Lynda Carter

For the EastEnders character, see Linda Carter.
Lynda Carter

Photograph of Lynda Carter from JS² Communications, April 2, 2012
Born Linda Jean Córdova Carter[1]
(1951-07-24) July 24, 1951
Phoenix, Arizona, United States
Occupation Actress, singer, songwriter, beauty pageant titleholder
Years active 1968–present
Known for Wonder Woman, (1975–79)
Maybelline commercials
Lens Express commercials
Spouse(s) Ron Samuels (m. 1977; div. 1982)
Robert A. Altman (m. 1984)
Children 2

Lynda Carter (born Linda Jean Córdova Carter; July 24, 1951) is an American actress, singer, songwriter and beauty pageant titleholder who was crowned Miss World America 1972 and also the star of the TV series Wonder Woman from 1975 to 1979.

Early life

Carter was born in Phoenix, Arizona, the daughter of Juanita (née Córdova) and Colby Carter.[1][2] Her father is of English and Scots-Irish ancestry, and her mother is of Mexican, Spanish and French descent.[3] Carter made her public television debut on Lew King's Talent Show at age 5. During high school, Carter performed in a band called Just Us, consisting of a marimba, a conga drum, an acoustic guitar, and a stand-up bass played by another girl. When she was 16, she joined two of her cousins in another band called The Relatives. Actor Gary Burghoff was the drummer. The group opened at the Sahara Hotel and Casino lounge in Las Vegas for three months; because Carter was under 21, she had to enter through the kitchen.

Carter attended Arizona State University. After being voted "Most Talented", she dropped out to pursue a career in music. In 1970, Carter sang with The Garfin Gathering. Their first performance was in a San Francisco hotel so new that it had no sidewalk entrance. Consequently, they played mostly to the janitors and hotel guests who parked their cars in the underground garage. She returned to Arizona in 1972.


In 1972, Carter won a local Arizona beauty contest and gained national attention in the United States by winning Miss World USA, representing Arizona.[4] In the international 1972 Miss World pageant, representing the United States, she reached the semifinals. After taking acting classes at several New York acting schools, she made her first acting appearance, in an episode of the 1974 police drama Nakia entitled "Roots of Anger".[5] She then began making appearances on such TV shows as Starsky and Hutch and Cos, and in several "B" movies.

Wonder Woman

Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman, 1976

Carter's acting career took off when she landed the starring role on Wonder Woman as the title character and her secret identity, Diana Prince. The savings she had set aside from her days of touring on the road with her band[6] to pursue acting in Los Angeles were almost exhausted, and she was close to returning to Arizona when Carter's manager informed her that Joanna Cassidy had lost the part to her. Carter's earnest performance endeared her to fans and critics, such that Carter continues to be closely identified with Wonder Woman.

The series lasted for three seasons, until 1980 when the show was cancelled. As it was winding down, while referring to the feedback she had received for her posters,[7] Carter told US magazine:

I never meant to be a sexual object for anyone but my husband. I never thought a picture of my body would be tacked up in men's bathrooms. I hate men looking at me and thinking what they think. And I know what they think. They write and tell me.

She also was upset with some of the marketing of her image. Warner Bros. worked out a deal with the toy company, Mego, to create a Wonder Woman doll while the series was still on the air. In 1987 on The Late Show with Joan Rivers,[8] Carter commented:

I think that you're probably familiar with a problem in Hollywood, and that is that they market you, and they use you. They did a mask of my face and put it on the doll, and they put my name on for the first run of it. And then they took my name off and said they didn't have to pay me anymore. So it's the kind of thing that you can be used so much in this industry. I make nothing. I don't even make anything from the reruns. Don't ever settle for net profits. It's called creative accounting.

