R.I.P. Lyle Waggoner of The Carol Burnett Show and Wonder Woman
He also nearly played Batman.
Image: The Everett Collection
Most folks know Lyle Waggoner best as a man of action, Steve Trevor on Wonder Woman. He could do comedy, too. A decade earlier, he was cast as the handsome announcer for The Carol Burnett Show, a role which eventually grew into a full-time comedic ensemble member.
The charming actor had quite the fan following. "He got a card table and a chair and set up an 'office' in the hallway outside the writers' room," Burnett remembered in her 2017 memoir In Such Good Company: Eleven Years of Laughter, Mayhem, and Fun in the Sandbox. "He would sit there when he had time and answer the mail." He also got cash through the mail, from selling copies of his pamphlet How to Audition and Get the Job for a dollar.
Before all that, he was nearly Batman.
Two screen tests were filmed to decide on the casting of Batman and Robin for the 1966 camp classic Batman. One, obviously, featured Adam West and Burt Ward. The other starred Lyle Waggoner and Peter R.J. Deyell. While Waggoner would ultimately lose the role to West, he would end up as another prominent DC Comics hero, Steve Trevor.
A year after leaving Carol Burnett, Waggoner began his stint on Wonder Woman, serving as the trusty sidekick to the powerful princess. If he looked good in a uniform, perhaps it was due to his time serving in the U.S. Army in 1950s. He was a radio operator in Germany.
In 1976, the city of Encino, California, named Waggoner it's honorary "mayor," an honor also given to familiar TV faces like Steve Allen, Mike Connors and Ronnie Schell over the years.
As Wonder Woman was ending, Waggoner transitioned to another Hollywood career that fit his name — he founded Star Waggons, a company leasing trailers used for location shooting in the film industry.
According to his family, Waggoner died at his home on the morning of March 17, as reported by TMZ. He was 84.