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Lynda Carter – A Wonder Woman For Life

Lynda Carter – A Wonder Woman For Life

By David Price

One of the foremost attributes of our fictional superheroes is that they can be reimagined and redesigned to attract new fans from new generations.

Currently, actress Gail Godot, with strong performances in the last three DC comic book movies, is proving to be the perfect Wonder Woman for the 21st Century.

But for Baby Boomers, their crime fighting Amazon Princess will always be Lynda Carter, a former Miss World USA, who starred in the Wonder Woman series on TV from 1975 to 1979.

These days the 66-year-old Carter is no longer the Diana Prince/Wonder Woman character she helped make famous, but she still is a wonder of a woman, crossing the country to speak as a smart, sassy advocate for many social causes, especially those affecting females.

I’m an old girl now, but until my dying day, I will never stop fighting for the idea of Wonder Woman,” Carter told Booming Encore. “That’s the idea of intellect and strength and courage. If my life means anything, it’s that I gave women the gift of curiosity about the world around them, tapping into their own intellect and courage. Wonder Woman as a character isn’t real, but the idea of Wonder Woman is real.”

The essence of this character for so many of us is about something special. It’s about who we are as people, defending what’s right, being mama bear for those things we hold so dear,” Carter added.

Of course, in today’s world, while there are still major gender issues, there are far more opportunities for women than there were when Carter began her role.

I was in Hollywood during a time when there were few women in television,” she explained. “They did not think that a woman could hold up a series. They did not think that women would tune in to watch an hour-long show with a woman as the lead.

In her first season, her stunt double was a man. “The first time I got on the set, this guy had chest hairs coming out of his costume,” she says. When Carter brought up this issue, she was assured that the camera would be so far away during the stunts that no one would be able to tell that they were being done by a man. But Carter continued her battle for women to be doubled by other women and was instrumental in helping get a stuntwomen’s association started.

I really did believe I had to fight for a lot of things,” Carter said. “I stuck to my guns. People began to say ‘that is who she is.’”

Carter is excited about the new image of Wonder Woman established by Godot’s portrayal.

Wonder Woman has come full circle after all these years,” she noted. Godot’s Wonder Woman movie, directed by Patty Jenkins and released in June, has already grossed $8.2 million worldwide. Both Jenkins and Godot are signed for a sequel set to be released in 2019.

During production of the 2017 feature, Jenkins approached Carter to appear in a cameo role, but it didn’t happen. “She was in England and I was doing my concerts. At that time, we couldn’t get our timing together,” Carter explained. “So, this next time, if she writes me a decent part, I might do it.”

The original Wonder Woman debuted in All-Star Comics No. 8 in 1941. She was created by American psychologist William Moulton Marston (pen name: Charles Moulton). Marston’s wife Elizabeth and his lover Olive Byrne are credited as muses for the character. He also drew a great deal of inspiration from early feminists, especially birth control pioneer Margaret Sanger.

At the time, Wonder Woman was revolutionary not simply because of her gender but because she was a female superhero with muscles, intellect, and compassion. Over the years, she became iconic, bested only in popularity in the DC comic world by her fellow Justice League members, Superman and Batman.

Carter credits Wonder Woman’s long-lasting popularity with the idea embedded in the character that women – and indeed all of us – can master problems. “it’s the symbolism of overcoming things. That’s part of Wonder Woman. It’s part of all of us. It’s about something deeper, something more. It’s about character. That’s what lives in all of us,” Carter said.

People look at me and say ‘she’s had it all.’ It’s not the truth. It’s not what has happened to any of us,” she added.

For example, after completing her Wonder Woman role and with her first marriage disintegrating, Carter developed alcoholism.

I felt so ashamed. I didn’t want to talk about it. I felt the world was crashing in on my soul and I didn’t know how to get rid of that feeling,” the actress, who now focuses more on singing (“I began as the girl singing in the band”) than her acting career. “But I’ve been in recovery for 20 years. The most important thing I learned is that I didn’t have to do it on my own. And I thought I did”.

Carter says one of the keys to contentment, especially as you age is acceptance.

Look, I like being a woman. Do I like being older? Well, I can’t change it so I might as well embrace it,” she said.

But even though I’m an old Grandma, I’ll never stop fighting for the idea of Wonder Woman – for intellect and strength and courage”.

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Dave Price operates a freelance writing/speaking/consulting/tour guiding practice in Washington, D.C., where he focuses on 3 topics – the Baby Boomer generation, classic rock, and issues on aging, especially those affecting men. A former journalist and educator, Price is researching 2 books, one on the status of classic rock music and its songs, performers, and fans today and the other a DC guidebook designed especially for Baby Boomers.