Lynda Carter is a renowned American actress, singer, and beauty pageant crown holder who won the title of Miss World USA in 1972. She is best known for playing the role of Diana Prince/Wonder Woman in the live-action TV series Wonder Woman.
She was born in Phoenix, Arizona, in July 1951 and made her television debut on Lew King’s Talent Show when she was only five. She began performing in a band called Just Us during high school.
When Lynda turned 15, she started singing in a local pizza parlor to earn extra money. A year later, she joined another band called The Relatives, including actor Gary Burghoff as the drummer.
In 1972, Lynda participated in the Miss World USA contest and gained national attention by successfully winning the title. After winning the beauty pageant, Carter started taking acting classes and made her first TV appearance in an episode of the 1974 police drama Nakia entitled Roots of Anger.
Her breakthrough role in Hollywood was as Wonder Woman in 1975, which opened many new doors of opportunities for her. Some of her other notable projects include Sky High, Bobbie Joe and the Outlaw, Hawkeye, Partners in Crime, The Dukes of Hazzard, Daddy, Hotline, Family Blessings, Double Dare, Lightening in a Bottle, Hope and Faith, Mulligans, Slayer, and Keep the Faith Baby.
Lynda went through some difficult times in her personal life; her parents divorced when she was still young, and she had to work hard to support herself. Moreover, when she started acting, she received rude comments about her height.
”All these feelings are left over from the time I was a kid. I mean: I was tall! Somebody would say, ’Oh, are you tall!’ And I giggle and say, ’Yeah, I’m tall!’ I was a clown. Inside I felt like crumbling jelly,” the Sky High star told the reporters in 1979.
When Lynda landed the role of Wonder Woman in 1975, she had only $25 in her account. The series was a hit and made her a superstar in Hollywood.
The show ran from 1975 to 1979, and Carter brought Wonder Woman to life; she was highly praised for her performance in the series, and offers started to pour in.
Speaking of her role as WW in an interview with CBS in 2017, Carter said,
“It’s bizarre. It’s humbling, honestly, particularly after all this time. I don’t really think that I’m Wonder Woman, by the way!”
In another interview, Carter said about the role, “Wonder Woman is a force. She’s fantastic. It’s absolutely thrilling to be a part of it. At the time, there were not many good roles for women. Advertisers were concerned that a woman couldn’t hold a show. This part was a first in many ways and it was a chance to portray a heroine that is beautiful, strong and smart.”
According to the 6-foot-tall beauty, following her performance in the series, many producers warned her that she was not like other actresses and that some of her costars would feel threatened by her charm.
“Well, I said, ‘Not a chance. They won’t be, because I am not playing her that way. I want women to want to be me, or be my best friend! There is something about the character where in your creative mind for that time in your life where you pretended to be her, or whatever the situation was, that it felt like you could fly,” she said.
The actress married twice in her life – her first marriage was with talent agent and promoter Ron Samuels. The couple stayed together for five years and separated in 1982.
The conflict occurred over the decision to have children; while Carter wanted kids, Ron didn’t, and that caused a rift that eventually ended their marriage within five years.
“The most stress between us occurs when I’m between projects. I get insomnia. And I pace alone. If my husband says one word, just one word that hurt my feelings, I analyze it. I go over it a million times,” she told Daily Press in 1980.
In 1984, she married Robert A. Altman, an attorney from Washington D.C. The couple welcomed two children together – Jessica Altman and James Altman.
In February 2022, Robert died of leukemia at the age of 73.
“Today would have been your 75th birthday. To me you cannot be gone, because the love you gave so freely endures. It lives on in me, our children, and the many people whose lives you touched. You gave so much of yourself while you were here, and today we honor your love, your life, and your legacy,” Carter wrote on Instagram a year after his passing.
“If I were up on a mountain today, I would sing to you through the mountain’s canyons. Instead, I woke to the dawn, over the ocean and sang my heart and love to you.”
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