In 1985, DC Comics named her as one of the honorees in the company's 50th anniversary publication Fifty Who Made DC Great for her work on the Wonder Woman series.[9] In 2007, toy company DC Direct released a 13-inch full-figure statue of Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman, limited to 5,000 pieces;[10] it was re-released in 2010.[11] Also in 2010, DC Direct began selling a 5½-inch bust of Carter's Wonder Woman to celebrate the DC Comics' 75th anniversary.[12]

With Gal Gadot's role as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman in the 2016 film, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, being hailed one of the best parts of the film,[13] Carter voiced her approval of the young actress' performance and welcomed her character's arrival in a theatrical film.[14]

Other work

In 1978, Carter was voted "The Most Beautiful Woman in the World" by the International Academy of Beauty and the British Press Organization.[15] She had also signed a modelling contract with Maybelline cosmetics in 1977.[6]

During the late 1970s, Carter recorded an album, Portrait. Carter is credited as a cowriter on several songs and she made numerous guest appearances on variety television programs at the time in a musical capacity. She also sang two of her songs in a 1979 Wonder Woman episode, "Amazon Hot Wax". In 1977, Carter released a promotional poster through Pro Arts Inc. at the suggestion of her then-husband and manager, Ron Samuels. The poster was very successful despite Carter's dissatisfaction with it. In 1981 during an interview on the NBC television special Women Who Rate a 10, she said:

It's uncomfortable because I just simply took a photograph. That's all my participation was in my poster that sold over a million copies was that I took a photograph that I thought was a dumb photograph. My husband said, "Oh, try this thing tied up here, it'll look beautiful". And the photographer said "the back-lighting is really terrific". So dealing with someone having that picture up in their... bedroom or their... living room or whatever I think would be hard for anyone to deal with.[16]

In 1979's Apocalypse Now, she originally was cast in the role of Playboy Playmate Bunny, but the filming of her scenes was interrupted by the famous storm that wrecked the theater set, prompting nearly two months' delay for rebuilding. By the time Francis Ford Coppola, the director of the film was ready to shoot again, Carter's contractual obligations to Wonder Woman had forced her back to the States, and her scenes were reshot with Colleen Camp. The only evidence remaining of Carter's involvement are the Playboy centerfolds that were specially shot by the magazine as movie props. At one point in the Redux version of Apocalypse Now, a glimpse of Carter's pinup is visible, as the only nude work ascribed to the actress outside of Bobbie Jo and the Outlaw.[17]

Carter also made a guest appearance on The Muppet Show, but did not appear as Wonder Woman or display the superpowers because she was focusing more on her singing career. In the episode's running gag, Kermit repeatedly reminded the other muppets that their guest was Lynda Carter and not Wonder Woman, to no avail as they ineptly attempted to become superheroes by taking a correspondence course. However, Miss Piggy portrayed "Wonder Pig", a spoof of Carter's iconic television character.

Her other credits include the title role in a biopic of actress Rita Hayworth (born Margarita Carmen Cansino), titled Rita Hayworth: The Love Goddess (1983) and a variety of her own musical TV specials: Lynda Carter's Special (1980), Encore! (1980), Celebration (1981), Street Life (1982), and Body And Soul (1984). Carter's next major role after Wonder Woman was in the crime drama television series, Partners in Crime with Loni Anderson in 1984. She then portrayed Helen Durant in the 1989 CBS television film Mike Hammer: Murder Takes All where she booby-trapped Las Vegas entertainer Johnny Roman (Edward Winter), her husband Doctor Carl Durant, and his employee accountant Brad Peters (Jim Carrey) to their deaths. Throughout the 1990s, Carter appeared in a string of television movies that resulted in a resurgence in television appearances. Also, because of the re-syndication of Wonder Woman on such cable networks as FX and SyFy, Carter participated in two scheduled on-line chat sessions with fans.[18] Around that time, Carter created her own production company, Potomac Productions. Throughout the 1990s, she also appeared in commercials for Lens Express (now 1-800 Contacts). In 1993, Carter expanded her performance resume to include voiceover work as the narrator for the Sandra Brown book Where There's Smoke.[19]

