Film Threat Online Film Threat Weekly      FT Online Archive Stump The Staff Stump The Staff      Stump Archive   by Greg Bulmash - Senior Editor

March 24, 1999

Once a month we'll be departing from the briefs format to take a more in-depth look at a single celebrity. This month, our in-depth profilee is Lee Majors, better known to children of the '70s as "The Six Million Dollar Man."

We start with Lee in late 1996 when he was online. To promote Quicken's new insuremarket.com, where you can get quotes and buy insurance online, Lee helped with the roll-out press conference and bought a term life policy online through the site. The coverage amount? Six million dollars, of course.

This was quickly followed with a guest appearance on CBS' "Promised Land" in November of '96. That was followed by a January '97 "where are they now" piece in Entertainment Weekly which sparked a bit of a rumor fest. Within days of the publication of the EW piece, the online gossip column, Cyber Sleaze seemingly maliciously warped the facts of Lee's volunteer work at his daughter's school as a "lunch dad," claiming he was making "a living for himself - as a school cafeteria worker." Considering that Cyber Sleaze took quotes right from the EW piece, it's obvious they'd read it, but their claims of his making a living at it were, in the kindest wording possible, an embellishment.

At the same time that Sleaze was sleazily starting malicious rumors, the EW piece was citing Lee's work in the films Rescue Me (currently on video - with Will Friedle and Jennifer Love Hewitt - airing this Saturday, March 27, on MoMax at 3:30 a.m.) and The Protector (coming to video March 30th - produced by Roger Corman, starring Ed Marinaro).

Also in 1997 he was developing a show in which he played a NASCAR driver, to be shot in Florida where he lives with his family, but the pilot was never picked up to go to series. But he would be seen on TV again quite a bit with the Sci-Fi Channel re-running "The Six Million Dollar Man," Fx re-running "The Fall Guy," and co-starring in the made-for-cable flick The Lost Treasure of Dos Santos. If that wasn't enough, he was also the spokesman for the Bio-Back back support belt, doing an infomercial for it with sports figures Eddie Arcaro and Whitey Ford.

Open 1998 and Lee's in Dallas in January at a trade show demonstrating the Bio-Back from 11-3 daily and making himself available to local journalists for interviews in the off hours. We started with Lee's $6,000,000 insurance policy to show that he's got a sense of humor about his cult status, but he went on to downright parody it later in 1998, appearing in a series of commercials for the Colorado State Lottery. Dressed up in his red Steve Austin jogging suit, he jogged around and encountered lottery winners. The concept was that they were also multi-million-dollar people because of their multi-million-dollar wins. An example of this could be found in his encounter with $7 million winner, Bill Pennell.

Majors: "Bill, Bill, Bill. Seven million, huh? I bet you're completely bionic."
Penell: "No, I don't think so."
Majors: "Well, there's only one way to find out. Arm wrestle."
The final shot is of Penell rubbing his arm.
Majors: "Gee, Bill, I'm really sorry man. For $7 million, I thought you had something."

The series won a number of awards in a recent awards ceremony in Denver for Colorado regional advertising. The one that won for Best of Show was called "Tea." In it, Lee meets up with Mary Cunningham, a $1.6 million winner. His challenge this time... despite all the stuff she's acquired (new house, new car), she still doesn't have her own sound effects. He then makes "beeping sounds."

Most recently Lee popped up on TV in December of last year in a guest shot on "Walker, Texas Ranger" where he played an evil sherrif. And next month, Lee turns 59.

As for the long-rumored theatrical movie adaptation of the series, well, that seems to have fallen into development limbo. When I looked into it in 1997, Richard "Oscar Goldman" Anderson was producing it at Universal. Originally they'd hired Kevin Smith (Clerks, Dogma) to write the script, but for whatever reason, they decided it wasn't good enough. Joss Whedon ("Buffy The Vampire Slayer") was purportedly brought on. And then... There were rumors of another writer taking over from Wheedon, but they were countered with rumors of executive shuffling causing the project to lose its support. Then if you add in the housecleaning they did at Universal after their financially disastrous 1998, plus all the buying and selling of business units going on... I won't pronounce the project completely dead, but it's been buried alive and is slowly suffocating.

We don't have any authorized photos to display here, but if you want then-and-now photos, we do have links to where you can find some. Then: The Sci-Fi Channel's official site with bionic image gallery. Now: The Bio-Back