Under the zodiacal sign of Leo, Linda Jean Córdova Carter was born in Phoenix, Arizona on Tuesday, July 24, 1951 as the youngest of the three children of Jean and Colby Carter. She was named Linda by her Mother because it's an Spanish name (which as a word in Spanish it means "pretty"), but she changed it from Linda to Lynda in junior high school. Together with her parents and brother Vincent and sister Pamela, they used to go on picnics and used to spend a lot of time doing outdoors activities. From her Irish-American Father she learned a sense of adventure and from her Mother the love for music and the arts. Her mother was of Mexican and Spanish ancestry and she had nine brothers and sisters. They used to have big lively parties with a lot of relatives, music, dancing and Mexican food. Jean loved music and dancing and saw talent in her daughter Lynda since an early age and knowing this, she stimulated her artistic side. This way she always ended up "performing" for the friends and family. Her sister Pamela recalls that her Mother was always urging them to do activities like dancing or singing or playing at home. Lynda today recognizes that her Mother was the single and most powerful influence on her choice of career.
Lynda recalls that at the age of three or four she was watching Dinah Shore on television, and it was then that she knew what she wanted to be: an artist, throwing kisses at the public and being applauded and loved. She made her public debut at age 5 on Lew King's talent show. At the same age she started taking dancing lessons at the School Ballet of Phoenix, founded by a British teacher from the Royal British School of Ballet who moved to Arizona. She took lessons at that school for ten years. She attended Kenilworth School at Scottsdale and had a Roman Catholic religious formation. At 9 she took her first communion at the Roman Catholic Church of Phoenix.
Her parents were always very passionate, and Lynda learned from them the value of the family but in 1961 when she was 10 her parents Colby and Jean’s marriage began to fail. At night, Lynda and her sister Pam used to get in bed together and hold each other while their parents fought. The divorce, when it came, was very hard for the family and after it, Jean moved with her three children to Scottsdale, a poor suburb of Phoenix. It was devastating for the three children, and though they had not been exactly a wealthy family, the change was drastic. Jean needed a job and she started to work at Motorola assembling parts. Jean needed a job and she started to work at Motorola assembling parts.
Lynda found comfort in singing and developed her natural talents. She started singing, playing guitar and composing at the age of 10, and participated in a number of school musicals and plays. She attended Arcadia Titans High School in Scottsdale where she participated in chorals and theatre productions, most notable as Rosie in a free version of "Bye Bye Birdie". She always felt like an "ugly duckling" because she was always too tall, too thin, and with size 10 shoes. The students used to call her "Olive Oyl", because they said she looked like Popeye's girlfriend. There were times when Lynda wished she was short and blond, because she always stood out from everyone else. She tried to enter an exclusive club in her High School but they didn't want her because her family was not wealthy enough. Though she pretended it didn't affect her, it was very hard for a teenager and her sister Pam used to say to her that one day it would be them begging her to enter the club. Nevertheless she always was making everyone laugh and enjoy her company. She was voted the "Most Talented Student" of her High School.
Lynda was always very independent and since early age she found her way to earn her own money for her things, and to help out her family. She sang with several bands, but at the age of 14 she joined a local band called "The Relatives", named because two of their members really were relatives. Among them was Gary Burghoff of later "M.A.S.H." fame as Radar O'Reilly. They started playing at school parties and local hangouts. The official debut was at Dell Webb's Towne House. Not long after they were playing at The Pizza Inn, the favorite local hangout for 3 nights a week, earning $25 dollars a night which she thought it was a fortune.
After graduating from High School she inscribed in the Arizona State University where she wanted to try for a degree in the Arts, but was bored with classes. After only one semester she quitted to join another band called "The Garfin Gathering" and tour the country. Led by Howard "Speedy" Garfin it was formed by Lynda, Dennis Bush and Ed Johnson, later replaced by Wayne Yeager. In 1968 Lynda made her debut with the band at the Sahara Lounge in Las Vegas. She was only 17 and she's been a professional singer since 14, but because she was underage she could not enter through the casino, but had to enter the Hotel through the kitchen. Despite the snub, she was still excited and took pictures of her name on the hotel’s marquee to send to her mother, even though it was in little letters. She toured the country with the band during three years until 1970. Then the band crossed the ocean on their way to England where they were going to make a record. A demo was made with Lynda singing two songs, “It Might As Well Stay Monday” and “I Believe in Music.” Unfortunately it was never released since they needed job permissions. Disappointed, they came back to the States. One day while on tour in Lima, Ohio, Lynda felt tired of being always on the road, and decided to flip her ways. She dropped out of the band and went back home to Phoenix. But after only a week she felt tired and bored of being at home since she’d always been very active and been working since she was 12.