In 2000, Carter hosted the I Love 1978 episode of BBC2's I Love the '70s. The following year, she was cast in the independent comedy feature Super Troopers, as Vermont Governor Jessman. The writers and stars of the film, the comedy troupe Broken Lizard, with Jay Chandrasekhar directing, had specifically sought Carter for the role. Inspired by the character detour from her usual roles, she agreed to play a washed-up, former beauty queen in The Creature of the Sunny Side Up Trailer Park (2004), directed by Christopher Coppola. She won an award for being the "Superest Superhero" on the Second Annual TV Land Awards that same year. When an announcer reported about an invisible plane being double-parked illegally and needed to be relocated before it was towed, she performed her spinning transformation once again after 25 years. A younger actress wore the star-spangled outfit at that moment. Carter made her first appearance in a major feature film in a number of years in the big-screen remake of The Dukes of Hazzard (2005), also directed by Chandrasekhar. She also appeared in Disney's action comedy film Sky High (2005) as Principal Powers, the headmistress of a school for superheroes. The script allowed Carter to poke fun at her most famous character when she states: "I can't do anything more to help you. I'm not Wonder Woman, y'know". She did not wear glasses like her Diana Prince persona. In 2006, she guest-starred in the made-for-cable vampire film Slayer. The following year, Carter returned to the DC Comics' television world in the Smallville episode "Progeny" (2007), playing Chloe Sullivan's Kryptonite-empowered mother.

Carter expanded her voice-over work to include video games, performing voices for the nord and orsimer (orc) females in two computer games of The Elder Scrolls series, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. These games were developed by Bethesda Softworks; her husband, businessman Robert A. Altman, is Chairman and CEO of Bethesda's parent company, ZeniMax Media.

From September to November 2005, Carter played "Mama Morton" in the West End London production of Chicago.[20] In 2006, her rendition of "When You're Good to Mama" was officially released on the Chicago: 10th Anniversary Edition CD box set. In May 2007, Carter began touring the U.S. with her one-woman musical cabaret show, An Evening with Lynda Carter. She has played engagements at such venues as Feinstein's at Loews Regency in New York, Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, the Plush Room in San Francisco, and the Catalina Jazz Club in Los Angeles. In June 2009, her second album, At Last, was released and reached #10 on Billboard's Jazz Albums Chart.[21] In June 2011, Carter released her third album, Crazy Little Things, which she describes as a delightful mix of standards, country, and pop tunes.[22]

Carter is among the interview subjects in Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle, a three-hour documentary narrated by Liev Schreiber that premiered on PBS in October 2013.[23]

In 2015, Carter wrote and recorded original songs for the latest installment of the Fallout video-game series, Fallout 4.[24] An EP of the songs from the game's soundtrack was released on iTunes on November 6, 2015.[25]

Personal life

Carter as the Grand Marshal at Gay Pride in Washington, DC in 2013

Carter has been married twice. Her first marriage was to her former talent agent, Ron Samuels, from 1977 to 1982.

In January 1984, Carter married Washington, DC, attorney Robert A. Altman, law partner of Clark Clifford (and now CEO of ZeniMax Media). She left Hollywood in 1985 to join her husband in Washington DC for a few years. Carter and her husband have two children: James (born 1988),[26] and Jessica (born 1990),[4][27] and live in Potomac, Maryland.

In 1993, after a lengthy and highly publicized jury trial stemming from his involvement with the Bank of Credit and Commerce International and its secret acquisition of First American Bankshares Inc., Altman was acquitted.[28] Carter was seen on the TV news with her arm around him, declaring, "Not guilty! Not guilty!" to the gathered reporters.

Carter identifies as a feminist, stating in a Wonder Woman DVD extra that "I was a feminist just by nature, before I knew what a feminist was I was a feminist".

In 2003, Carter revealed that her mother had suffered from irritable bowel syndrome for over 30 years, resulting in Carter touring the country as an advocate and spokeswoman.[29] Lynda is also a staunch advocate and supporter of Susan G. Komen for the Cure,[30] Pro-Choice rights for women,[31] and legal equality for LGBT people. She was the Grand Marshal for the 2011 Phoenix Pride and 2011 New York Pride Parades,[32][33] as well as the 2013 Capital Pride Parade in Washington, DC.[34]

In early June 2008, while rowing out of the Potomac Boat Club, Carter spotted a body floating in the Potomac River. She called out to some fishermen and waited for the police to arrive.[35] Carter stated that she "did what anyone would have done".

