By the time The Bionic Woman — spinoff to Lee Majors‘ The Six Million Dollar Man — came to an end in 1978, there were two discernible ways it had made an impact: for the audience, it gave little girls one of their first role models to look up to, and for series star Lindsay Wagner, it had taken both a physical and mental toll.
“I hid out and spent a great deal of time alone,” Lindsay revealed to The Indianapolis Star regarding the aftermath of The Bionic Woman (currently airing on the CoziTV network). “I had a lot of emotional and physical recuperating to do. There were personal difficulties to come to terms with as well. After endless months of switching emotions in rehearsals and on screen, you cannot relate to your private life. You become programmed. I had set my own life to one side for the good of the series and it takes a while to retrain yourself to a point where you’re allowed to go at your own pace and with your own emotions. I survived three years of never being alone and not dealing with myself and my problems.”
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Added to this, she emphasized, was the fact that she’s not the athletic type. “I’d drive my car to the mailbox if I could,” she laughed. “All the running and jumping and fight scenes were terribly exhausting. The pressures and tensions of trying to make the show good added to the burden. When you genuinely care about a series, you invest your emotions totally. The efforts arrest the normal flow of personal feelings. Your psyche gets screwed up in the acting. I became more Jaime Somers than Lindsay Wagner. I tried to do some things I could be proud of and managed to bring it off a few times. But not often enough.”
- 1 Her Pre-Bionic Days
- 2 The Road to Acting
- 3 Playboy Hostess to ‘The Dating Game’
- 4 Maintaining Normalcy
- 5 The Bionic Man Needs a Girlfriend
- 6 A Bit of Bionic History
- 7 Lindsay Wagner: Perfect Casting
- 8 America Agrees
- 9 Contract Negotiation
- 10 The Best of Both Worlds
- 11 Someone to Look Up to
- 12 Moving On
- 13 Self-Help Guru
- 14 A Call to Acting
- 15 Keeping the Legacy Alive
- 16 1. ‘Adam-12’ (1971 TV Guest Star)
- 17 2. ‘Owen Marshall, Counselor at Law’ (1971 TV Guest Star)
- 18 3. ‘Night Gallery’ (1971 to 1972, Guest Star)
- 19 4. ‘Marcus Welby, M.D.’ (1971 to 1975 TV Guest Star)
- 20 5. ‘Two People’ (1973 Film)
- 21 6. ‘The Paper Chase’ (1973)
- 22 7. ‘The Rockford Files’ (1974 to 1975 TV Guest Star)
- 23 8. ‘The Six Million Dollar Man’ (1975 to 1976 TV Guest Star)
- 24 9. ‘Second Wind’ (1976)
- 25 10. ‘The Bionic Woman’ (1976 to 1978 TV Series)
- 26 11. ‘The Incredible Journey of Doctor Meg Laurel’ (1979 TV Movie)
- 27 12. ‘The Two Worlds of Jennie Logan’ (1979 TV Movie)
- 28 13. ‘Scruples’ (1980 TV Miniseries)
- 29 14. ‘Callie & Son’ (1981 TV Movie)
- 30 15. ‘Nighthawks’ (1981 Film)
- 31 16. ‘High Risk’ (1981)
- 32 17. ‘Memories Never Die’ (1982 TV Movie)
- 33 18. ‘I Want to Live’ (1983 TV Movie)
- 34 19. ‘The Fall Guy’ (1983 TV Guest Star)
- 35 20. ‘Passions’ (1984 TV Movie)
- 36 21. ‘Jessie’ (1984 TV Movie and TV Series)
- 37 22. ‘Martin’s Day’ (1985 Film)
- 38 23. ‘The Other Lover’ (1985 TV Movie)
- 39 24. ‘This Child is Mine’ (1985)
- 40 25. ‘Child’s Cry’ (1986)
- 41 26. ‘Young Again’ (1986 TV Movie)
- 42 27. ‘Kate & Allie’ (1986 TV Guest Star)
- 43 28. ‘Convicted’ (1986 TV Movie)
- 44 29. ‘Stranger in My Bed’ (1987)
- 45 30. ‘The Return of the Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman’ (1987)
- 46 31. ‘Student Exchange’ (1987 TV Movie)
- 47 32. ‘Evil in Clear River’ (1988 TV Movie)
- 48 33. ‘Alfred Hitchcock Presents’ (1988 TV Guest Star)
- 49 34. ‘The Taking of Flight 847: The Uli Derickson Story’ (1988 TV Movie)
- 50 35. ‘Nightmare at Bittercreek’ (1988 TV Movie)
- 51 36. ‘Police Story: Burnout’ (1988 TV Guest Star)
- 52 37. ‘From the Dead of the Night’ (1989 TV Movie)
- 53 38. ‘Voice of the Heart’ (1989 TV Movie)
- 54 39. ‘Bionic Showdown: The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman’ (1989)
- 55 40. ‘A Peaceable Kingdom’ (1989 TV Series)
- 56 41. ‘Shattered Dreams’ (1990 TV Movies)
- 57 42. ‘Babies’ (1990 TV Movie)
- 58 43. ‘Ricochet’ (1991 Film)
- 59 44. ‘Fire in the Dark’ (1991 TV Movie)
- 60 45. ‘To Be the Best’ (1991)
- 61 46. ‘She Woke Up’ (1992 TV Movie)
- 62 47. ‘Treacherous Crossing’ (1992 TV Movie)
- 63 48. ‘Against All Odds’ (1992 Reality TV Movie)
- 64 49. ‘A Message from Holly’ (1992 TV Movie)
- 65 50. ‘Nurses on the Line: The Crash of Flight 7’ (1993 TV Movie)
- 66 51. ‘Once in a Lifetime’ (1994 TV Movie)
- 67 52. ‘Bionic Ever After?’ (1994 TV Movie)
- 68 53. ‘Fighting for My Daughter’ (1995 TV Movie)
- 69 54. ‘Sins of Silence’ (1996 TV Movie)
