Encore

What ever happened to...Lee Majors

The former Fall Guy and bionic star of "The Six Million Dollar Man" is now playing single dad in Florida

We can rebuild him.'' First used more than two decades ago in the opening credits of 1973-78's The Six Million Dollar Man, those words might well apply today to actor Lee Majors, who portrayed cyborg action hero Steve Austin. Almost 11 years after his last ratings hit, The Fall Guy, Majors is looking to refurbish his career — but he may need bionic strength to accomplish that professional goal.

At the moment, Majors' most heartfelt role is acting as a ''lunch dad'' who helps teachers take kids to the cafeteria at the Fort Lauderdale school his 8-year-old daughter, Nikki, attends. If that sounds tame for a man who tangled with Sasquatch on screen and tangoed with ex-wife Farrah Fawcett off screen, the role suits the 56-year-old Kentucky native just fine. ''I'm a hands-on father,'' says the thrice-divorced Majors (real name: Harvey Lee Yeary II), who also has three sons, Lee II, 34, and 4-year-old twins Dane and Trey.

Of course, Majors has seen more than school lunchrooms in the past decade. He revisited the glory days of leisure suits and low-tech sound effects in three bionic sequels, including 1994's Bionic Ever After?, in which Steve Austin tied the knot with robo-babe Jaime Sommers (Lindsay Wagner). ''If we do one more,'' jokes Majors, ''I think it'll be in wheelchairs.''

Majors, who began his career on the Bonanza knockoff The Big Valley in 1965, also landed a recurring part on the Vietnam drama Tour of Duty in 1990, and a sidekick role on 1992-93's Raven. But while Wagner has become the queen of TV miniseries and movies — she'll star in two in January and February — Majors' career since The Fall Guy seems to have missed the mark.

''You tend to get lost when you're not [in L.A.],'' explains Majors, who moved to Florida six years ago. ''They probably think you're dead or don't need the job.'' But the actor, who in November guest-starred on an episode of CBS' Promised Land and will appear as a cop in the upcoming comedy Rescue Me and as a hitman in the mystery The Protector, isn't planning on pulling up stakes.

Instead, Majors hopes his new Florida-based car-racing pilot, Daytona Beach — in which Majors plays an ex-NASCAR driver with costars Alexandra Paul and former country singer Mac Davis — will be picked up by a network or go into syndication. (ABC and ITC/PolyGram have considered the show.) ''I've got these kids I've got to put through college,'' he says. ''I want to be working through the next century.''

Originally posted Jan 24, 1997 Published in issue #363 Jan 24, 1997 Order article reprints