Advised by a local Models Agency and her family, Lynda entered the "Miss Phoenix" beauty pageant. She had nothing to lose, she was young and beautiful, and according to her Mother, it was the perfect age to do it: "Soon you'll be too old for that", she said to Lynda. She easily won the local pageant and went on to participate on the "Miss Arizona-World" Pageant of which the winner would represent the State in the "Miss World-USA" Contest. No wonder, once again she easily won emerging among the sixteen participants in Safford, Arizona, where the pageant was held. After making some personal appearances, including a trip sponsored official by the Mexican government attending the International Friendship Festival held in Guadalajara, Puerto Vallarta and Mexico City from October 19-26, she went on as the State's representative to participate on the "Miss World-USA" contest held in Hampton, Virginia on Friday, September 1, 1972. Lynda was only 21 years old and was a huge favorite of the public and judges and she delighted them singing "God Bless the Child That's Got Its Own". The finalists were Jackie Behrendt ("Miss Texas-World"), Rita Jo Fitzgerald ("Miss Oklahoma-World"), Sandra Leland ("Miss Florida-World"), Melanie Ann Chapman ("Miss Georgia-World") and obviously Lynda Carter from Tempe, Arizona as "Miss Arizona-World". Lynda won the contest, with Bob Hope crowning her, and within 20 days she had three beauty titles on her achievements. The next step would be representing her country in the "Miss World 1972" Pageant. This contest was held in London on Friday, December 1, 1972 and Lynda was among the 15 semi-finalists. She didn't make it to the finals and Belinda Roma Green from Australia was crowned "Miss World 1972".
She came back home and after spending a year of making tiresome presentations as “Miss World-USA”, opening gas stations and supermarkets in her tiara and scepter, Lynda decided to move to Los Angeles and try acting. Using some money her father have saved for her, and her money from being “Miss World USA” she started training to be an actress with such famous acting coaches as Laura Zucker, Stella Adler and Charles Conrad that lasted two years. It was late in 1974 and Lynda knew it wouldn't be easy to make her way in Hollywood where lots of young and beautiful girls were pursuing the same goal. After a brief appearance in one episode of the short-lived Nakia series, she applied for some roles like the 1974 Wonder Woman telefilm (which would star Cathy Lee Crosby). She guest-starred in the pilot for a proposed series called "Shamus: A Matter of Wife and Death" with Rod Taylor. Then she applied for the lead role on a mini-series produced by Larry Gordon and based on Irving Wallace's novel "The Fan Club". A lot of young and beautiful actresses tested for the role, and while she wasn't the chosen one, neither of the other aspirants got the role since the film never went into production. Nevertheless Gordon saw something in her and recommended her to his friend Douglas Cramer, a producer who was searching for a beautiful woman with the ability to throw a javelin with style but with the charisma of Mary Tyler Moore.
Cramer was working for Warner Bros. for a new pilot movie for "Wonder Woman", which ABC decided to go for in spite of the failure of the first telefilm starring Cathy Lee Crosby who failed to catch viewers or ratings. There were 2,000 other aspirants, among them many now famous actresses, but Lynda didn't have to test for the role as they had her screen-test for the Gordon TV-movie. No doubt, they found their "Wonder Woman" leaving the other 2,000 aspirants far behind. Lyle Waggoner, who was Cramer's choice for the role of Steve Trevor, used to say he helped in the election of Lynda for the character, but since she had no experience in television, the executives of ABC-TV were not so sure about Lynda. But Cramer was convinced that Lynda was the "Wonder Woman" they were after and threatened to leave the project if they didn't allow him to keep Lynda for the role. She only had $ 25 dollars in her bank account and two and a half weeks later her agent called and said: "Hello, Wonder Woman".