- 70 55. ‘A Mother’s Instinct’ (1996 TV Movie)
- 71 56. ‘Contagious’ (1997 TV Movie)
- 72 57. ‘Their Second Chance’ (1997 TV Movie)
- 73 58. ‘Frog and Wombat’ (1998 Film)
- 74 59. ‘Voyage of Terror’ (1998 TV Movie)
- 75 60. ‘A Light in the Forest’ (2003 Film)
- 76 61. ‘Buckaroo: The Movie’ (2005 Film)
- 77 62. ‘Thicker Than Water’ (2005 TV Movie)
- 78 63. ‘Four Extraordinary Women’ (2006 TV Movie)
- 79 64. ‘Billy: The Early Years’ (2008 Film)
- 80 65. ‘Warehouse 13’ (2010 to 2014, TV Series Guest Star)
- 81 66. ‘The Thanksgiving House’ (2013 TV Movie)
- 82 67. ‘Love Finds You in Valentine’ (2016 TV Movie)
- 83 68. ‘Change of Heart’ (2016 TV Movie)
- 84 69. ‘Eat, Play, Love’ (2017 TV Movie)
- 85 70. ‘Mingle All the Way’ (2018 TV Movie)
- 86 71. Samson’ (2018 Film)
- 87 72. ‘Fuller House’ (2018 TV Guest Star)
- 88 73. ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ (2018 to 2019 TV Guest Star)
Her Pre-Bionic Days
She was born Lindsay Jean Wagner on June 22, 1949, in Los Angeles, her first name stemming from the fact that her father, William Nowels Wagner, had been pretty determined to have a son. “I didn’t like the name as a little girl, but it had its compensations,” Lindsay told journalist Dick Kleiner. “When I went to college, I was invited to the freshman men’s athletic luncheon, they saw my name and thought I was a boy. I put on a pair of pants, combed my hair back and went.”
Her parents — William and Marilyn Louise — divorced when she was just seven and Lindsay ended up moving to Eagle Rock, a Los Angeles neighborhood near Pasadena. Later, they would move, along with her stepfather, Ted Ball, to Oregon.
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In a profile of the actress, the Hawaii Tribune described her childhood as being a “strange” one. “Her parents split up,” they offered. “Her mother, who was very young when Lindsay was born, had never really ‘lived’ and she began living and Lindsay says the result was ‘a very informal childhood.’ When Lindsay was 15, her mother remarried and had a child and Lindsay practically raised the baby.”
The Road to Acting
“I started acting because I wanted to make people laugh, cry, be excited, because I wanted to reach their emotions,” she admitted to The Boston Globe. “If nobody was going to do that for me, well, I was going to do it for them. When I was seven, I was bar tending my mother’s parties instead of playing with dolls. I didn’t even know how to play with cutouts until my little sister taught me when I was 16. That’s crazy.”
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Attending David Douglas High School, she began appearing in a number of plays. Upon graduation, she decided to go to France for a few months and then spent a year at the University of Oregon. Mt. Hood Community College, Gresham followed, but she dropped out six months later and moved to Los Angeles.
Playboy Hostess to ‘The Dating Game’
In Los Angeles, Lindsay took to modeling and actually tried to get a taste of acting by appearing as a hostess on the Playboy After Dark television series. From there, she participated on The Dating Game in 1969. In 1971 — after having turned down talent scouts a few times in the past — she signed a contract with Universal Studios, working as one of its many contract players. This meant that she would move from show to show as a guest star. Those would include Adam-12, Owen Marshall, Counselor at Law; Night Gallery and Marcus Welby, M.D.
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In 1973 she appeared in the films Two People and The Paper Chase, with many critics praising her performance and people truly proclaiming her as a rising star. Stardom, she emphasized, was not something she was pursuing.
“I’ve been told by people in the business that stardom is a good thing,” she related to The Post-Crescent of Appleton, Wisconsin, “a necessary thing, to be set apart once you’ve reached star status. But for me, it puts a barrier between an actor and life. You are no longer a person when others fawn over you. I’m not more — or less — today than I was as a person or as an actress a year ago. I think I gave some creditable performances then, but it was in television, of course, so nobody paid much attention. Now it’s all handshakes and hugs. Now when I was on the set, I’m a super-being to some people. I don’t want to be put on a higher level. I know that some actors enjoy it. I don’t. I insist on people looking me in the eye. If someone respects me for what I’m doing, great. I am pleased with what I’ve done so far and I appreciate others enjoying it. But I want to feel that I’m a person, not an image.”
