song ‘Unknown Stuntman.’ The series continued for five seasons till 1986.
Meanwhile in the 1980s, he appeared in films like ‘High Noon, Part II: The Return of Will Kane’ (1980), ‘The Last Chase’ (1981), and ‘Starflight: The Plane That Couldn't Land’ (1983).
Between 1987 and 1994, he and Lindsay Wagner co-starred in three ‘The Six Million Dollar Man/The Bionic Woman’ television movies.
He made frequent appearances in television series, such as ‘Tour of Duty’ (1990) and ‘Raven’ (1992-1993). In 1990, he starred in the film ‘Keaton's Cop.’ He also played supporting roles in films like ‘Trojan War’ (1997), ‘Out Cold’ (2001), ‘Big Fat Liar’ (2002), and ‘The Brothers Solomon’ (2007).
Lee Majors voiced ‘Mitch Baker’ in the popular video game ‘Grand Theft Auto: Vice City’ (2002). In 2007, he played the role of ‘Grandpa Max’ in ‘Ben 10: Race Against Time.’
From 2007 to 2009, he appeared on the television series ‘The Game.’ Meanwhile, he also appeared in a 2008 installment of ‘According to Jim’ where he played‘God.’In 2009, he reprised his role in the show's series finale ‘Heaven Opposed to Hell.’
In 2008, he appeared in the series ‘Weeds.’ The following year, he lent his voice in the ‘Bionic Woman’ segment of Robot Chicken’s season four episode ‘Love, Maurice.’
n 2010, he appeared in‘Beginner Pottery,’an episodefrom the series ‘Community.’ Later that year, he lent his voice to ‘G.I. Joe: Renegades.’
In 2011, he appeared in ‘Jerusalem Countdown.’ From 2011 to 2014, he appeared as Burt's father‘Ralph’ in three episodes of the Fox comedy series ‘Raising Hope.’
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In 2015, he appeared in ‘Do You Believe?’ and ‘Avengers of eXtreme Illusions.’ In 2016, he appeared in the second season of ‘Ash vs. Evil Dead’ and went onto appear in a total of eight episodes till 2018.
He has also appeared in guest roles in TV series, such as ‘Fuller House’ (2018), ‘Bicycle’ (2018), ‘Thunderbirds Are Go’ (2019), and ‘Magnum P.I’ (2019).
Personal Life & Legacy
Lee Majors has been married four times. First, he married Kathy Robinson in 1961 and got divorced in 1965. Their child Lee Majors Jr. was born in April 1962.
He then married Farrah Fawcett in 1973 and got divorced in 1982.
In 1988, he married ‘Playboy’ model Karen Velez and later got divorced in 1994. The couple was blessed with daughter Nikki and twin sons Dane and Trey.
He married actress and model Faith Cross in 2002.
In 2003, he underwent a heart bypass surgery.