Lee Majors

By: Adam McGovern
April 23, 2011

Who could fail to feel reassured when Steve Austin was on the case? Not the wrestler, the cyborg — LEE MAJORS (Harvey Lee Yeary, born 1939) will always be fixed in most people’s minds as the Six Million Dollar Man, the robotically enhanced special-ops champion who came to save the day from loose nukes and rogue states, rescue America’s honor from Vietnam-era malaise and make the world safe for lefties to cheer principled, existentialist intervention. It was high-tech magic and marketing genius, Austin embodying the damn-the-torpedoes individualism prized by hawks and taking on the personal consequences envisioned by the dissenters; pacifism of course was out of the question on prime-time TV, but the genius included dreaming up threats for him that no one could disagree on. Majors himself couldn’t have been more perfect for the role if he’d been put together in a lab — like a one-man geographically-balanced presidential ticket, he was clearly a country boy at his core but convincingly played a northeastern-establishment techno-mensch; geometrically handsome and quintessentially Caucasian but decked out in the jumpsuit of the modernist anyman. Flash forward thirty years on superfast legs of steel and Majors was giving a sage and heartbreaking performance as the Human Target’s good-mercenary mentor, affirming his role as America’s wise older brother, kicking the bullies’ asses for you and showing you the right thing to do, even if you don’t end up doing it the way he would.


On his or her birthday, HiLobrow irregularly pays tribute to one of our high-, low-, no-, or hilobrow heroes. Also born this date: Roy Orbison.

READ MORE about members of the Anti-Anti-Utopian generation (1934-43).


HiLo Heroes, Movies, Sci-Fi