LEE MAJORS IN TOWN
PROMOTING BEN 10: RACE AGAINST TIME
Yes, Lee Majors belongs to a glorious past, but he is also as much a part of the present as computers, cellphones and other gizmos .
He looks at Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie and sees himself, back when he and Farrah Fawcett (Charlie’s Angels, remember?) were considered the hottest pair in town.
Breezing into town for a short visit to promote Cartoon Network’s live action- made-for-TV movie Ben 10: Race Against Time (airing date: Tomorrow, Sept. 26, 8 p.m.), Majors says, “I know what they’re (Brad and Angelina) are going through. And I pity them.”.
Those piercing eyes, joyful at first after returning to a country where a big bulk of his fan mails comes from, suddenly turn sad.
“Those people should leave Brad and Angelina alone,” he declares.
Majors couldn’t understand why people pay millions of dollars just to get a photo of their twins for the front page of a magazine. Neither can he understand why the paparazzi have to show up right when the stars are having a private dinner in some cozy place.
“It just got worst in the last 10 to 15 years,” Majors laments. “It wasn’t that bad when I was starting out in the Western series The Big Valley in 1964.”
Those were the days, he goes on, when stars like Clark Gable maintained their air of mystery; when Richard Burton and Joan Crawford managed to keep their private lives private (Majors is treading the same path by keeping mum about his personal life).
Back then, Majors recalls, it wasn’t that tough to grow old in the business the way his friend and co-star Ernest Borgnine, 91 and still as active as ever, does. There were no reality shows that spawned instant, but sadly, short-lived careers. The Internet wasn’t around to compete with the movies and TV shows.
“Media today has changed a lot. Kids who do work (in showbiz) today don’t last very long. They do one show and one series, then they’re gone,” he observes.
Stars like Majors, on the other hand, go on to play grandfather roles when they reach their senior years. And that is exactly what Majors is doing for Cartoon Network, where he plays Grandpa Max in Ben 10: Race Against Time.
Majors, at 69 and a real-life grandpa, plays the role like it’s second nature to him. Like the lovable Grandpa Max, the still robust Majors dotes on his grandchildren, aged six and nine. The fishing trips and other places he takes them to spell fun, fun, fun. He spoils them, Majors admits. But that’s what grandparents are for, he explains, a naughty smile on his face.
In the same vein, Grandpa Max also goes with his grandchildren, Ben (Graham Phillips) and Gwen on their many adventures in fighting evil. And the protective grandpa uses his experiences with aliens to guide his grandkids and keep them from harm.
“I’m building a career on grandfatherhood!” he proclaims with glee.
This means his fans are getting younger and younger. Their fathers, who adored Majors as Six Million Dollar Man, sit in front of the TV to watch the same guy – now with platinum hair — in Ben 10 with their children.
It’s a charmed life. And Majors won’t have it any other way.
“I’m still thrilled and happy when I get the opportunity to do a lot of different roles and meet different people,” he gushes. “I’ll be answering the phone for the job until they put me in the grave.”
Great grandfather roles? Bring them on! Lee Majors will play them, as if his whole life depends on them.
Now you need not wonder why his youngest fan is five years old. And why they come from all over: the Philippines, Japan, Germany, his native United States and elsewhere around the world.