Lyle Waggoner, the 1960s and ’70s heartthrob known for his work on The Carol Burnett Show and TV’s Wonder Woman and later founded the set trailer business Star Waggons, has died peacefully Tuesday at his home after battling an illness, according to TMZ, which was first to report his death. He was 84.
In 1965, Waggoner tested for the title role in the 20th Century Fox/ABC series Batman but lost the job to Adam West. Instead, he landed a guest role on the Western series Gunsmoke in 1966.
A year later, he began a seven-year stint on The Carol Burnett Show, first as an announcer. Producers later began to incorporate him into the show as a comedy sketch partner along with regulars Vicki Lawrence and Harvey Korman, as the gorgeous straight-man foil to the ogling Burnett. He left the show in 1974, in hopes of advancing his career as a lead actor. He was replaced on the show by frequent guest star Tim Conway, and his role as announcer by Ernie Anderson.
Waggoner became Playgirl‘s first male seminude centerfold in 1973, and a year after leaving Carol Burnett, he booked the role of Steve Trevor opposite star Lynda Carter on ABC series Wonder Woman. Initially set during World War II, he played the role of Army Maj. Steve Trevor, who crash-landed on Wonder Woman’s island and brought her back to the United States — unaware of her powers.
When the series moved to CBS for Season 2 in the fall of 1977, the timeline jumped to the present day, and Waggoner played the original character’s son, Col. Steve Trevor Jr. The show was retitled The New Adventures of Wonder Woman and ran until 1979, airing 60 episodes in all.
Waggoner continued to work steadily during the 1980s, landing guest roles on such popular series as Happy Days, Fantasy Island, Simon & Simon and Murder, She Wrote. He appeared mostly in films during the early ’90s then guested later in the decade on such shows as Burke’s Law, Ellen and That 70’s Show. His final acting credit was a 2005 episode of The War at Home.
While still working as an actor in 1979, Waggoner founded Star Waggons, which leases location trailers for the showbiz industry. He built the company into a powerhouse, with a fleet of more than 800 trailers that are ubiquitous on sets. The company maintains a 10-acre facility in Sylmar. His sons Jason and Beau Waggoner run the company.