The Bionic Man Needs a Girlfriend
One of the big TV hits in the 1970s was The Six Million Dollar Man, which saw astronaut Steve Austin (Lee Majors) near death following a devastating accident. In response, he’s equipped with bionic parts that transform him into a kind of superman. Three TV movies led to the weekly show in which Austin carried out missions for the OSI under the orders of Richard Anderson’s Oscar Goldman. As such, there was very little romance in the show, which Lee wanted rectified.
“The first two years,” Lee explains, “were really kind of boring to me. We’d be shooting out of town in an industrial park in a warehouse, or somewhere in an electric plant, or out in the woods, and I’d be fighting some other robot, or Bigfoot or bunches of bad people, and I just got tired of it. That’s why after two years I said, ‘Guys, look, I haven’t had a love interest on this show and I’m tired of looking at these hairy-legged guys running around here for two years, almost three.’ And that’s when we brought in Lindsay Wagner to be the first love interest, and that went over well.”
An understatement of Bionic proportions.
A Bit of Bionic History
As noted, Lindsay was tennis pro-Jaime Somers, Steve Austin’s former sweetheart. The two are reunited and fall in love again, but then Jaime is nearly killed in a parachuting accident. Steve pleads with Oscar Goldman to save Jamie by giving her bionic parts. He does so reluctantly, and she survives. The bionic lovers are thrilled, but then her body rejects the bionics and she actually dies. It was a devastating moment for the audience and for Steve. Little do we know, though, is that Jaime lives; they’ve secretly managed to save her life so that she can return in the two-part “Return of the Bionic Woman” and then have her own spin-off show, The Bionic Woman. Good news, right? Unfortunately, most of her memory has been lost and she has no memory of Steve, so they’re starting all over again and it’s a long road.
Lindsay Wagner: Perfect Casting
Jaime is the creation of writer/producer Kenneth Johnson, who, in an exclusive excerpt from his forthcoming autobiography, A Flurry of Sparks: My Life and (Mostly) Fun Times in Show Business, which is reprinted with permission, explains, “Lindsay Wagner had received nice notices for a feature, Paper Chase, but her career hadn’t really popped. [Executive producer] Harve Bennett and I screened an episode of Steve Cannell’s Rockford Files, where Lindsay shined. She was pretty, but not Hollywood gorgeous. A very believable girl-next-door. She was charming and witty, but what intrigued me most was her excellent spontaneity. Lindsay had the rare ability to seem as though she was totally making up all her lines as she went along — like people do in real life. She had an unstudied, fresh quality and a wonderful dramatic range of colors in her performance. We’d found our Jaime.”
The impact of Lindsay Wagner as Jaime was immediate. Observes Herbie J Pilato, author of The Bionic Book: The Six Million Dollar Man & The Bionic Woman Reconstructed, “The audience immediately fell in love with Lindsay as Jaime. But the viewers were subsequently devastated when Jaime died in the second of those two initial episodes, so much so that fans utilized their own bionic strength in numbers — insisting that Jaime return, as played by Lindsay. But Universal was in a tight spot. They had let her contract lapse.”
Adds Kenneth, “Thousands of letters poured in to Universal bemoaning — or outright angry about — her death. The most castigating letter came from the head of the psychology department at Boston University, who had essentially said, ‘How dare you!? Why in the world would you create such a potent female archetype and role model — then callously cast her aside?’ In addition to mountains of similar mail, ABC and Universal brass carefully noted that Six Mill ratings and female demographics had spiked so high because of the Bionic Woman. They said to me, ‘Why did you kill her off, Kenny? That was a dumb idea. You need to bring her back to life!’ Oh, like I said from the beginning?”
There was one problem, however, states Herbie: “Universal had let her contract lapse. So the studio suggested other actresses to play the role of Jaime. Names like Sally Field, Stefanie Powers, even Farrah Fawcett were thrown around. But ABC was not having any of it. They rallied, ‘Get Lindsay Wagner!’”
The first offer was for $2,500 an episode. Lindsay’s manager, Ron Samuels, demanded $25,000 per hour. “The studio brass s–t a brick,” notes Kenneth. “Never in the history of western civilization had there been such an outrageous proposal. The world would end before they would ever stand for such an egregious outrage!”
Lindsay was paid $50,000 for “The Return of the Bionic Woman.”
It seemed like everything worked out perfectly — except nobody quite expected the popularity of the second two-parter. Says Kenneth, “The Six Million Dollar Man shot up into the Top 10 for the first time.” The result? Everyone involved demanded a spinoff series.
“Well, guess what?” Herbie poses rhetorically. “Because Universal had only signed Lindsay to a two-part special extension of her contract, they had to sign a very exclusive deal for a new series and she ended up taking the studio and the network to the bank.”
The Best of Both Worlds
Universal may not have been so thrilled with that new contract, but Lindsay certainly was — and not just for financial reasons. “Before the new contract was signed,” she detailed to the Tampa Bay Times in 1975, “I wanted to stick strictly to movies. Now I can do both, so I won’t be locked into the series.”
