She continues to awe and inspire, long after playing Wonder Woman.
She doesn’t chase bad guys in a star-spangled costume anymore, but Lynda Carter hasn’t stopped living her dreams. Over the next several months, the star of the 1975–1978 TV hit Wonder Woman will record her third album in Nashville, Tenn., begin a coast-tocoast tour of jazz clubs and pop up on the CW series Supergirl to play none other than the president of the United States. “I do what I want,” Lynda, 65, declares. “Either people will like it or they won’t, and I’m OK with that. I want to please myself.”
That confidence is no surprise coming from a performer who’s been motivating young women and girls to reach for the stars for four decades. “Wonder Woman taught women to be who you are,” Lynda says. “I have received the greatest letters from people telling me what an inspiration she was to them because she represents an inner strength every woman has.”
Lynda, a former Miss World USA, wasn’t feeling so confident in 1975, when her series almost didn’t make it on the air. “TV executives didn’t think there was a market for a female holding a show like Wonder Woman,” Lynda marvels. “Women were buying all their products, yet men dominated the shows.”
That changed after Wonder Woman premiered and proved popular with both sexes. “She was very feminine yet strong,” says Herbie J Pilato, author of Glamour, Gidgets and the Girl Next Door. “She helped women’s liberation move forward.” Adds Lynda, “Wonder Woman wasn’t against men, even though she took down quite a few bad guys.”
She did it with the use of her magic gadgets, like a lasso that made captives tell the truth and bracelets that deflected bullets. “She didn’t have superpowers,” Lynda explains. “I always wanted her to have a kindness. She had dignity and self-worth.”
So does Lynda, who has had to draw on her own inner strength many times in her real life since Wonder Woman. Her first marriage, to talent agent Ron Samuels, ended in divorce after seven years in 1982, and her second husband, lawyer Robert A. Altman, endured a lengthy trial on financial corruption charges before he was acquitted in 1984. Lynda had other personal troubles, too — she went to rehab for alcohol abuse in 2008 — but since that time she’s finally found inner peace. “There’s a certain point in life where I look at my priorities,” says the mother of James, 28, and Jessica, 26. “I have a family that loves me and a nice group of friends. I feel in control, and this is a great place to be.”
Today the character of Wonder Woman remains as popular as ever: Gal Gadot played her in the recent Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice film and Lynda will be on hand in New York City when the United Nations declares Oct. 21 Wonder Woman Day to celebrate the birth of the Amazonian heroine in DC Comics 75 years ago. “To honor Wonder Woman and women all over the world is just amazing,” says Lynda, a heroine who has never gone out of style.
— Bruce Fretts, with reporting by Ilyssa Panitz
“I have a great support system. I am feeling more confident now than I ever did before.”