Lynda was 24 years old and had almost no experience as an actress when she got the lead role in a proposed series, at a time when most of the roles of women were those of mothers, mistress, prostitutes or second bananas. She knew and liked the character as a child, but she would never imagine that one day she would portray one of the big three Superheroes of DC Comics, an undeniable icon of the American culture with a lot of symbolisms for women, and the most famous female superhero even today. Her friends and family started to send her "Wonder Woman" comics and she became sort of a specialist in the character. The pilot went on to shooting with a truer adaptation to the creation of William Moulton Marston. With an excellent adaptation by Stanley Ralph Ross, Doug Cramer as executive producer (both of them of previous Batman experience), and the more than adequate direction of Leonard Horn, the pilot was presented as a Friday Night Movie on November 7, 1975, teaming with another telefilm called "Hey, I'm Alive!" with Ed Asner and Sally Struthers. The pilot was a rating and audience success and left the Cathy Lee Crosby version behind as a cheap school production. Lynda was so excited about the response of the public and the Nielsen ratings that when she went outside she was expecting people to ask her for autographs. No one did, but it would only be temporary. As proof of that, she was one of the guests on the November 11 episode of "The Johnny Carson Show", only four days after the pilot was shown throughout the country. In December of 1975 she guest-starred as singer Bobbie Dee in the episode "Panic" of the "Matt Helm" series starring Tony Franciosa. It was the first time Lynda had the chance to show her singing skills on the screen.
In spite of the success of the pilot, the ABC network wasn't sure of what to do with it. ABC usually ended up third on the ratings war with the other two networks. They had a successful series called "The Six Million Dollar Man" in which the lead character was Steve Austin, an American astronaut and test pilot who survived a airplane crash and suddenly became a superhero when some of his body parts where replaced with "bionics" components. In March 1975 the series introduced another character called Jaimie Sommers (played by another almost unknown actress named Lindsay Wagner) who was Steve Austin's girlfriend and who dies in a sky-diving accident. In the two hour story, the girl goes into surgery to replace her parts with Bionic components but her body rejects them and dies. The response of the public was overwhelming and obliged the network to revive the character and gave Lindsay Wagner her own series. Probably this encouraged ABC to accept a second version of "Wonder Woman", but they were dazzled by the audience response of "The Bionic Woman" and in spite of the huge success of the "Wonder Woman" pilot, they only ordered two one hour segments which would be presented as "specials" in April, 1976. In January 1976, The Bionic Woman kicked off having its own weekly time slot. The two "Wonder Woman" specials did very well in audience and ratings response, and trying to capitalize on the success of "The Bionic Woman", ABC thought they could use it as their secret weapon against the other networks whenever it was necessary. On February 25, 1976 Lynda was once again one of the guests of "The Johnny Carson Show". On February 25, 1976 Lynda was once again one of the guests of "The Johnny Carson Show".
Meanwhile, between the "Wonder Woman" pilot and the shooting of the first two "specials", Lynda went on to film her first feature film called "Bobbie Jo and the Outlaw", and released by American International Pictures. Co-starring Marjoe Gortner, it was just another free version of "Bonnie and Clyde" with a lot of B-movie ingredients. In this film Lynda made some semi-nude scenes which obviously didn't pleased the ABC executives considering the image they wanted for Wonder Woman. On April 12, 1976 Lynda Carter and Marjoe Gortner are one of the guests on the premiere episode of "Break The Bank". After that, Lynda went to the Philippines where she would have a small part in Francis Ford Coppola's "Apocalypse Now" as a member of a female USO dance show. It was a disaster. Coppolla had a heart attack while filming, there was trouble with the military equipment on loan from the Philippine armed forces, and the weather was terrible. Lynda spent two weeks in Olongapo, stranded with her group in the mud and the rain due to typhoon “Olga,” while the rest of the crew was unable to contact them. After the typhoon, they were "rescued" and she was able to finish her scenes though they never were used in the final version. Different versions are told why this happened, one being that when Coppola recovered, he looked at what had been shot and decided to scrap everything and start over. But when Lynda got in contact with her agent there was better news; she was told that ABC had ordered another 11 episodes for the "Wonder Woman" series and had to return immediately to the States.
After the broadcast of "Beauty on Parade" as the last of “Wonder Woman” specials on October 13, 1976, and the two-parter "The Feminum Mystique" on early November, the series finally got a regular schedule on Saturdays at 8:00 P.M. for the remaining 8 episodes, used to as a fill-in for the “Bionic Woman” series, whose actress, Lindsay Wagner, was recovering from an automobile accident. By that time Lynda Carter became a household name and she appeared on shows like "Hollywood Squares" or "Dinah!". In the Winter of 1976 she was part of a charity event held at the Los Angeles Forum called "The Christmas Cavalcade of Stars" hosted by Tony Orlando, where Ringo Starr played Santa Claus and Lynda was his assistant elf. By the end of the year she appeared on the premiere episode of Bill Cosby's new series titled "Cos" premiering on September 19, 1976, 6 days later she guest-starred in the second season premiere of "Starsky and Hutch" on a 90-minute episode titled "The Las Vegas Strangler". On November 13 of that same year she appears on "The Battle Of The Network Stars" gaining a lot of attention and appearing in a lot of magazines and interviews. On November 17 she guest-starred on the first "Olivia Newton John Special" appearing as Wonder Woman. Rumor has it that she even made a quick appearance on the syndicated corn-pone series “Hee Haw!”