As difficult as it was in an action-adventure format, the attempt was made to maintain a sense of reality to the show, with Lindsay’s portrayal of Jaime being the thing that would root things. Remembers Kenneth, “Throughout the first season of Bionic Woman, I concentrated on spending lots of time one-on-one with Lindsay. I carefully listened to her speech patterns, her idiomatic phrasing, the way she used words and the words she used. I fashioned Jaime’s dialog so that it would fit easily into Lindsay’s mouth. Alone in her trailer or at her new (and much larger) house, she and I read through every script together. She’d play Jaime and I’d read all the other parts. She joked that we should actually do an episode with my playing all the other parts.”
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Elaborates Herbie, “It was on Lindsay’s insistence that Jaime had flaws and that she was not seen as indestructible or over-powering. She knew her audience and made sure that the scripts and dialogue of The Bionic Woman catered to her own sensitivity as a human being.”
Someone to Look Up to
“I’m flattered to be playing the lead in a dramatic television series,” said Lindsay at the time. “Except for Angie Dickinson, the other actresses are starring in situations comedies. And there’s a difference between the character I play and Angie’s. She’s surrounded by an entourage of men who help her get out of trouble. I play a school teacher who is called upon by the government for dangerous assignments. I’m making sure the Bionic Woman isn’t a fighter. She does have a lot of physical adventures that keep me fit and the show has been fun so far. I’m a dramatic actress and not really emotionally exhausted at the end of the day like I was in my two movies Second Wind and Two People. But I think it’s about time little girls had a heroine of their own.”
Herbie points out that Lindsay was very aware that there were many young fans watching the show. “For that reason,” he says, “she felt a certain responsibility to that sector of the viewers at home. She also wanted to be a true role model for females of all ages, making certain that many times Jaime would utilize her wit and humor to help solve any conflict she may have been dealing with. Certainly she would employ her special bionic abilities, but only as a last resort. Jaime didn’t like guns or violence, but she also didn’t put up with anyone’s inauthentic or hurtful actions or behavior. And she called them on it. And while Jaime would each time put thugs away, she was charming millions of TV viewers with her own special powers in the guise of her endless charm as an actress and as a human being.”
In conversation with the Austin American-Statesman in 1976, Lindsay asked, “Why shouldn’t little girls have a symbol? Little boys have lots of them. I know that that sort of thing really affects children. They really pay attention to their idols. Little kids have been coming up to talk to me and it’s kind of scary, but rather nice. I never thought about that kind of thing until this all started happening. I had an idol, too; someone who had nothing to do with bionic superpower: Sophia Loren. I hope the Bionic Woman can be something little girls can really get off on. But I want Jaime Somers to be a lady. I know she’s a fantasy character, but I don’t want her to be a cartoon, a Batwoman. I want her to be a person who happens to have added powers. It’s not feminine to walk up and bash somebody in the face. And I’m still a woman who likes to keep her femininity. I have no concept of who’s in our audience, but I’m hoping it includes men and boys.”
The Bionic Woman came to an end in 1978, resulting in Lindsay’s need to more or less decompress from the show. It wasn’t long, though, before she began acting again. “The snobbishness of movies toward television is disappearing, thank God,” she mused in 1978. “An actor can work in both now and that’s what I intend to do. I feel strongly about remaining in television, because it is the most influential of the media. There are so many opportunities that aren’t being taken. So much can be done in television once people in the industry begin to care about something besides bucks and ratings.”
She appeared on the big screen alongside Sylvester Stallone in Nighthawks (1981), James Brolin in High Risk (1981), and Denzel Washington in Richochet (1991). But it was really on the small screen in TV movies and miniseries that she found an onscreen home for herself. Between 1979’s The Incredible Journey of Doctor Meg Laurel and 2018’s Mingle All the Way, she starred in over 50 of them — including three Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman reunion films.
There were also a number of guest-star appearances on different shows over the years, recurring roles on the science fiction series Warehouse 13 (six episodes) and Grey’s Anatomy (four episodes), and starring roles in the series Jessie (1984) and A Peaceable Kingdom (1989).
Lindsay has spent much of her life involved with various self-help programs. She wrote a series of books with Robert M. Klein about acupuncture being used for similar results to facelifts, she wrote the vegetarian cookbook High Road to Health and has put together self-help workshops and seminars under the umbrella title Quiet the Mind and Open the Heart, which is all about spirituality and meditation.
“I’ve been fascinated by the body, mind and spirit connection my whole life,” she stated at a convention appearance. “That’s just been a life journey for me. When I was 19, I was quite ill. I had pretty severe ulcers and I met some people who helped me heal the body through meditation visualization and kind of looking at my own emotional and psychological patterns as the source of the stress. People say a lot of us are under stress and are in stressful situations, but it’s how we handle that stress. What I learned was it was how I saw things that I was going through with problems in my family; that my stress level was actually making me sick. They helped me to see the correlation. They helped me to learn the power that we have in our mind and body connection when they’re communicating properly. And when they aren’t communicating properly, the life force doesn’t get through to our physical self and to our spiritual self.”
