Focus On: Lee Majors
Actor Lee Majors’ career spans 5 decades. It was quite an honor to have him stop by the PCNR office to be on the Focus on Philipstown Show on Monday. Majors and his wife Faith were in town visiting their friends, Roger and Elizabeth Ailes in Garrison. Sunday evening they took in Carolyn Copeland’s new hit Broadway musical, “Amazing Grace.” Majors said the musical, based on the life of John Newton who penned the classic song Amazing Grace, made him tear up.
Majors gained worldwide attention playing various roles, but many remember him from his iconic star turn in The Six Million Dollar Man.
At age 25, Majors landed his first, although uncredited, role in Strait-Jacket (1964), as Joan Crawford's ill-fated husband. She played an axe murderer who killed Majors off in the first few minutes of the film.
However, Majors got his big break when he beat out over 500 young actors, including Burt Reynolds and Dennis Hopper, for the co-starring role of Heath Barkley in a new ABC western series, The Big Valley (1965–69), which starred Barbara Stanwyck. Also starring on the show was another newcomer, Linda Evans, who played Heath's younger sister, Audra. Richard Long and Peter Breck played his brothers Jarrod and Nick. He reflected back and said that Stanwyck took him under her wing and taught him the basics, “Acting 101 is being on time, knowing your lines, hit your mark and keep your mouth shut,” he said.
Majors’ career really took flight when he was cast in the role of Colonel Steve Austin in The Six Million Dollar Man, (1973–78). The show started off as a series of 3 TV movies. He said at the time, when he read the script, he did not want it to be campy like the old Batman series.
The series was then picked up as a weekly show. Even when the series went off air, they still made a few TV movies, most notably when he and the “Bionic Woman” married. That show also co-starred a young future Oscar winner Sandra Bullock. The iconic show is now about to be remade next year into a film called “The Six Billion Dollar Man,” starring Mark Wahlberg.
The trappings of success came with a price when he and his wife, the late Farrah Fawcett Majors, who was starring on another hit series, Charlie’s Angels, split. Years later, the duo reconnected when she was ill with cancer. Majors would call her to keep her spirits up. They were planning to star in the play “Love Letters” before she passed away. Gladys Knight and the Pips’ mega hit song, “Midnight Train to Georgia,” was written about their relationship.
Majors has been happily married to Faith since 2002. He went on to have another major hit series with The Fall Guy for 5 years. His personal faith in God was one of the reasons he accepted a role in the faith-based movie, “Do You Believe?” which is now out on DVD and online streaming. To view the interview tune into PCNR.com or Focuson- Philipstown.com.