Lyle Waggoner is an American actor and former model who is best known for appearing on 'The Carol Burnett Show' for seven years starting in 1967 and for his role as Steve Trevor on the 'Wonder Woman' television series based on the eponymous DC Comics character portrayed by Lynda Carter. Before making it big on television, he acted in poorly-made sci-fi and beach party flicks such as 'Women of the Prehistoric Planet', 'Swamp Country', 'Journey to the Center of Time' and 'Catalina Caper'. Later on, he appeared on television series like 'Charlie's Angels', 'The San Pedro Beach Bums', 'Happy Days', 'Mork & Mindy', 'The Golden Girls', 'Ellen', and 'The War at Home'. He also played three characters on each of 'The Love Boat', 'Fantasy Island', and 'Murder, She Wrote'. His few later films include 'Love Me Deadly', 'Surf II' and 'Wizards of the Demon Sword'. He eventually retired from acting to run his company Star Waggons fulltime, but occasionally appears in roles parodying his earlier image. In 1973, he was featured as 'Playgirl' magazine's first male seminude centerfold. In 1976, he was appointed in the honorary 'goodwill ambassador' position of the 'mayor' of Encino, California by the local chamber of commerce.
Lyle Waggoner's first acting was as a muscle man in a Kansas City production of 'Li'l Abner'. However, to properly steer his acting ambitions, he established a sales promotion organization that helped him secure the funds for his trip to Los Angeles. In 1966, he appeared in the film 'Swamp Country' and in an episode of the series 'Gunsmoke'. The same year, the TV series version of 'Batman' premiered, for whose role he was one of the finalists, but eventually lost to Adam West. He next acted in the musical mystery film 'Catalina Caper' and had a guest role in an episode of the sci-fi series 'Lost in Space' in 1967. Also that year, he began appearing as the announcer and performer on the comedy sketch and variety show, 'The Carol Burnett Show'. He continued to appear on the show for the next seven years before leaving in 1974 to advance his career as a lead actor.
In 1975, Lyle Waggoner landed the breakthrough role of Steve Trevor on the 'Wonder Woman' television series starring Lynda Carter. Interestingly, in his pilot script for the series, Stanley Ralph Ross described the character of Steve Trevor as 'a Lyle Waggoner-type', which helped him bag the role. He later portrayed Steve Trevor Jr., too, on the series. Following the success of the role, he appeared on a series of 'hunk' roles in series such as 'Charlie's Angels', 'The San Pedro Beach Bums', 'Happy Days', 'Mork & Mindy', 'The Golden Girls', 'Ellen', and 'The War at Home', apart from multiple roles on 'The Love Boat', 'Fantasy Island', and 'Murder, She Wrote'. He remained a heartthrob on television throughout 1960s and 1970s, following which he shifted focus from acting to business and sculpting.
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Career Outside Acting
Lyle Waggoner founded Star Waggons, a company that leases customized location trailers for use by the entertainment industry, in 1979. In 1990, he and Shawn Bruner co-hosted the consumer-product show 'Consumer America', which he also co-produced. The show ran for two seasons and featured novel national products from self-help to home goods. He hosted the infomercial 'Let's Talk With Lyle Waggoner' in 1993 for a supposedly natural product called Y-Bron which claimed to cure male impotence, but the company behind the product was later fined $1.5 million for unsubstantiated claims.
Later in his life, he made a name for himself as a sculptor and his work can be seen at Galleries West Fine Art in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. His sculptures are usually humorous renditions of lovely ladies and are cast at Eagle Bronze in Lander, Wyoming.
Family & Personal Life
Lyle Wesley Waggoner was born on April 13, 1935, in Kansas City, Kansas, United States, to Marie and Myron Waggoner. He moved to Excelsior Springs, Missouri with his family when he was five. He completed his graduation from Kirkwood High School in Kirkwood, Missouri in 1953. He was a state high school wrestling champion and was also a high jumper. He spent one semester at Washington University in St. Louis before joining the United States Army, following which he served two years as a radio operator in the Signal Corps in Germany. After his military service was over, he studied mechanical engineering in the junior executive program at General Motors Institute. He subsequently became a door-to-door encyclopedia salesman.
On September 17, 1961, Lyle Waggoner married Sharon Kennedy, an actress, financial consultant, and realtor. They have two sons together: Beau Justin Waggoner and Jason Kennedy Waggoner. He lives near Jackson, Wyoming, and has homes in Manzanillo, Colima, Mexico; Oxnard California, and Westlake Village, California.