The Virginian-Pilot
                             THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT 
              Copyright (c) 1994, Landmark Communications, Inc.

DATE: Tuesday, November 29, 1994             TAG: 9411290050
                                             LENGTH: Medium:   72 lines


WHO SAYS YOU can't work in movies and television unless you live in Los Angeles or New York and camp on producers' doorsteps?

Look at Alan Sader, the actor with the handsome gray beard who has been familiar to local theater goers for more than 20 years. He operated the Tidewater Dinner Theater of the Stars in Norfolk in the 1970s.

While living in Virginia, far from the show business capitals of Hollywood and Manhattan, Sader has landed roles in several television series, including ``Matlock.'' Twice. He's been on the big screen, too, in a flick with Barbra Streisand and Nick Nolte.

Tonight at 9 on CBS, Sader has a nice-sized part in ``Bionic Ever After?'' That's the return of Lee Majors as Steve Austin, the Six Million Dollar Man, and Lindsay Wagner as Jaime Sommers, the Bionic Woman.

No comeback for the Bionic Boy, however.

Or the Bionic Dog.

Once upon a time, Majors and Wagner were sexy cyborgs charged with high energy. Middle age has caught up with them in the 1990s and has made them slow and creaky.

Majors huffs and puffs as he chases terrorists on his $6 million legs.

Wagner had to rally herself to pick up a manhole cover and send it whizzing through space after the fleeing bad guys. Lucky for her that Dr. Rudy Wells could jazz up the circuitry in her bionic biceps.

Sader, who lives with his wife and two daughters, 6 and 15 months, in King and Queen County, plays an old friend of Austin's who has been named ambassador to Nassau in the Bahamas.

He's heard terrorists are afoot and has called good ol' Oscar Goldman of the Office of Strategic Information to ask for help.

But before the OSI can move, a gang of terrorists overruns the embassy; tosses the ambassador, his wife and dinner guests into the wine cellar; and takes one of the VIPs hostage.

His is a good part, said Sader, who's been cast lately as a lawyer, a judge, an ambassador, a politician and a teacher. And why not? With the full beard and booming baritone, he looks and sounds the parts.

When the people at the Christian Children's Fund were after a strong and noble-looking spokesman to replace Sally Struthers on television, and to help raise money for the cause, they turned to Sader. He travels the world on behalf of CCF.

He's still pitching cabbages and turkeys for Farm Fresh, too.

That's a lot of work for an actor living amid the wheat, bean and corn fields of Virginia. He's been able to build a substantial resume far from New York and California for two reasons: More and more films are shot in Virginia and North Carolina, and Sader is well known to casting directors.

He's a type - mature, strong, dignified with an air of authority. When the producers of a film about Lincoln's sons were in Richmond not long ago looking for that type, they called in Sader for a role in ``Tad.''

It's a great life, he said. ``A few days work and I'm home with the family.''

Sader has never been to Hollywood.

He's never set foot in Southern California.

But so what? Producers and casting companies have found him in Virginia. Sader flew to Charleston, S.C., to films the scenes with Majors and Wagner.

As the bionic duo is reunited, and prepare for their long-time-coming marriage, Steve and Jaime develop sick circuits. ``My bionics are breaking down,'' says Jaime, fearful that she won't be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound again.

She snaps back. It's nice to see an old friend like Sader working in prime time on network TV, but I can't recommend ``Bionic Ever After?'' It is a silly, trashy two hours.

Watch the Madonna movie on Fox instead. by CNB