For many, Lynda Carter is the first Wonder Woman they ever knew. Her poise and beauty graced tv screens from 1975 to 1979. The statuesque icon came into the spotlight as Miss World USA, 1972 and finished in the top 15 at the Miss World pageant that same year.
Carter is also a talented singer and has released several albums including, Portrait, Crazy Little Things, Red Rock ‘N’ Blues, and the soundtrack to the2015 game, Fall Out 4.
One thing many Lynda Carter fans may not know is the tragedies she has encountered in her life.
Join FactsVerse as we discuss the tragedies that changed Lynda Carter.
Her Early Life
Lynda Carter was born Lynda Jean Cordova Carter to a mother of Mexican-Spanish descent and an English-Irish father. She’s interested in showbiz early on in life. At the age of five, Lynda made her music debut in her hometown in Phoenix, Arizona. In high school, Lynda performed in a band called Just Us. The band played a variety of instruments including a marimba, an acoustic guitar, and a conga drum. At 16, she joined two of her cousins in a new band called The Relatives. The band opened at a popular Las Vegas hotel and lounge for three months; because Lynda underage she had to use the kitchen entrance.
Carter attended Arizona State University but soon dropped out to pursue a career in music. In 1970, she joined Speedy Garfin and the Garfin Gathering on tour as a singer.
She was with the group for two more years before leaving to pursue a career as an actress in 1972.
Rise to Stardom
Lynda gained nationwide attention in America by winning Miss World USA 1972, representing Arizona. She even finished in the top 15 at the Miss World pageant.
Not long after winning her crown, Hollywood came knocking. Carter had already begun taking acting classes in New York and making appearances in tv shows such as Cos and Starsky and Hutch.
But it was her powerful role as Wonder Woman in 1975 that made her a notable star. The show initially started out as a special on ABC but by 1976, the network turned it into a series. After the first season, CBS picked it up and aired it for a few more years. The show was a huge success despite fear from networks that a female lead would not be popular.
In an interview with The Daily Mail, Carter says that TV executives didn’t think there was a market for a female holding a role like Wonder Woman.
It’s safe to say the TV execs were wrong as Wonder Woman proved to be a hit to both male and female viewers alike.
Carter’s role as Wonder Woman opened up a world of opportunities for her in tv, movies, and music.
In March 1977, she was a guest star on The Jackson Show alongside Michael Jackson and his family. 1981 saw Carter as a presenter at the 8th American Music Awards.
Lynda also had her own tv specials that featured guests like Leo Sayer, Kenny Rogers, Tom Jones, Jerry Reed, and a bunch of other celebrities. These tv specials were so wildly successful that the third one titled ‘Celebration’ went on to win an Emmy.
Carter’s most recent appearances in tv shows and movies include her role as President Olivia Marsdin on the hit tv show Supergirl and the 2018 film Super troopers 2.
Lynda’s consistent relevance over the years just proves that she is truly Wonder Woman in all ramifications.
Sadly, it hasn’t been all wonder for the former beauty queen as she has had to deal with some pretty devastating tragedies in her life.
Tragedies are a part of life and everyone, celebrity or not, has gone through some pretty tough times. And Lynda Carter is no different.
Her Mother Had Alzheimers
In 2003, Carter’s mother diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease at age 79. For Lynda, her mother, who known as Jean had always been such a driving force in her life, supporting her throughout her career. She describes her mother as one of the great ‘wonder women’ in her life.
At the time of her diagnosis, Jean was living alone in Phoenix where she had raised her three children. Carter, who lives outside Washington would fly out every couple of months to visit Jean in Arizona.
Over time she began to observe some changes in her mother’s behavior and signs of cognitive decline.
In the February 2020 Issue of Brain and Life, Carter sheds more light on how the disease affected her mother.
“She would get angry if she had to drive at night”, Carter says. Jean who had been totally independent and social was now suddenly reluctant to drive.
Jean’s health soon became an issue that could no longer be overlooked when she fell in her home. Luckily, Carter’s brother Vincent, found her and took her to the doctor, who discovered that Jean’s toenails had grown so long they interfered with her walking.
The doctor advised that it was no longer safe for her to live alone, so she moved into a facility where she could be better cared for. The move helped Carter’s mother become a much happier person.
