Here's why Lyle Waggoner left The Carol Burnett Show

"I got some of the best acting training from, no question about it, the best people in the business."

It's always hard to see a beloved actor leave a show, but most of the time, there's a pretty good reason for their departure. Whether it's to spend more time with family or to take part in a different series, we'll always miss them, but sometimes an actor just knows when it's time to leave.

This was especially true for Lyle Waggoner, who had enjoyed success on The Carol Burnett Show before deciding to leave after seven seasons. Waggoner explained his departure during an interview with the Lexington Herald-Leader. He prefaced with, "I really enjoyed working on The Carol Burnett Show." Before he commented, "But I had to leave for reasons of illness and fatigue — I got sick and tired of it."

He continued, "Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed the show. But my part was very limited and it was frustrating as an artist because I really had no place to go. It was really a big decision to make to leave, but after a while, I decided I had to get out and try."

However, Waggoner found that even after he left the show, its shadow continued to follow him as he tried to get new roles. He said, "It was kind of sticky there for a while after I left Carol's show because of the stereotyped image that I had." Ironically, the "stereotyped image" that Waggoner was referring to was actually well sought-after. 

Waggoner said, "Producers didn't think of me in any terms other than the leading man." This might seem like a dream come true for an actor. However, he explained, "They [Producers] were hesitant to put me in character roles or let me play a heavy." Moreover, Waggoner also found himself limited because of his duty as the announcer for the series as well. He stated, "It took a while and a lot of beating around the bushes to convince people I could do something else other than station breaks. Since I wasn't established as a motion picture actor, or even an actor, I was known as the 'announcer' because they didn't realize that I was hired as an actor to play the part of the announcer on the show."

Still, Waggoner stated that he didn't regret his time on The Carol Burnett Show. He said, "I got some of the best acting training from, no question about it, the best people in the business."

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16 Comments

RedSamRackham 7 months ago
* Lyle Waggoner also did a less campy version of Batman in a pilot before the role went to Adam West.
Avie 7 months ago
What the article fails to mention is that, after leaving "The Carol Burnett" show and finding his new home as Col. Steve Trevor opposite Lynda Carter on "Wonder Woman," Waggoner co-founded Star Waggons (the name a play on the spelling of his last name), a company that rents mobile actor-dressing room trailers to studios for use both on location and studio lots. Waggoner's acting work paid the bills, but Star Waggons -- a company that's still an important part of the Hollywood economy 3 1/2 years after Waggoner's death -- made him rich.
Snickers 7 months ago
At least he got to do Wonder Woman for two years.
CharlesRocksClone 7 months ago
I thought it was because he was doing Wonder Woman, uh I mean starring in the Wonder Woman series at that time.
Pacificsun 7 months ago
Am sure it pays to be gracious when expressing memories of the TCBS. But MeTV Writers should consult Wikipedia regarding these supporting performers. Lyle Waggoner (RIP) wasn't exactly destitute or bored regarding his public persona, recognition and success. Yet stereotyping is always such a convenient "handle" for writers to reiterate as they scan superficial articles, coming from maybe a collection of material. However, LW was versatile, enterprising, and flexible. And while wishful thinking is part of most everyone's awareness, he certainly made the most of his opportunities. He seemed to be (in fact) who he was regarding the role in Wonder Woman, yet there was nothing wrong in projecting that effect.

Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lyle_Waggoner

If any observation is to be made, it's based on the TCBS where it was no secret that he was hired and repeatedly featured already as a stereotype. To some degree as "tall, dark and handsome, as a talented announcer." But working on the TCBS which never bothered to explore his range. In fact, wasn't he always the straight man for the other comics' punchlines? In truth they traded him for Tim Conway (which for the purpose of the Show) pretty much (and happily so) dominated the comedy focus of that Production.
Bapa1 7 months ago
Maybe because he would get to work with Lynda Carter?
Topher2061 Bapa1 7 months ago
That would be motivation enough for me!
Runeshaper 7 months ago
Sounds like he left at the right time for him.
CoreyC 7 months ago
Lyle became unnecessary after Tim Conway became a regular which made Harvey Korman the straight man to Tim.
KMT6600 7 months ago
I love Lyle Waggoner He besides being Handsome he was a very good actor but when not everyone thought of him that way it was hard for him to go on
WGH KMT6600 7 months ago
The only other thing I can think of him doing was Wonder Woman TV show in the '70s.
Kramden62 WGH 7 months ago
For one season only, 1973-1974 (while still with Carol Burnett), Waggoner hosted a syndicated game show called "It's Your Bet." It was produced and syndicated by the Meredith Corporation, owners of Better Homes and Gardens Magazine; Meredith also owns many TV stations across the country (one of which is WNEM-TV, Channel 5 in Flint/Bay City, Michigan).

There should be more information about "It's Your Bet" on IMDb.
Mark WGH 7 months ago
He was under consideration for the Batman role, which went to his competitor, Adam West.

He also guest-starred on a few things, the kind of shows that every actor of note does...Love Boat, Murder, She Wrote, the 1994 Burke's Law.
Pacificsun Mark 7 months ago

True and with appreciation for your contribution.
What is often ignored, and actors are well aware of, is that they're hired for a specific purpose. Meaning, they trade on their existing personality not just their skills. LW was a type, for the niche he was filling in that production. When they added Tim Conway the comedy (versatility) escalated! Even if he was looking for a raise (which is doubtful) there's only so much screen time for a Variety and Skit production. Which shrank considering TC's welcomed dominance. He was actually very fortunate to land the WW role, completely opposite of what he already completed.
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