In December 1976 she met Ron Samuels at an ABC affiliates party. Samuels was Lindsay Wagner's manager, as well as other actresses like Jennifer O'Neill, Joyce DeWitt, Jaclyn Smith and Barbara Carreras. Samuels was responsible for obtaining a millionaire contract for Lindsay Wagner on "The Bionic Woman". That day Lynda introduced herself and congratulated him for his achievements. Then they met again at one of Warner Brothers' lot, and he asked her to visit him at his offices to talk about business. After that they went out for lunch, then a tennis match and not long after that, they realized they were dating and soon they were living together. Ron was a handsome and successful man and Lynda was very impressed with him. Ron was dazzled not only by her stunning beauty, but also by her strong presence and sincerity. He recalled that one day while they were talking she was staring at him, and he asked her why. With all sincerity, Lynda replied that she was thinking how it would be like to kiss his lips. Ron felt a little embarrassed but it was that sincerity that captivated him.
1977 found Lynda as a presenter on "The 35th Annual Golden Globe Awards" and guest-starring on one of "The Jacksons" episodes where once again she showed her singing skills on the small screen. On January 10, 1977 she amazed the audiences in the first of "The Circus of the Stars" specials where knives were thrown at her, later on that year she would participate on "The Second Annual Circus of The Stars" were she was riding a horse. Not long after the first of the "Circus of Stars" specials, and beginning on February 2, 1977 she was co-host for a whole week on "The Mike Douglas Show" where she also sang several songs, some of her own composing.
On Sunday, May 28, 1977, 25-year old Lynda married her 35-year old manager Ron Samuels. The wedding was held at George Litt's house, who was Ron's best man and president of Arpeja, a California based company with two line of clothing (Young Edwardian and Organically Grown) for which Lynda made several advertisements during 1977 and 1978. Lynda wore a Victorian-style gown designed by Don Feld, the same designer who made the Wonder Woman costume, and her sister Pam Cole was her maid of honor. With Lynda being Catholic and Ron Jewish, the ceremony was a mixed service conducted by Minister George Abdo. Besides Lynda and Ron's families, Jaclyn Smith and her date Dennis Cole and Liz Torres were among the guests who enjoyed a party with Mariachi music and Mexican food. They went on a honeymoon to Hawaii for only a weekend, after that they were bored and wanted to return home. Then went to live on a $ 1.2 million French-style and 5-bedroom house atop Benedict Canyon, with a swimming-pool, a tennis court, a German shepherd named Regal and a Doberman Pinscher.
Being young, rich and beautiful, soon Lynda and Ron became one of Hollywood's most popular couples, appearing in many magazines features. Samuels was not only her husband but also her manager. When Lynda started the "Wonder Woman" series she earned $3,500 per episode, then as the series became a success, it was $6,000 per episode (even more than the more experienced Lyle Waggoner) but as he did with Lindsay Wagner, Ron Samuels got her a remarkable contract, specially for a young woman. ABC, still not knowing what to do with the series, dropped it and Samuels brokered a deal with the CBS network for a full 22-episode season with a contemporary and renewed setting and an impressive contract for Lynda of $1 million dollars a year. This way she became one of the highest paid actresses of that time. Soon the press was talking about such subjects as love and money and if it was compatible, frequently calling Ron Lynda's Svengali. The Samuels had a reported income of $ 3 million a year appearing on the covers of such magazines like ‘Money’, ‘Emmy’, ‘Footlights’ or ‘US’. Though Lynda was the cover girl of many magazines of that time, she recently said that there was a time when Ron wouldn't allow her to do a magazine cover if he wasn't on it with her.
Lynda was young and she was in love with Ron Samuels, she had a successful career and money but she wasn't really happy. On December 1977 visiting her family in Phoenix and encouraged by her sister Pamela, she became a born-again Christian. Though Lynda had a Roman Catholic upbringing as a child, she never paid too much attention to it. As a grown up she had become interested in several religions, like Buddhism for instance, and also was a special interested in the esoteric in her search for the right way to treat her spiritual life. One of the early press releases of the time said she was the wife of a Pharaoh, an American Indian princess, and a priestess among others in her past lives. Becoming a born-again Christian gave Lynda a refuge to canalize her feeling of unhappiness through religion. Lynda fervently declared her new religious beliefs in every interview and how the Lord helped her cope with fame and success. She was known to give bibles as tips to hotel bellhops instead of money. Though Ron Samuels was a Jew, he wasn't a traditional Jew and accepted Lynda's belief in Jesus Christ, and also accepted in someway that Jesus was the son of God, and a Jewish man too.