A Call to Acting
Explained Lindsay, “This is the kind of thing I was focused on for a number of years, but then I started sensing that a change was coming that might be bringing me back into acting. The people at Warehouse 13 approached me after I had this feeling that I might be going back to work in the other area again. So I thought about it and prayed about it and meditated and asked, ‘Should I be shifted?’ I’m really enjoying this, but at the same time I started to miss it. I wasn’t missing the hours, but I was missing the creative process part of it.”
In her private life, Lindsay has been married four times, to music publisher Allan Rider from 1971 to 1973, Michael Brandon from 1976 to 1979, stuntman Henry Kingi from 1981 to 1984, and TV producer Lawrence Mortoff from 1990 to 1993. She and Henry are the parents of two sons, Dorian, who was born in 1982; and Alex, who was born in 1986.
Keeping the Legacy Alive
What’s amazing is that The Bionic Woman went off the air over 40 years ago, yet it still lives on and both Lindsay and Lee Majors have been embracing it fully, being a part of complete DVD sets and talking about the shows at various conventions. And while there are no concrete answers as to why the shows live on the way that they do, Lindsay certainly has had theories when it comes to The Bionic Woman.
“I think part of the success of it had a lot to do with breaking molds in our culture,” she’s reflected. “It was really the first show that had a woman being in full power with no excuses and not having to be a sidekick to a man. It was also at a time when our culture was undergoing a very profound awakening with the women’s movement.”
Please scroll down for a guide to Lindsay’s various film and television appearances over the decades.
1. ‘Adam-12’ (1971 TV Guest Star)
Lindsay’s TV debut was in this episode of Adam-12, “Million Dollar Buff,” playing a character named Jenny Carson.
2. ‘Owen Marshall, Counselor at Law’ (1971 TV Guest Star)
When guest-starring on Owen Marshall, Counselor at Law, Lindsay had the opportunity to work with Lee Majors (her future TV Bionic Man) for the first time. Her episode was titled “Until Proven Innocent.” Other TV credits in 1971 included episodes of The Man and the City, The Bold Ones: The Lawyers and Sarge.
3. ‘Night Gallery’ (1971 to 1972, Guest Star)
This was the second series from Rod Serling, creator of The Twilight Zone, which was more horror-oriented than its predecessor. Lindsay appeared on two episodes in different roles.
4. ‘Marcus Welby, M.D.’ (1971 to 1975 TV Guest Star)
Robert Young went from starring in the family sitcom Father Knows Best to this medical drama. Between 1971 and 1975, Lindsay made a total of five guest appearances playing different parts in each. Some additional credits include O’Hara, U.S. Treasury (1972), and The F.B.I. (1972).
5. ‘Two People’ (1973 Film)
Lindsay is model Deirdre McCluskey, who decides to leave one romantic relationship behind and begins a new one with a drifter (played by Peter Fonda), a Vietnam vet who is preparing to turn himself in to the authorities.
6. ‘The Paper Chase’ (1973)
Timothy Bottoms is James Hart, a first-year law student being taught by professor Charles W. Kingfield, Jr. (John Houseman) and gets involved with the man’s daughter, Susan (Lindsay). Maybe not the best idea.
7. ‘The Rockford Files’ (1974 to 1975 TV Guest Star)
Between 1974 and 1975, Lindsay played the character, Sara Butler, in a pair of episodes of James Garner’s private eye series.
8. ‘The Six Million Dollar Man’ (1975 to 1976 TV Guest Star)
As noted above, Lindsay was brought into The Six Million Dollar Man as a temporary love interest for Lee Majors’ Steve Austin, and the part of Jaime Somers obviously became much more. Lindsay appeared on a total of nine episodes of the show.
9. ‘Second Wind’ (1976)
James Naughton is an executive who begins jogging but finds himself obsessed with becoming a long-distance runner, allowing it to negatively impact his career and his relationship with his wife (Lindsay).
10. ‘The Bionic Woman’ (1976 to 1978 TV Series)
Again, as discussed above, her appearances on The Six Million Dollar Man were so popular that Lindsay was spun off into her own show playing Jaime Somers.
11. ‘The Incredible Journey of Doctor Meg Laurel’ (1979 TV Movie)
In 1932, Dr. Meg Laurel (Lindsay) returns to her mountain hometown of Eagle Nest to visit a dying friend, and discovers a community ignorant of modern medicine. She’s torn between going back home and remaining to bring her knowledge to these people. Jane Wyman also stars.
12. ‘The Two Worlds of Jennie Logan’ (1979 TV Movie)
An antique dress somehow allows Jennie Logan (Lindsay) to travel through time, where she finds herself torn between her current life and a romance in the past with someone whose history has shown is destined to be murdered.
13. ‘Scruples’ (1980 TV Miniseries)
Based on the book by Judith Krantz, the focus of this soap opera-ish miniseries is on a rich widow. Lindsay stars alongside Barry Bostwick, Marie-France Pisier, Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., Connie Stevens, Robert Reed, and Kim Cattrall.
14. ‘Callie & Son’ (1981 TV Movie)
New mother Callie Bordeaux (Lindsay) spends years tracking down her kidnapped son, and she locates him right around the time his wife is murdered, suspicion falling on him. Michelle Pfeiffer also stars — the following year she would appear on the big screen in Grease 2.