One thing was paramount for Carter during her mother’s illness- preserving her dignity. She made sure to never play the don’t-you- remember game with her. But no matter what, Jean always remembered her daughter. She died at age 89 in 2013.
After her mother’s death, Carter began lending her name and support to Maria Shriver’s Women’s Alzheimer’s movement. She is also a supporter of the Translational Genomics Research Institute in their effort to end the suffering caused by Alzheimer’s.
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She struggled with alcoholism
Carter has to a large extent, managed to avoid scandals in her career which is why it may surprise you to learn about the 70-year-old’s struggle with alcoholism. She admits she didn’t begin drinking until her mid-twenties and would take two or three-year breaks only to start drinking again. “I just felt terrible”, she said in a recent chat with the Daily Mail.
Sadly, there is a history of alcoholism in the actress’s family and there is a well-known connection between alcohol dependence and genetics.
During the time Carter began drinking heavily, she was unhappily married to her first husband, talent manager Ron Samuels. They were married from 1977 to 1982.
Carter did find love again and was married two years later to video game exec, Robert Altman. She finally decided to seek help at the urging of her husband who pleaded with her to ‘think of their children’. Although her children never say her out of control, her alcohol addiction prevented her from being there for them in the way she should have.
Now 23 years in recovery, Carter is committed to helping others struggling and taking the stigma out of alcoholism.
She lost her husband
When Lynda met Robert Altman, she was not looking for love. She had just left an unhappy marriage and was going to figure things out on her own. However, fate had something else in store for her.
The couple met in 1982 at a dinner party hosted by Maybelline. Carter was the face of the cosmetics label and Altman was the attorney for the parent company. The chemistry between them was undeniable. Two years later, they were married. And so began 37 years of marriage that ended this February after Robert’s death. He died of myelofibrosis, a rare blood cancer.
Carter and Altman shared a wonderful life. They had two children: James Altman, 33, an attorney, and Jessica Carter Altman, an attorney turned singer-songwriter.
Robert’s death has been difficult for Carter and it has taken her months to finally talk about it. H In a teary interview with People, she talks about how the loss has affected her. “It still gets me,” she says, “I just can’t believe I’ve lost him.”
Robert was her support in tough times and she was his. He encouraged her to seek help when she struggled with alcohol addiction. In 1993 when Altman was on trial, Carter stood by his side as he maintained his innocence. He was acquitted of all the charges.
Carter gushes about her late husband. She describes him as someone fun to be with and a good sport who encouraged her to try new things. She attributes the success of their marriage to Robert’s support.
Until his death, Altman was the CEO of Zenimax, a video game company.
She’s still active though – releasing music and making cameos in the new Wonder Woman films
Carter truly embodies the character of Wonder Woman in her daily life. Her ability to push through the most tragic events in her life and remain relevant in Hollywood is amazing.
On October 29th, she released a song titled Human and Divine. This song is a tribute to her late husband, Robert. Carter says that she was also inspired by the bittersweet love shared by Diana Prince and Steve Trevor in the Wonder Woman 1984 film. With this song, she aims to capture the ‘human-ness’ of love.
Excitingly, Lynda is not only releasing new music but she has also officially joined the Wonder Woman 3 cast!
She cameoed in the 2020 film Wonder Woman 1984 as Asteria, whose golden eagle armor Diana wears in the film’s climactic battle with Cheetah. Following the success of the movie, the cast and crew are excited to have Carter back on set.
One person who is particularly excited is Gal Gadot, the actress who plays Wonder Woman.
Speaking to the Hollywood Reporter, Gadot said that it “means the world” to have Carter as part of the cast for the DCEU film.
Gal began playing the role of Wonder Woman in the 2016 movie, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Gadot speaks very fondly of Carter. She credits Carter with mentoring her and always being available to give her tips. The two share a close relationship and have been seen at several events together.
Wonder Woman 3 has yet to receive a release date but fans are looking forward to seeing Carter reprise her role as Asteria.
There’s no denying that Lynda Carter is strong. She is proof that human beings can overcome tragedy and create something beautiful. We look forward to hearing more amazing music from her.
That concludes this video on the tragedies that changed Lynda Carter.
How did you first know Carter? As Miss World USA or as Wonder Woman? Please let us know in the comments. And if you enjoyed this video, make sure to hit the like button and subscribe to FactsVerse for more videos!