We have some sad news to pass along today as it's been reported that Lyle Waggoner, the legendary actor well remembered for spending seven years as a fan favorite on The Carol Burnett Show, has passed away at the age of 84. According to his son, Jason, Waggoner died peacefully at his home on Tuesday morning after battling a long illness, surrounded by his wife and sons. Burnett has also spoken out about the news of Waggoner's telling TMZ in a statement: "He was funny, kind and multi-talented. But even more than that, a loving friend. I will miss him."
Born in 1935 in Kansas City, Waggoner followed up high school with a two-year stint in the United States army working as a radio operator. After his discharge, he would come to find work as a door-to-door encyclopedia salesman, but would soon after get bitten by the acting bug when he performed in a live production of L'il Abner. Finding his calling, Waggoner set out to pursue an acting career in Los Angeles, and by the mid '60s, he had begun snagging television roles on shows like Gunsmoke and Lost in Space.
One of Waggoner's most memorable television gigs began in 1967 when he appeared on the sketch comedy series The Carol Burnett Show as an announcer and performer of various characters. He would ultimately star in over 180 episodes, departing the series in 1974 but often coming back for special reunion appearances. During his time on the series, Waggoner would also star in movies like Catalina Caper and Journey to the Center of Time, along with several other television appearances. His fame earned from the series also led to him appearing as the first male semi-nude centerfold for Playgirl magazine in 1973.
With good looks and natural charisma, Waggoner also came very close to landing the role of Bruce Wayne in the '60s Batman TV series, just narrowly losing out to fellow legend Adam West. Still, he'd later get his chance to star in a comic book TV series adaptation, as Waggoner would star as Major (and later Colonel) Steve Trevor in Wonder Woman and The New Adventures of Wonder Woman between 1976 and 1979. Later in his career, Waggoner would also make regular appearances as himself in various TV shows, including The Golden Girls, That '70s Show, and The Naked Truth.
Apart from acting, Waggoner also founded Star Waggons, the company known for leasing customized location trailers for use by the entertainment business. He'd later retire from acting full time to focus on running the company, but he'd still make sporadic appearances in movies and television. Waggoner would also become a sculptor as well, with some of his work seen in at Galleries West Fine Art in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Waggoner was married to his wife, Shannon, in 1961. The couple had two sons together, Jason and Beau, with all three by his side at the time of his passing. Our thoughts go out to the three of them and the rest of Waggoner's family, friends, and fellow fans. May he rest in peace. This news comes to us from The Hollywood Reporter.