She took everyone’s breath away when she was crowned Miss USA back in 1972 and got to represent the country on the greatest beauty contest, Miss World. This title opened many doors for gorgeous Lynda Carter, one of which, if not the most important of all, the role of Wonder Woman.
Carter became someone everyone admired. Not only men, but women from every part of the world celebrated her flawless beauty and incredible talent.
Speaking of the time she was named the most beautiful woman in America, Carter recalled, “I didn’t get any prizes. They smack a little banner on you, they stick a crown on your head and call you a beauty queen,” branding the experience as both “bad” and “painful” because of the “certain built-in cruelty” pageants come with.
Before landing the legendary role of the hero woman, Carter struggled with her film career. She did land a couple of roles, but she nearly ran out of money trying so she decided to take a normal job. But then, she got a call from her manager who told her that Joanna Cassidy had been turned down and that Lynda had the part of Diana Prince and her crime-fighting alter ego, Wonder Woman.
Being one of the first female superheroes ever, Wonder Woman empowered many. Just years before the series aired, thousands of women paraded down Fifth Avenue in New York asking for equality.
In an episode, Wonder Woman warned that “Any civilization that does not recognize the female is doomed to destruction. Women are the wave of the future and sisterhood is…stronger than anything.”
Carter executed the role to perfection. Her influence was immense and her character influenced a number of female writers and producers.
When told that women would be jealous of her portraying the heroine, Carter told CBS News, “Well, I said, ‘Not a chance. They won’t be, because I am not playing her that way. I want women to want to be me, or be my best friend! There is something about the character where 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.”
In 1978, Carter was voted ‘The Most Beautiful Woman in the World,’ and a poster of her wearing a crop top became the most selling that year, which didn’t make her particularly happy.
“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,” she said in an interview during NBC television special Women Who Rate a 10.
Besides doing films and series, among which Partners in Crime, starring opposite another Hollywood beauty, Loni Anderson, and the Dukes of Hazzard, she also tried herself in theatre, landing a role in the production of Chicago.
In 2016, Carter was in attendance when the United Nations celebrated the 75th anniversary of the first appearance of Wonder Woman, declaring the female superhero as its “Honorary Ambassador for the Empowerment of Women and Girls”.
“The greatest honor and responsibility of playing Wonder Woman was serving as a role model for fans around the world, particularly girls,” Lynda said during the ceremony.
“I’ve seen first-hand how a powerful yet compassionate superhero can inspire women to believe in themselves and men to support equality.”
Lynda Carter was married twice. She and husband Ron Samuels, an agent and promoter, met when he asked her to his office to discuss business. He was a prominent name in the field of film and worked with huge names like those of Jennifer O’Neill, Joyce DeWitt, Jaclyn Smith, and Barbara Carreras.
Back in the day, they were one of the most famous and most adored celebrity couples.
However, they went separate ways as there were cracks in their marriage such as the question of whether they should have children or not.
“I hope he forgives me and I have forgiven him because it was painful for both people. And I wish him – honestly and truly – wish him well,” Lynda stated when their divorce was finalized in 1982.