If you need an incentive to attend Bubba Fest this weekend, how about six million dollars? To be clear, it won’t be in the form of cash; it will be in the visage of television icon Lee Majors, known by fans as Col. Steve Austin in the 1970s series “Six Million Dollar Man.”

“I am looking forward to coming to Pigeon Forge,” Majors said in a telephone interview. “I haven’t been there in years. I will be there with Burt Reynolds and Richard Petty. The NASCAR community loves Richard, and I have met several of (the NASCAR fans). They are great people, and I enjoy it when they visit my table. I am also looking forward to seeing Burt because I haven’t seen him in years.”

Bubba Fest will be held Friday through Sunday at the LeConte Center in Pigeon Forge. More information is at www.bubbafest.com.

Bubba Fest will feature celebrities that are known throughout the world, yet the average person can relate to them. “I played Steve Austin as a very human character in ‘The Six Million Dollar Man’ even though he had bionic parts,” Majors said. “I wanted him to have (empathy) and relationships with others; Austin has feelings.”

The series ran from 1973-8. It was a hit in the United States and various other countries. “The show was family fare, which meant anyone could watch it,” Majors said. “I have been all over the world in the last 10 years, and I run into people that have watched the show since they were kids.

“It is amazing how big the show was. I went to a little village in Thailand and they grew up watching the series. They had one television and they had to go down to the center of the village to watch ‘The Six Million Dollar Man’ on a certain night. Every place I go, I discover the show touched a lot of people,” he said.

The fan favorite of the series is Austin’s encounter with Sasquatch, played by Andre The Giant, in the two-episode story “The Secret of Bigfoot.” Majors said convention-goers always want to talk about Sasquatch.

“Andre The Giant was great,” he said. “He was larger than life wearing the costume, and he was very imposing without wearing it to begin with. Andre really looked like Bigfoot if you saw (the creature) in real life.”

The second most popular role for Majors was as Colt Seavers in the “The Fall Guy” (1981-6). Seavers was a Hollywood stuntman who moonlighted as a bounty hunter. “That was a role I really enjoyed,” Majors said. “It was a lot of work. I did five seasons, and some people wanted me to do another season. The action shows had taken a toll on me mentally and physically. I was burned out. Thinking about it now, I really should have kept doing ‘The Fall Guy’ because I turned down around 20 million bucks.”

The action icon went through Hell in the Starz network series “Ash vs. Evil Dead.” Majors appeared as Brock Williams, the father of anti-hero and demon slayer Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell).

“The Starz network wanted me in the series, and I told them I wanted to look at it first,” Majors said. “I easily made it through the 10 episodes of the first season due to the show being so funny. It was the first time I had seen an actor use a chainsaw to cut someone in half while throwing out the funniest lines. It was just hilarious. It took out (the shock) of the horror and gore.”

Brock Williams died three times on the show. “The last time my character was on the show, I appeared as a ghost,” Majors said. “The show was recently canceled, and I think I am dead forever now. The show was a wonderful experience. Bruce Campbell is such an underrated actor and Lucy Lawless (portraying the supernatural being known as Ruby) is an exceptional actress.”

Majors’ legacy will continue via the big screen as Mark Wahlberg is set to star in “The Six Billion Dollar Man.” The film has been riddled with setbacks, such as losing director Damian Szifron. Although the movie still needs to be filmed, it is scheduled to be released in 2020.

“I think it’s been a long time coming for Steve Austin to appear in movie theaters,” Majors said. “If the studio is lucky, they will have a franchise on their hands. Wahlberg is a No. 1 box office draw. I like him and I love his work. He said he wants to pick my brain regarding Steve Austin. I told him if he wants to pick it too much, he will have to give me a role in the movie or something.”

By Kelvin Ray Boyd Daily Time Correspondent 09/08/2018
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