Before Chris Pine headed to World War I for Diana of Themyscira in Wonder Woman (or donned a particularly choice tracksuit for Wonder Woman 1984), there was one definitive live-action Steve Trevor: Lyle Waggoner, who sadly passed away today at the age of 84.
THR reports that Waggoner died in Westlake, California, after a long illness. Although more widely remembered for his role as the announcer on the classic sketch-comedy series The Carol Burnett Show, genre fans will perhaps better know him as the romantic interest and gung-ho action sidekick to Lynda Carter’s Diana Prince in the 1975 Wonder Woman TV series. It wasn’t actually Waggoner’s first brush with the world of DC comics; in the ‘60s, the actor had screen-tested for the part of Bruce Wayne and Batman in the 1966 classic, before ultimately losing out to Adam West.
Waggoner portrayed Steve Trevor across all three seasons of the show, playing both Major Steve Trevor—the US Air Force pilot who would crash land on Paradise Island and bring Diana’s quest to defend the world of Man to World War II—and, when the show transitioned to a contemporary setting for its second and third seasons, Steve Trevor Jr., the head of a secretive crime-fighting organization, the Inter-Agency Defense Command, that the ageless Wonder Woman would team up with in her own, often kooky, fight against crime.
What made Waggoner’s Steve stand out in Wonder Woman, in either iteration of the character, was that he was both the atypical male action hero, running headfirst into danger to try and help his superheroic ally, and also, paradoxically, Wonder Woman’s own damsel-in-distress. It was rarely Diana that found herself in hot water, having to be rescued by a dashing hero. Instead, she was that hero, racing in with a twirl of her lasso of truth and a brandishing of her bullet-deflecting bracers to come to Steve’s aid, after his earnest desire to do the right thing put him in over his head.
Our thoughts go out to Waggoner’s family in this sad time.
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