Lyle Waggoner, who used his heartthrob status for comedic effect on The Carol Burnett Show and was Maj. Steve Trevor on TV's Wonder Woman, died Tuesday at 84, ExtraTV reports.
Waggoner died surrounded by his wife of 59 years, Sharon, and their sons Jason and Beau.
Waggoner had also become known in Hollywood for his successful business Star Waggons, a manufacturing and equipment-rental firm featuring over 800 custom-built trailers used in the film industry. Waggoner had run the business with his family for nearly 40 years.
Born April 13, 1934, in Kansas City, Kansas, Waggoner was led into acting by his physique — following a stint in the army and as a door-to-door encyclopedia salesman, a shirtless appearance in a local production of Li'l Abner gave him the courage to move to L.A. in search of more acting work.
Modeling and acting, he made his TV debut on an episode of Gunsmoke in 1966, narrowly missing out as the lead on Batman that same year, a part that went to similarly square-jawed, deadpan Adam West.
Almost immediately, Waggoner landed a spot among the cast of The Carol Burnett Show (1967-1974), often as announcer and as straight man to the show's star and her cast of comics. Soon, he demonstrated his comedy chops, and appeared in many classic sketches, including as a POW in "The Interrogator" with Harvey Korman and Tim Conway, in a parody of Olympian Mark Spitz, and the show's send-ups of Sunset Boulevard.
During his run on the show, Waggoner appeared as in the debut issue of Playgirl magazine as its first celebrity centerfold. In contrast to the image the magazine struggled to portray, he told The Chicago Tribune in 1974, "I think there are subscribers from the gay community. There’s nothing wrong with that. Who cares?"
In a 1976 interview with Playgirl, he recounted his decision to pose nude, saying, "When Playgirl asked me if I wanted to be the first centerfold for the magazine, my immediate reaction was, ‘Hey, that sounds like fun.’ That was shortly after Burt Reynolds did his centerfold [for Cosmopolitan], and I thought the picture of him was very amusing. I did some checking around and found out that this new Playgirl was going to be a first-class magazine to compete with other contemporary prestige magazines on the market. It was understood that it wouldn’t be necessary to show everything. I did want to retain some mystique. It was also understood that the photos would be shot with good taste and humor. I knew the publicity would be priceless, and that it would be fun to do, and I enjoy doing fun things. I enthusiastically agreed. As it turned out, I did get a lot of publicity through talk shows, newspapers and magazines. And I still have fun with fans who ask, 'How did it really feel to pose for Playgirl?'"
After leaving the show, he enjoyed three successful seasons on Wonder Woman (1975-1979), playing Maj. Steve Trevor and, when the show switched from being set during WWII to the '70s, Maj. Steve Trevor Jr. The show's credits featured a wink at Waggoner's marquee looks, inserting an animated sparkle when he smiled.
Though he worked extensively on episodic TV, he was increasingly focused on Star Waggons. His final role was on the series The War at Home in 2005, though he frequently appeared at reunions with his Carol Burnett Show castmates.