Actor and singer Lynda Carter is an iconic part of comic history and an incredible ambassador for human kindness. Though she has toured with her own cabaret show, recorded songs and appeared countless times on the small screen, most will recognize her as the Spirit of Truth herself: Wonder Woman.
Today, we celebrate Carter’s accomplishments, her personal successes, and how she grew into a real-life Wonder Woman.
Before working as an actor, Carter was committed to a career in music. In high school, she played in a band called Just Us, which had a sound that reflected her partly Mexican and Spanish heritage. She quickly bounced between bands as she grew up: for a time, she played with her cousins in a band called The Relatives; after dropping out of college, she sang with the Garfin Gathering.
She has since spent much of her career singing or lending her voice to narration or voice acting: she did a stint on Broadway as “Mama Morton” in Chicago; took her own one-woman show, An Evening with Lynda Carter, on tour; and wrote and recorded five songs for popular video game Fallout 4, in which she also voiced the character Magnolia.
What most know her as, though, is her role as Wonder Woman in the 1975 television show of the same name. The creation of the Ageless Amazon came from a need to compete with other comic heroes and to fill a void that they had left. Wonder Woman was a pacifist hero at a time when parents of avid comic book readers worried superhero stories were too violent. She fought for democracy and freedom—especially women’s freedom, which her creator, William Marston, was influenced by as a psychology professor at Harvard.
Wonder Woman was a big role to fill, but Carter approached it with an admiration for the character and an eagerness to live in the power she carried. When speaking to CBS News, Carter said, “There is something about the character were 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.”
Carter clearly understood Marston’s intent with Wonder Woman, who became a rallying symbol for the women’s rights movement and inspired women to band together. Carter recounts when a producer of Wonder Woman said that women would be jealous of her, she said, “Not a chance. They won’t be, because I’m not playing her that way. I want women to want to be me, or be my best friend!”
Carter continues to rally movements and be a symbol of unity. In addition to being named Grand Marshal of no less than three different LGBT+ Pride parades, she also supports pro-choice rights and Susan G. Komen for the Cure. She speaks about alcoholism and her own personal struggle with it, and how family support is crucial to recovery. She is now twenty years sober—a Herculean feat that requires Amazonian strength.
Lynda Carter is a singer, actor, advocate and icon. While she doesn’t think of herself as Wonder Woman, but she’s certainly not far from her, either.