15. ‘Nighthawks’ (1981 Film)
As street cop Deke DaSilva (Sylvester Stallone) closes in on an international terrorist (Rutger Hauer), his ex-wife Irene (Lindsay) gets caught in the middle.
16. ‘High Risk’ (1981)
Four Americans in need of cash decide to fly to Colombia and rob the safe or a drug lord. Maybe they should get a job at McDonald’s or something instead? Just sayin’. Lindsay stars with James Brolin, Anthony Quinn, James Coburn, Bruce Davison, and Ernest Borgnine.
17. ‘Memories Never Die’ (1982 TV Movie)
Joanne Tilford (Lindsay), after spending six years in a mental institution, returns to her family when she heard her husband is ill with heart issues. Problem is that she and her children don’t know each other, and the woman who has been raising them projects nothing but hostility towards her. Sounds like the kind of thing that could drive you craz … never mind.
18. ‘I Want to Live’ (1983 TV Movie)
Due to her involvement with a robbery in which someone is killed, Lindsay’s Barbara Graham desperately attempts to avoid death in a gas chamber.
19. ‘The Fall Guy’ (1983 TV Guest Star)
The first of what would be several reunions between Lee Majors and Lindsay Wagner, this time on the series in which he plays a stuntman. This episode was the season three premiere, “Devil’s Island.”
20. ‘Passions’ (1984 TV Movie)
When Catherine Kennerly (Joanne Woodward) loses her husband (Richard Crenna), she learns that he had been leading a double life with Nina Simon (Lindsay), who gave birth to their son.
21. ‘Jessie’ (1984 TV Movie and TV Series)
This television movie that spawned a 10-episode television series spin-off, sees Lindsay as Dr. Jessie Hayden, a psychiatrist who is brought in by the California police department to help out with very specific cases.
22. ‘Martin’s Day’ (1985 Film)
Another psychologist role for Lindsay — but this time on the big screen — as she plays Dr. Mennen, who works with Canadian police officer Lt. Lardner (James Coburn) to find an escaped convict (Richard Harris) and the boy he kidnapped (Justin Henry).
23. ‘The Other Lover’ (1985 TV Movie)
Book publisher Claire Fielding (Lindsay) finds herself torn between a romance with one of her authors and her husband, with whom the passion has gone out of their marriage.
24. ‘This Child is Mine’ (1985)
Based on a true story, The Facts of Life star Nancy McKeon plays an unwed teen who goes to court to win back the daughter she gave up for adoption to a couple (played by Lindsay and Chris Sarandon).
25. ‘Child’s Cry’ (1986)
Social worker Joanne Van Buren (Lindsay) takes on the case of a young girl, who she believes is being sexually assaulted. Peter Coyote co-stars.
26. ‘Young Again’ (1986 TV Movie)
Robert Urich plays a stressed-out executive who gets the opportunity to be 17 again (this time in the form of a very young Keanu Reeves, who meets Lindsay’s character) and finds there are more complications than he’d imagined. This TV movie aired as an episode of The Magical World of Disney.
27. ‘Kate & Allie’ (1986 TV Guest Star)
Lindsay plays a tutor hired by Kate (Susan Saint James) to teach her how to cook in the episode of this sitcom titled “Late Bloomer.” Allie is played by former Saturday Night Live star Jane Curtain (neither of whom are in the photo below).
28. ‘Convicted’ (1986 TV Movie)
Lindsay plays a woman who spends about five years determined to prove that three women were not raped by her husband (Night Court star John Larroquette). Carroll O’Connor (All in the Family) stars as well.
29. ‘Stranger in My Bed’ (1987)
Beverly Slater (Lindsay) is suffering from amnesia that has wiped out all memories of her relationship with her husband Hal (Armand Assante). While attempting to regain them, she meets and starts to develop feelings for another man.
30. ‘The Return of the Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman’ (1987)
Steve Austin (Lee Majors) and Jaime Somers (Lindsay) are asked to come out of retirement to take on the resurrected paramilitary criminal organization Fortress. During this mission, Steve’s estranged, son, Michael (Tom Schanley), is seriously injured and finds parts of his body replaced by bionics. This was intended as a backdoor pilot for a new show that would have focused on Michael.
31. ‘Student Exchange’ (1987 TV Movie)
It’s really about the “madcap” adventures of a couple of teens who decide to pretend to be foreign exchange students to help improve their popularity. Lindsay is the school principal.
32. ‘Evil in Clear River’ (1988 TV Movie)
Kate McKinnon (Lindsay) discovers that her son is being taught “Jew-bashing” and Nazism and tries to get the teacher (Randy Quaid) fired, unaware that the town is actually behind him.
33. ‘Alfred Hitchcock Presents’ (1988 TV Guest Star)
This anthology series, featuring colorized intros and exits from the black and white originals starring director Alfred Hitchcock, featured remakes of classic episodes. Lindsay starred in “Prism.”
34. ‘The Taking of Flight 847: The Uli Derickson Story’ (1988 TV Movie)
Playing an integral role in the safety of the passengers of hijacked Flight 847 from Athens to Rome in 1985 is flight attendant Uli Derickson (Lindsay). Based on the very true story.