Later in June 2008, Carter admitted in an interview to People that she had entered a rehabilitation clinic for treatment of alcoholism and had now been sober for nearly 10 years.[36] In a statement when asked what the recovery process had taught her, Carter explained that the best measure of a human being is "how we treat the people who love us, and the people that we love".


Year Film Role Notes
1976 Bobbie Jo and the Outlaw Bobbie Jo Baker
1993 Lightning in a Bottle Charlotte Furber
2001 Super Troopers Governor Jessman a.k.a. Broken Lizard's Super Troopers
2004 The Creature of the Sunny Side Up Trailer Park Lynette a.k.a. Creature
2005 Sky High Principal Powers
The Dukes of Hazzard Pauline
2006 Tempbot Mary Alice Short film
2007 Tattered Angel Hazel Anderson
Year Show Role Notes
1974 Nakia Helen Chase 1 episode
1975 Matt Helm Bobbi Dee 1 episode
1976 A Matter of Wife... And Death Zelda TV movie
Starsky and Hutch Vicky 1 episode
1975–79 Wonder Woman Wonder Woman/Princess Diana/Diana Prince TV Movie + 59 episodes
1980 The Last Song Brooke Newman TV movie
The Muppet Show Herself 1 episode
1981 Born to Be Sold Kate Carlin TV movie
1982 Hotline Brianne O'Neill TV movie
1983 Rita Hayworth: The Love Goddess Rita Hayworth TV movie
1984 Partners in Crime Carole Stanwyck 13 episodes
1987 Stillwatch Patricia Traymore TV movie
1989 Mike Hammer: Murder Takes All Helen Durant TV movie
1991 Daddy Charlotte Sampson TV movie
a.k.a. Danielle Steel's Daddy
Posing: Inspired by Three Real Stories Meredith Lanahan TV movie
a.k.a. I Posed for Playboy
1994–95 Hawkeye Elizabeth Shields 22 episodes
1996 When Friendship Kills Kathryn Archer TV movie
a.k.a. A Secret Between Friends: A Moment of Truth Movie
She Woke Up Pregnant Susan Saroyan TV movie
a.k.a. Crimes of Silence
1997 A Prayer in the Dark Emily Hayworth TV movie
1998 Someone to Love Me Diane Young TV movie
a.k.a. Someone to Love Me: A Moment of Truth Movie
a.k.a. Girl in the Backseat
1999 Family Blessings Lee Reston TV movie
a.k.a. LaVyrle Spencer's 'Family Blessings'
2003 Terror Peak Dr. Janet Fraser TV movie
Hope & Faith Summer Kirkland 1 episode
2005 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Lorraine Dillon 2 episode
Law & Order
2006 Slayer Colonel Jessica Weaver TV movie
2007 Smallville Moira Sullivan 1 episode
2013 Two and a Half Men Herself 1 episode
2014 Skin Wars Guest judge 1 episode
2016 Supergirl U.S. President Olivia Marsdin Recurring Role
Video Game
Year Game Role Notes
2002 The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind Female Nords
2005 The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion Female Nords and Female Orcs
2011 The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Azura, Gormlaith Golden-Hilt
2014 The Elder Scrolls Online Azura[37]
2015 Fallout 4 Magnolia