Still not fully happy, once again Lynda tried to find refuge in music, like she did when she was a child. She had a recording studio at home and an early MCA recording proposal ended up as record-deal with Epic records, a label company from the CBS Inc. She recorded an album named "Portrait" where she co-wrote three themes: "Fantasy Man" with Candi Siller, "Want To Get Beside You" with Don Dunn and Art Munson, and "Toto (Don't It Feel Like Paradise)" with Bill Cuomo and Ben Siller. Produced by Vini Poncia for "Mad Vincent Productions", the 10-track album was released on late May of 1978, and "All Night Song" was the first single to promote the album. A Billboard ad from June 1978, with the purpose of promoting the launching of the single and the album read: "Nothing Can keep you away from Lynda Carter's 'All Night Song'. Get to Know the real Lynda Carter. Beyond TV's super heroine 'Wonder Woman,' Lynda is making a real name for herself as a more-than-beautiful singer. Her new single, 'All Night Song,' will keep people turned on to radio stations across the country. And within no time at all, it'll bring everyone that much closer to the real Lynda Carter. 'All Night Song,' Lynda Carter's new single from her debut album 'Portrait.' On Epic Records and Tapes."
Though it was released internationally, the album briefly charted, then didn’t do well, mainly because it wasn’t being played on radio stations. Most of the people thought Lynda was just another one of those actresses or actors trying to sing, and ignored the fact that she was a professional singer with a beautiful alto voice, and that she started her career singing. To further her career, Ron Samuels invested $ 200,000 to put her on a Las Vegas show backed with a 26-piece orchestra and a wonderful wardrobe. Beginning on June 14, 1978 Lynda played for seven nights at Denver's "Turn Of The Century" to hone the show for the big premier. Debuting on June 29, 1978 on the famous Caesar's Palace of Las Vegas, Lynda wowed the skeptical press and dazzled them, gaining a lot of positive reviews. Dennis Hunt of the L.A. Times said: "Carter's Vegas debut last week was outstanding. She has a strong fluid voice with an impressive range." Barry Morrison of the Denver Post wrote: "Lynda Carter is a dynamo on stage. What she does is sing and dance and she's dynamite at both." On the other hand The Hollywood Reporter wrote: "Lynda Carter... a Wonder Woman in her Caesars Palace engagement. The crowds love her and the girl is talented." Almost a decade later, after her 1968 debut in the Sahara Hotel in Las Vegas at age 17, Lynda found herself once again in Vegas dazzling record breaking crowds with her name in big bold types on the marquees of famous Caesar's Palace. This time, they let her come in through the casino. Lynda continued with her performances through July 4 and then a second week from August 17 through August 22, 1978. After that Lynda continued with her presentations as a singer for several years throughout the US, even performing in Europe. Everyone was amazed that she proved to be more than a pretty face; she proved to be a talented artist who could be an actress, who could dance, and sing. On July 24, 1978, on her 27th birthday Lynda appeared for the third time as guest on "The Johnny Carson Show".
Having to consider her parallel singing career, Lynda was allowed to reduce her 14 or 15-hours-a-day shooting schedule for "Wonder Woman" to only 10, while a second CBS season began on Friday, September 22, 1978. During that year Lynda made an appearance on "The Tonight Show With Diana Ross" and was a presenter of the "30th Annual Emmy Award". She continued with her singing engagements and in September of 1978 she was awarded with the ‘Helen of Troy’ statuette by the London-based International Academy of Beauty and The British Press Organization, chosen as “The Most Beautiful Woman in the World”.