35. ‘Nightmare at Bittercreek’ (1988 TV Movie)
The concept of this one is still pretty chilling: A group of women (Lindsay, Constance McCashin, Joanna Cassidy, and Janne Mortil) decide to take a hiking trip and find themselves being pursued by racist survivalists with deadly intent.
36. ‘Police Story: Burnout’ (1988 TV Guest Star)
Back in 1988, there was a major strike of the Writers Guild of America, resulting in the networks dipping back into their vaults to create remakes of some classic TV shows. One of them was the anthology Police Story, and this particular segment stars Lindsay in the lead. The plot is perfectly encapsulated in the image below.
37. ‘From the Dead of the Night’ (1989 TV Movie)
Following a near-death experience, Lindsay’s Joanna finds supernatural forces attempting to bring her back to the realm of the dead. Obviously a chance of page from a lot of the other TV movies she was doing.
38. ‘Voice of the Heart’ (1989 TV Movie)
This is a look at two women and the men that they’ve loved and lost. The women are played by Lindsay and Victoria Tennant, the men including James Brolin, Neil Dickson, and Richard Johnson.
39. ‘Bionic Showdown: The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman’ (1989)
The first reunion movie was intended as a pilot for a series featuring Steve Austin’s son. That didn’t go, but if at first you don’t succeed … Sandra Bullock makes her debut as the wheelchair-bound Kate Mason, who is given the opportunity to become bionic like Steve and Jaime Somers. On top of that, their boss, Oscar Goldman, sees his nephew (Jim Goldman, played by Jeff Yagher) seriously injured and he, too, is made bionic. Unfortunately, this didn’t go to series either.
40. ‘A Peaceable Kingdom’ (1989 TV Series)
Lindsay is Rebecca Cafferty, newly hired managing director of the Los Angles County Zoo. The short-lived show focused on her professional life and the fact that, in her personal life, she is a widow raising three children. Among her co-stars were The Dukes of Hazzard‘s Tom Wopat and Two and a Half Men‘s Conchata Ferrell, who recently passed away.
41. ‘Shattered Dreams’ (1990 TV Movies)
After a decade of physical and mental abuse from her husband (Michael Nouri), Charlotte Fedders finds the courage to leave him, but escape is decidedly not easy.
42. ‘Babies’ (1990 TV Movie)
Lindsay is one of three women (the others played by Dinah Manoff and Marcy Walker) who struggle to become pregnant.
43. ‘Ricochet’ (1991 Film)
Denzel Washington is a cop turned assistant district attorney Nick Styles, who finds himself being terrorized by a criminal he had arrested and was subsequently jailed. Lindsay plays District Attorney Priscilla Bimleigh.
44. ‘Fire in the Dark’ (1991 TV Movie)
Family drama with Olympia Dukakis as the aging Emily Miller, who has to move in with her daughter, Janet (Lindsay), and the two are challenged with facing a difficult future.
45. ‘To Be the Best’ (1991)
Based on the trilogy by Barbara Taylor Bradford, it sees Lindsay cast as Paula O’Neill, who battles her cousins while attempting to save the business started by her grandmother while also doing her best to save her marriage. Also starring Anthony Hopkins.
46. ‘She Woke Up’ (1992 TV Movie)
Claudia Parr awakens from a coma 14 months following a vicious attack, intent on finding out who was responsible for what happened to her.
47. ‘Treacherous Crossing’ (1992 TV Movie)
Lindsey Thompson Gates (Lindsay), aboard an ocean liner in 1947, claims that her husband is missing, despite the fact that the registry shows her traveling alone.
48. ‘Against All Odds’ (1992 Reality TV Movie)
Lindsay and Everett McGill host this reality show that focuses on true stories of people who have either survived life-threatening situations or saved others from them.
49. ‘A Message from Holly’ (1992 TV Movie)
Playing a dying woman named Holly, Lindsay asks friend Kate (Shelley Long) to take custody of her daughter.
50. ‘Nurses on the Line: The Crash of Flight 7’ (1993 TV Movie)
Elizabeth Hahn (Lindsay) is among a number of nurses en route to a medical station located a few hours away from Mexican town Catamaco, but their plane goes down in a rain forest and what follows is their effort to survive. Jennifer Lopez co-stars.
51. ‘Once in a Lifetime’ (1994 TV Movie)
Based on the novel by Danielle Steel, Daphne Fields (Lindsay) puts the pieces of her life together following the death of her husband and daughter in a fire, and the resulting deafness of her son. The journey forward, however, is an extremely challenging one.
52. ‘Bionic Ever After?’ (1994 TV Movie)
This third and final Bionic reunion movie is not a pilot for another series, but, instead, wraps things up with a final mission for Steve Austin (Lee Majors) and Jaime Somers (Lindsay), this one involving a double agent who is inflicting both of them with computer viruses that impact on their bionics. In the end, though, Steve and Jaime get married. Also in 1994, Lindsay served as a host for the TV special Men Who Hate Women & the Women Who Love Them.
53. ‘Fighting for My Daughter’ (1995 TV Movie)
Kate Kerner (Lindsay) does whatever she can to save her daughter from a prostitution ring.
