Carter at the 2009 Heart Truth fashion show
|Born||Linda Jean Córdova Carter
July 24, 1951
Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Ron Samuels (1977–1982)
Robert A. Altman (1984–present)
Lynda Carter (born July 24, 1951) is an American actress and singer. She is best known for the Amazonian title role in the fantasy-adventure television series Wonder Woman which aired from 1975 to 1979.
Carter was born Linda Jean Córdova Carter in Phoenix, Arizona. Her father, Colby Carter, is a former antiques dealer of Irish-American descent. Her mother, Juana Córdova, is a Mexican immigrant who previously worked in the telephone industry. Although Carter does not speak Spanish, she understands it well and is proud of her Mexican heritage. Carter grew up an avid reader of the Wonder Woman comic books. She went to Globe High School in Globe, Arizona and Arcadia High School in Phoenix. She attended Arizona State University but after being voted the "most talented" student she dropped out in order to pursue a career in music. She toured as a singer with several rock groups before returning to Arizona in 1972.
Carter entered a local beauty contest and gained national fame by winning Miss World USA, in 1972, representing Arizona. As the United States entrant in the Miss World pageant she reached the semi-finals. After taking acting classes at several New York acting schools, she began making appearances on TV shows such as Starsky and Hutch, Cos, and Nakia, and in "B-movies," including her only nude appearance, which was in Bobbie Jo and the Outlaw, released in 1976.
However, Carter's acting career did not take off until she landed her starring role in the Wonder Woman television series. Carter has stated that the savings her parents set aside for her to pursue acting in Los Angeles was almost depleted and she was close to returning to Arizona when her manager informed her that the Wonder Woman television series producers selected her to star. Her earnest performance endeared her to fans and critics, and the series lasted for three seasons. Thirty years after first taking on the role, Carter continues to be closely identified with Wonder Woman.
As the program was winding down, Carter told a national magazine:
"I hate men looking at me and thinking...what they think; and I know what they think--they write and tell me."
She was referring to the sexually explicit content of some of the letters she had received from male admirers.
Carter was also upset with some of the marketing of her image while taping the series. Warner Bros. worked out a deal with the toy company Mego to create a doll series on the Wonder Woman television series while it was still on the air. While interviewed on The Late Show in 1987 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."
Carter's other credits include the title role in a 1983 biopic of Rita Hayworth titled Love Goddess, and a variety of her own television specials: Lynda Carter's Special (1980), Encore! (1980), Celebration (1981), Street Life (1982), and Body And Soul (1984). She also starred in a few short-lived TV series, including, Partners in Crime, with Loni Anderson, in 1984, and, Hawkeye, with Lee Horsley. During this time, she also became a celebrity promotional model for Maybelline cosmetics commercials.
During the late 1970s, she recorded an album, Portrait. Carter is credited as a co-writer on several songs, and made numerous guest appearances on variety television programs at the time in a musical capacity. She also sang two of her songs in the 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 sold very successfully despite Carter's dissatisfaction with it. In 1981 she said the following regarding the poster during an interview on the NBC television special Women Who Rate a 10 :
"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."
Throughout the 1990s, Carter appeared in a string of made-for-television movies gaining her a resurgence in television appearances. Also due to the re-syndication of the Wonder Woman TV series on such cable networks as FX and the Sci-Fi Channel, Carter even participated in two scheduled on-line chat sessions with fans.
In 2001, Carter 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 member Jay Chandrasekhar directing, had specifically sought Carter for the role. Inspired by the character-type detour from her usual roles, she agreed to play a dish-water former beauty queen in the 2004 film The Creature of the Sunny Side Up Trailer Park, directed by Christopher Coppola. Carter had her first appearance in a major feature film in a number of years in the 2005 big-screen remake of The Dukes of Hazzard, also directed by Chandrasekhar. She also appeared in the 2005 movie, the comedy Sky High, as "Principal Powers", the head 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." In 2006 she then guest-starred in the made-for-cable vampire film Slayer. The following year Lynda returned to the DC Comics' television world on the 2007 episode of Smallville, titled "Progeny," playing Chloe Sullivan's Kryptonite-empowered mother.
Carter has also done voiceovers for video games, performing voices for the nord and orsimer (orc) females in two computer games of The Elder Scrolls series, The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. These games were developed by Bethesda Softworks, of which her second husband, Robert A. Altman (not to be confused with the late Hollywood director) is Chairman and CEO.
From September 26, 2005, until November of that year, Carter played the role of "Mama Morton," in the West End London production of Chicago. Her rendition of "When You're Good to Mama" was officially released on the Chicago: 10th Anniversary Edition CD box set in October 2006. Carter began touring the US with her one woman musical cabaret show, "An Evening with Lynda Carter", in May 2007. She has played engagements at prestigious venues such as Feinstein's At Loews Regency in New York, Jazz at Lincoln Center, and The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. In June 2009, her new album, "At Last", was released and reached #6 on Billboard's Jazz Albums Chart.
Carter has been married twice. Her first marriage was to her former agent Ron Samuels, on May 28, 1977. They were divorced in 1982. Carter later married attorney Robert Altman, on January 29, 1984. The couple have two children, James and Jessica.
When, after a lengthy and highly publicized jury trial for banking and securities fraud in 1992, Carter's husband Robert Altman was found not guilty, Carter was shown on the nightly TV news standing with her arm around her husband shouting, "Not guilty! Not guilty!" to the TV news reporters.
In early June 2008, Carter found a body floating in the Potomac River in Washington, D.C. while rowing out of the Potomac Boat Club. She called out to some fishermen and waited for the police to arrive. That same month, she admitted in an interview to People magazine that she had entered a rehabilitation clinic for treatment of alcoholism.