On Thursday, May 10, 1979 Lynda received the first "CAPPY Award 1978-79" awarded by the "Stunts Unlimited" organization for doing many of her stunts on her "Wonder Woman" series. On July 16, she was once again a guest on "The Johnny Carson Show" for the fourth time. On September 9, 1979 the last episode of "Wonder Woman" was shown on CBS, and the series was not renewed for a third season. There were stories of it’s having poor ratings, and being reworked for a new season, with a new location and co-stars, but nothing ever came of it. Free of the grinding schedule of a television series, Lynda and Ron began to plan for larger entertainment fields to conquer. Though several feature films were discussed, none came to fruition. On November 20 Lynda was once again the guest of "The Mike Douglas Show", this time from Monte Carlo in the Principality of Monaco. Also in 1979 Lynda and Ron bought an 18-acre ranch in California, 40 minutes north west of Los Angeles. With a wonderful view of the Santa Monica Mountains, the ranch house had 3,200 square-feet, with a swimming pool, more than 200 old oak trees, two horses named Jose and Sweet Willie, 3 dogs, 2 cats, and a lot of wild animals.
1980 found Lynda in one of her most active years. She became the spokesperson for Maybelline Cosmetics as Beauty and Fashion Director of the Company and also an exclusive model for their printed ads and TV commercials. The growth income of the company tripled in one year after the appearance of Lynda as their spokesperson. On January 12, Lynda starred on her first variety special for CBS: "Lynda Carter's Variety Special". A couple of weeks later on January 23, she co-hosted with Telly Savalas “The 6th Annual International Circus Festival of Monte Carlo”. On March 14 Lynda appeared as the guest star of the 91st episode of the fourth season of "The Muppet Show" where she showed her singing talent once again. By the beginning of the 1980-81 television season she starred in her second variety special titled "Lynda Carter: Encore" shown on CBS on September 16. Three days after, she started her UK tour in Nottingham's Royal Theatre. She continued for 12 dates closing on October 4 at the prestigious London Palladium to standing room only crowds. On October 12, "The Last Song", her first telefilm in a lead-role, premiered on CBS on Thursday, October 23, 1980. On October 27, she traveled to the Mexican capital to attend the "22nd Annual Ariel Award" where she was awarded as "International Entertainer of the Year". Also on October Lynda organized the first $100,000 all pro Lynda Carter/Maybelline Tennis Classic at Deer Creek, Florida. That same year Lynda received the "Gold Poster Award 1980" for the best selling poster of Pro Arts Inc. By the end of the year on December 3, Lynda was a guest of the "Dick Emery Hour" on the British ITV network.
On February 1, 1981 Lynda was a presenter of the "38th Annual Golden Globes Award"; the very next day she appeared as host of "The Midnight Special" where she performed as a singer too. On February 15, she was one of the beautiful women featured on the NBC special titled "Women Who Rate A 10". On May 11, her third variety special premiered on CBS earning one Emmy Award out of two nominations. On November 2, her second telefilm titled "Born To be Sold" premiered on NBC. But by the end of the year Lynda realized she'd been living in a marriage for some time based on her career. Having a feeling for the past few years of not being loved for anything but her performing abilities, and not being able to be her own person, not even able to have her own friends, Lynda decided to separate from Ron Samuels, and later filed for divorce alleging "irreconcilable differences."
On March 5, 1982 "Street Life" her fourth variety special was aired on CBS. On March 8, she appeared as one of the guests of another variety show entitled "The Night of the 100 Stars". In June the divorce from Ron Samuels was final. Lynda recently declared: "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." On September Lynda participated on Bob Hope's Special "Bob Hope Buys NBC", the same Bob Hope that crowned her as Miss World-USA. On October 16, Lynda starred on her third telefilm titled "Hotline". On October 18 she appeared as a guest on "The Johnny Carson Show" for the fifth time.
On April 14, 1983 the Hispanic Women's Council of Los Angeles Inc. awarded her the "Hispanic Woman of the Year" for her "success as a business woman and her image as a woman of consciousness". On May 23 she appeared on the NBC special "Happy Birthday Bob Hope". On June 1983, one year after her divorce from Ron Samuels, having sworn off men for the immediate future, fate intervened. Lynda met the man who would be her second husband and the most important man in her life, Washington DC lawyer Robert Altman. They met at a business dinner in Memphis, Tennessee, where both were visiting Maybelline's Headquarters. The company was a subsidiary company of the Schering-Plough Corporation, one of the clients of the Clifford & Warnke law firm for which Altman worked. He knew of Lynda but he claimed he never saw the "Wonder Woman" series before. The attraction for both was immediate. The next time he visited Lynda in Florida at her Tennis Tournament and they started dating. On November 2, she starred on her fourth telefilm, based on Rita Hayworth's life and John Kobal’s book “Rita Hayworth: The Time, the Place and the Woman”. The film was much criticized for it’s liberties with the life of the famous actress, but for Lynda, who like Rita was part Hispanic, it was a real challenge and one of her most compromised interpretations up to those days. Lynda wore brown contact lenses, a first, and dyed part of her beautiful dark brown hair bright red. Meanwhile she continued with her presentations as a singer in Las Vegas, Reno, Atlantic City, Lake Tahoe or the Sporting Club of Monte Carlo. It was then that Robert flew to Paris and then on to Monte Carlo to the Hotel De Paris where she was staying and asked her for marriage.