54. ‘Sins of Silence’ (1996 TV Movie)
While trying to help rape victim Sophie DiMatteo (Holly Marie Combs), a former nun turned rape counselor Molly McKinley (Linday) finds herself put in jail and becomes dependent on Sophie’s help.
55. ‘A Mother’s Instinct’ (1996 TV Movie)
Two former wives — one divorced and one abandoned (played respectively by Lindsay and Debrah Farentino) — attempt to find the husband (John Terry) who has disappeared with his two sons.
56. ‘Contagious’ (1997 TV Movie)
Dr. Hannah Cole (Lindsay) is trying to stop a spreading disease from becoming a full-blown epidemic.
57. ‘Their Second Chance’ (1997 TV Movie)
The now-adult daughter (Tracy Griffith) of former college lovers Larry and Barbara (Perry King and Lindsay) comes back into their lives, gradually bringing the couple back together again after many years.
58. ‘Frog and Wombat’ (1998 Film)
Kid’s film about friends Alli and Jane (Katie Stuart and Emily Lipoma) who investigate a murder in their hometown and discover that it may be the work of their school principal — putting their lives in danger. Lindsay has a supporting role as Allison’s mother, Sydney.
59. ‘Voyage of Terror’ (1998 TV Movie)
Not quite ready to leave contagions behind her, this time Lindsay is Dr. Stephanie Tauber, who is on a cruise ship with her daughter when a deadly virus breaks out.
60. ‘A Light in the Forest’ (2003 Film)
Family fantasy film about kids trying to save Christmas while dealing with the forces of evil. Lindsay plays Penelope Audrey.
61. ‘Buckaroo: The Movie’ (2005 Film)
A journey of discovery for gang member Jerome (Simon Baker), who is sent to work on a farm. Lindsay is Ms. Ainsley.
62. ‘Thicker Than Water’ (2005 TV Movie)
Lawyer Natalie Jones (Melissa Gilbert) learns that her father had once married a rodeo queen (Lindsay), and her search for answers in “horse country” reveals more family than she suspected.
63. ‘Four Extraordinary Women’ (2006 TV Movie)
Four women (Lindsay’s Anne among them) have battled breast cancer, and all of them — a mother, nanny, sister and wife — were loved by John (George Stults).
64. ‘Billy: The Early Years’ (2008 Film)
The Billy in the title whose early years are covered is evangelist Billy Graham (Armie Hammer). Lindsay plays Billy’s mother, Morrow Coffey Graham.
65. ‘Warehouse 13’ (2010 to 2014, TV Series Guest Star)
This Syfy series about a warehouse filled with all sorts of strange and bizarre items featured Lindsay as Dr. Vanessa Calder in a total of six episodes between 2010 and 2014. She would also guest star in a 2011 episode of the series Alphas (playing the same role), starred in the 2013 short film Wi Na Go and appeared in a 2015 episode of NCIS.
66. ‘The Thanksgiving House’ (2013 TV Movie)
A woman’s intent to sell the house she inherited goes awry when a historian discovers evidence that it could very well be the site of the first Thanksgiving. Emily Rose stars as Mary Ross, with Lindsay in a supporting role as Abigail Mather.
67. ‘Love Finds You in Valentine’ (2016 TV Movie)
Kennedy Blaine (Michaela McManus), a woman from California, inherits a Nebraska ranch and decides to spend the summer there so that she can really come to understand her family. Lindsay plays June Sterling.
68. ‘Change of Heart’ (2016 TV Movie)
When she discovers a wonderful bread and breakfast run by Helen Lochner (Lindsay), TV producer Diane McCarthy (Leah Pipes) decides to focus her next show there.
69. ‘Eat, Play, Love’ (2017 TV Movie)
The focus of this film is on veterinarian Dr. Carly Monroe (Jen Lilley) and the owner of a shelter, Dan Landis (Jason Cermak), who is supposed to marry another woman — don’t bet on it!). The supporting players bring together Lee Majors and Lindsey as, respectively, Dr. Isaac Monroe and Mrs. Gilbert.
70. ‘Mingle All the Way’ (2018 TV Movie)
An app created by Molly Hoffman (Jen Lilley) connects her with Jeff Scanlon (Brant Daugherty), despite less than pleasant earlier introductions. Lindsay is in a supporting role as Molly’s mother, Veronica Huffman.
71. Samson’ (2018 Film)
The story of Samson is brought to life, with Taylor James in the title role and Lindsay playing Zealphonis, his mother. This is the actress’ last film role to date.
72. ‘Fuller House’ (2018 TV Guest Star)
Oh, those Bionic kids are at it again! Well, not exactly. Lindsay and Lee Majors reunited yet again in a 2018 episode of Fuller House, “Angels’ Night Out.”
73. ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ (2018 to 2019 TV Guest Star)
In the 2018 to 2019 season of Grey’s Anatomy, Lindsay portrayed Helen Karev, mother of Dr. Alex Karev. She’s appeared in a total of five episodes so far. The character was originally played in 1994 by Emily Rutherford.
As of 2021, she’s in the process of filming and completing a film called Christmas at the Ranch, which is slated for a December 2021 release. We’re excited to see her future projects and whatever she does next!
View more information: https://doyouremember.com/136305/lindsay-wagner-50-years-life