This 60s and 70s TV heartthrob was the proverbial tall, dark and classically handsome actor. Completing the solid package was a great, muscular build, smooth charm, an almost perfect set of teeth and a marvelously resonant voice. Born in 1935 in Kansas City, Kansas, and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, Lyle Waggoner certainly paid his dues before being handed his breakthrough as the suave announcer on The Carol Burnett Show (1967) in the late 1960s. The one-time peddler of encyclopedias door-to-door, prior to his prime TV job, appeared in poorly-made sci-fi and beach party flicks with such dubious titles as Women of the Prehistoric Planet (1966), Swamp Country (1966), Journey to the Center of Time (1967) and Catalina Caper (1967). In time, he was more than just a gorgeous hunk who gave a good voice and they began to incorporate Waggoner into the show as a comedy sketch partner along with the other regulars Vicki Lawrence and Harvey Korman. A game, good-natured ensemble player who showed fine comedy instincts, he proved quite sound as a dreamy, straight-man foil to the ogling Burnett. His better scenes typically had him essaying the superficial cad or gleamy-toothed, self-important star. After seven seasons on the knockabout variety show, however, Waggoner felt like a “third banana” and yearned to take a chance on solo stardom. During his off-times, he had prepared himself by appearing in summer stock and/or dinner theater in such breezy assignments as “Boeing, Boeing”, “Send Me No Flowers” and “Once More, with Feeling”. He also hosted a syndicated quiz show, entitled It’s Your Bet (1969), and earned added “exposure” as Playgirl Magazine’s first semi-nude centerfold in 1973. Not long after his departure from the Burnett show, he landed the role of Major Steve Trevor on the popular comic strip-based series Wonder Woman (1975) playing the dashing, no-nonsense boss to Diana Prince. Again, the challenge was not there and he remained on the periphery for only three seasons. In later years, Waggoner became more personality than performer and only sporadically appeared in glossy mini-movies and TV episodes, and even less so in feature films (Love Me Deadly (1972), Surf II (1984) and Wizards of the Demon Sword (1991) to name a few). None of his roles carried much weight. Perhaps surmising that he was undone by being too perfect a specimen, he wisely looked into business ventures and, in 1979, successfully started up “Star Waggons” which served film/TV companies with rental trailers. His charming, vainglorious romancer act has obviously been for the cameras only. The former Hollywood ladies’ man has been married only once, to wife Sharon Kennedy, an actress as well as a financial consultant and realtor. The couple have been wed for well over 50 years and have two sons. Still good-looking and fit at age 70+, he enjoys homes in both California and Wyoming.
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