Superstar Lee Majors gets in touch with his funny side – and his feminine one!

Sue Malins / What’s on TV, October 14-20 2000.

Shock news. Lee Majors, the all-running, all-jumping bionic hero of the Seventies hit series, The Six Million Dollar Man, arrives on set for the new British sitcom, Too Much Sun, with a limp.

Still looking super-fit, with a shock of wavy blond hair and Florida tan that makes him look younger than his 59 years, the world’s first bionic man reveals he’s going to need a new knee. He says it’s all down to the endless running and jumping he did while filming The Six Million Dollar Man and his Eighties hit, The Fall Guy.

‘I did all my own stunts in both series, so it was inevitable that something would give out in the end,’ he says. ‘The cartilage has gone and I’m going to have a new titanium knee fitted. But because I’ve heard they last 15 years and, ideally, I’d like it to outlive me!’

Lee started his acting career as a stuntman after enjoying success playing American football. After a series of small roles on TV and in movies, he hit the big time with the cult series The Six Million Dollar Man as bionic astronaut Colonel Steve Austin.
The Six Million Dollar Man was a tough, physical show. I was tired when it ended. Then I did five years of The Fall Guy, playing Hollywood stuntman-cum-bounty hunter Colt Seavers, which probably wasn’t sensible because that was all about kicking down doors and getting blown up. So, in a way I’ve been lucky I’ve not suffered any worse injuries.

‘The producers wanted me to do another year of The Fall Guy and offered me an awful lot of money to stay on, but it was 14 hours a day on set and I was shattered physically and mentally. So I quit. I haven’t exactly retired – I do guest appearances and cameo parts but I like to spend more time playing golf now and taking life easier.’

British viewers expecting to see Lee the macho man will be surprised this week when they watch the first episode of his new comedy, Too Much Sun. Lee plays Scott, a former TV cowboy who’s now the camp landlord to a wannabe writer (played by Full Monty star Mark Addy) and an upper-class actor (Alex Jennings) who are both trying to hit the big time in Hollywood.

‘I’ve always wanted to play some comedy and the English are best at it,’ says Lee. ‘The scripts made me laugh very hard even though I was astonished at what you can get away with on UK television.

‘It’s not like anything I’ve ever done before, and I think it will shock a few people because the guy I play is so camp. In fact, before I left the States, I was playing a last round of golf with some buddies and I was trying to explain to them what I was doing in the UK. They asked me if I was going to be playing the kind, I replied, if anything , I’m going to be playing the queen!’

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