18 months after they met, on Sunday, January 29, 1984 Lynda married Robert Altman at the Bel-Air Bay Club in Pacific Palisades, California. Lynda was dressed in a beautiful and sophisticated gown designed by Bob Mackie, and Clark Clifford, Robert's boss, was his best man. Among the guests were Ed McMahon, Barbara Mandrell, Loni Anderson, Valerie Harper, Sharon Gless, Deborah Raffin and Agha Hasan Abedi who gave her a Jaguar sports car as a wedding present. They went to the ski-slopes of Deer Valley, Utah, for their honeymoon. It was there that she fell down the mountain and was rescued by Blaine Trump who became her friend. After that, Lynda and Robert divided their lives between Washington and Los Angeles. On March 16, her last television special titled "Body and Soul" was broadcast on CBS. On April she started working a new series with her friend Loni Anderson. The series was titled "Partners In Crime" and was shot in location in San Francisco. The series went through several production delays and rumours of fights between the two stars began to spread in the press. The truth was that Loni was going through some problems with an ill mother, and Lynda who was recently married, felt it was difficult for her, but they were friends, and more than ever they relied on each other. They flew back every weekend to Los Angeles where Lynda would meet with Robert Altman. After the pilot, Leonard Stern, creator of the series, was fired from the show and the whole production went into a mess. NBC ordered only 13 episodes, but put it in a late Saturday night timeslot and of course it didn't worked as expected, ending the shooting of the series by November. The series premiered on Saturday, September 22, with the episode "Celebrity" which had Vanessa Williams as a guest-star. The pilot was broadcast fourth in order and by Saturday, December 28, 1984 the network broadcast "Double Jeopardy", the last episode of the series which was finally cancelled. Lynda and Loni had had the intention to work together for a long time and the series, which was a production of the Carson Production Company, was supposed to be the perfect vehicle for both stars. Despite the fact that the series was at first well written, the major changes and other aspects made it impossible to be success, and by the time it was cancelled both felt it was better this way.
In 1985 Lynda decided to sell her ranch in California and move to Washington for good. They bought a property in Potomac, Maryland with a 20,000 square-foot Georgian house with six landscaped acres of land, complete with a swimming-pool, a tennis court, 16 bathrooms and a decorative waterfall. Busy as ever, beginning on June 6 she performed 7 nights at Harrah's in Reno, Nevada. On September 17, by the beginning of the 1985-86 television season she appeared on the "Bob Hope Buys NBC" special. She started the new year performing for another week at Harrah's in Reno starting on January 9, 1986. That same year she produced her video "Lynda Carter: Secrets To The Perfect Makeup" with beauty tips on makeup. On February 10, 1987, Lynda’s fifth telefilm “Stillwatch” premiered on NBC. On April 10, 1987 she performed again at Harrah's in Lake Tahoe. On April 19, 1987 she appeared on the "Bob Hope and His Easter Bunnies and Other Friends" special for NBC. Not long after that, she became pregnant with her first child, a son, which she delivered at Children’s Hospital in Washington, DC on January 14, 1988, naming him James Clifford Altman. With becoming a mother, she gave up on her shows as a singer and went into semi-retirement to dedicate her life to her family, only doing telefilms from time to time.
On May 21, 1989 Lynda co-starred in the TV-movie “Mike Hammer: Murder Takes All" where she played a baddie for the first time in her career. She also was a contestant in a game show called “Win, Lose or Draw” in Florida with her friend Loni Anderson and her husband, Burt Reynolds. Meanwhile, since she moved to Washington she became the center of attention in a city that is not accustomed to Hollywood stars. But she was accepted by the Washington elite when she involved herself in many charitable causes related to children and women’s health, most notably with the Susan G. Komen Foundation for Breast Cancer Research and Education. By the beginning of 1990 she was pregnant with her second child, and on October 7 she gave birth to a daughter named Jessica Carter Altman. She had to spend the last three months of her second pregnancy in bed because of a delicate pregnancy, but fortunately everything went fine. On May 16, she and Marilyn Quayle testified before the House Subcommittee on Health and Long Term Care on the need for more money for breast cancer research. But being a Washington wife had its’ dark side, just like Hollywood.