Studio albums


  1. 1 2 Micki Moore (January 30, 1990). "Lynda Carter: Beauty and the creative fire". Toronto Star. Toronto: Torstar Syndication Services. p. E1. ISSN 0319-0781. A dedicated, hard-working performer, Lynda Jean Carter was born in Phoenix, Ariz., 38 years ago, the youngest of three children. Accessed 2011-09-23.
  2. "Lynda Carter". TV Guide. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
  3. "Lynda Carter Selects Brown as Favorite Hue". Youngstown Daily Vindicator - Google News Archive Search. May 21, 1981. Retrieved June 16, 2015. That is perhaps a tribute to her heritage -- her mother is a Latin, part Mexican, part Spanish, part French.
  4. 1 2 "Lynda Jean Cardoba". Wonderland. Retrieved 2007-03-23.
  5. " Nakia". Retrieved 28 October 2014.
  6. 1 2 "Intimate Portrait: Lynda Carter". Retrieved 22 October 2016.
  7. "What People Are Saying". The Tuscaloosa News. 1980-02-26. Retrieved 2010-10-21.
  8. Fox Network. Air date: February 9, 1987
  9. Marx, Barry, Cavalieri, Joey and Hill, Thomas (w), Petruccio, Steven (a), Marx, Barry (ed). "Lynda Carter Wonder Woman Stars on TV" Fifty Who Made DC Great: 45 (1985), DC Comics
  10. "Product information page". Retrieved 28 October 2014.
  11. "DC Direct product page". DC Comics. Archived from the original on August 25, 2011. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
  12. "DC Direct product page". DC Comics. Archived from the original on June 8, 2011. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
  13. Russell, Scarlett (27 March 2016). "Wonder Woman reborn: how she stole limelight from Batman and Superman". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 April 2016.
  14. Parker, Heidi (28 March 2016). "'It's very cool': Seventies Wonder Woman Lynda Carter, 64, shares what she thinks of Gal Gadot's new version in 'Batman v Superman' | DailyMail". Daily Mail. Retrieved 1 April 2016.
  15. "Most beautiful woman in the world «". Retrieved 28 October 2014.
  16. Women Who Rate a 10. NBC Network. Air date: February 15, 1981
  17. "7 missing performances I'd like to see". Den of Geek. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
  18. Lens Express Chat: November 8, 1999; PlanetRx Chat: February 3, 2000
  19. "Where There's Smoke: Sandra Brown, Lynda Carter: 9781558006454: Books". Retrieved 28 October 2014.
  20. "The British Theater Guide". Retrieved 2006-05-12.
  21. "Chart Beat: The Black Eyed Peas, Lynda Carter, Paulina Rubio". Billboard. 18 June 2009. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
  22. "Wonderful Woman: Lynda Carter's Bulletproof Life". Retrieved 2011-07-20.
  23. Logan, Michael (October 14, 2013). "The Comics' Real Heroes". TV Guide. p. 27.
  26. "Wonder Woman becomes a mom". The Globe & Mail. Toronto: The Globe & Mail. 1988-01-16. p. C.12. ISSN 0319-0714. Accessed 2011-09-23.
  27. "Hurt in heaven with special jet". The Province. Vancouver, B.C.: CanWest Digital Media. p. 14. NEW WONDERBABY: Lynda Carter, who starred in the Wonder Woman TV series in the 1970s, gave birth Sunday to her second child, Jessica. Accessed 2011-09-23.
  28. "Altman Acquitted of Banking Fraud". New York Times. Retrieved 22 October 2016.
  29. "USA Today article". Retrieved 28 October 2014.
  30. "Susan G. Komen article". ©accessdate= 28 October 2014.
  31. "Pro-Choice news article". 25 April 2004. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
  32. "The Arizona Republic article". Retrieved 28 October 2014.
  33. "Out Magazine Interview". Out Magazine. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
  34. "Capital Pride News Release". Archived from the original on March 15, 2014. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
  35. "'Wonder Woman finds body floating in river". Archived from the original on June 7, 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-08.
  36. "'Wonder Woman Lynda Carter: 'I'm an Alcoholic' '". Retrieved 2008-07-05.
  37. Makuch, Eddie (January 23, 2014). "Elder Scrolls Online voice cast is seriously impressive". GameSpot. Retrieved January 29, 2014.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Lynda Carter.
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Brucene Smith
Miss World USA
Succeeded by
Marjorie Wallace
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