In June 1991 her husband, Robert Altman, who had an ascending career as a Washington lawyer, was indicted in the BCCI banking investigation for fraud. On September 11, 1991 the government officially accused Clark Clifford and his partner Robert Altman of a multimillion dollar fraud involving the BBCI (Bank of Credit and Commerce International) and First American Bank, of which both were stockholders. Though worried about the outcome, Lynda continued with reviving her dormant career, and on October 23, she starred in a highly successful NBC TV-movie based on a Danielle Steele book and produced by Doug Cramer, the executive producer of the "Wonder Woman" series. Co-starring with Patrick Duffy and titled "Danielle Steele's Daddy" the telefilm narrated the story of an actress who gave up her career for the love of a man. 12 years after working with Lynda on the "Wonder Woman" series Cramer declared that he found a more matured and happier woman, and definitively a better actress. On November 5, Lynda co-starred in another successful movie based on a true story of three women who posed for the Playboy magazine: "Posing: Inspired By Three Real Stories".
On March 30, 1993 the BCCI trial opened in New York City, and Lynda attended the hearings everyday, sitting behind Robert with his family to give him support. The case told by the New York prosecutor was on shaky ground from the beginning, and after a four month trial costing many millions of dollars, Altman, who was acting as his own lawyer, presented a five minute argument, and the jury found for the defense. By the end of the trial, the court declared Robert Altman not guilty, and though many were hoping the marriage wouldn't last, Lynda stood by her man and family in the worst trial she had to confront in her life. Going on with her acting, her second feature film "Lightning in A Bottle" premiered in Peoria Il. Then she went to Canada to co-star with Lee Horsley in her third series, a syndicated version of “The Last of the Mohicans” called "Hawkeye", produced by the Stephen J. Cannell Production company. Her husband and children often went to visit her on location and though she kept in touch with them everyday it was hard for her to be away from her family. By the end of the season she decided not to renew her contract for another season. On March 6, 1995 she received the Pinnacle Award For Volunteerism, awarded by the Unihealth Organization. On April 28, 1996 she had a strong role on the TV movie “She Woke Up Pregnant” on NBC as a single parent with a bulimic daughter. On July 1996 Lynda began filming the CBS TV movie “LaVyrle Spencer’s Family Blessings” in Anoka, Canada, a film narrating the story on a woman in her forties who falls in love with her late son's best friend. On April 2, 1997 “A Prayer in the Dark” premiered on the USA Network where Lynda played a Quaker woman whose life turned into hell when a young man she helped in the past takes her family hostage. On September 14, 1998 Lynda starred in "Someone to Love Me" a "Moment of Truth" telefilm about date rape. On February 3, 1999 "Family Blessings" was broadcast on CBS. Later that year on October 6, she guest-starred as herself in the short lived series "Work With Me". Later that year on October 6, she guest-starred as herself in the short lived series "Work With Me".
During most of the nineties and the beginning of the new century, Lynda appeared in printed ads and TV commercials as spokesperson for Lens Express, the nation's largest optical care service by mail. With the growth of the internet and the appearance of several internet sites dedicated to her and her "Wonder Woman" series, her image has revived and initiated a series of events which has her as the epicenter. With the successful release of the "Wonder Woman" series by Columbia House, several interviews, and whether hosting such shows as "I Love the 70's" in the UK or appearing as a guest star on several talk shows, looking not a year older than her last appearance on the "Wonder Woman" series, Lynda is shown to be still a popular actress with the public, especially her fans. Undoubtedly this renewed interest on her image had its peak with the broadcast of Lifetime's "Intimate Portrait" on July 31, 2000. Meanwhile Lynda keeps herself involved in a lot of charitable causes and makes a film from time to time, but most important she's completely dedicated to her loving family which is the most important achievement in her life. With the "Wonder Woman" series still shown in many countries around the world, and remaining a strong icon of the American culture, her fans still have the chance to enjoy her presence from time to time, and to be a strong example to many for her life achievements. She overcame the stigma of being a beauty queen to become an unforgettable popular icon as "Wonder Woman", a character which she imbued with life and a unique personification. She proved herself to be a talented artist which could act, sing and dance with skill, but the most important thing is that she proved to many that beyond all the glitter of the star, there's a wonderful and remarkable woman inside.
For further details you can refer to the "NEWS + FACTS" section of this site, the "TIMELINE by Mark Meader" or other sections within this biography or the site for specific information on her work.
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