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Lynda Carter: Wonder Woman Then and Now

Icons | August 1, 2018

Written by Rebeka Knott

Lynda Carter stars in the CBS television series " Wonder Woman." Image date 1978. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)

For superhero fans in the '70s, both men and women, Lynda Carter's Wonder Woman is the ideal, the gold standard. Christopher Reeve's Superman was excellent, Lou Ferrigno's Hulk wasn't bad at all, but Diana Prince as played by Lynda Carter stands out not only as a heroic star but also a role model for young girls who'd never seen a lady kick so much ass on TV. Beginning in 1975, Wonder Woman was a phenomenon, a hit show with a lead role that was perfectly cast.

At least, they got it right the second time around. Did you know that the Wonder Woman show we all love grew out of a made-for-TV movie that didn't star Lynda Carter? The 1974 TV movie Wonder Woman had Cathy Lee Crosby in the title role.

Young Lynda Carter Gained Attention For Being Tall And Lanky

Lynda Carter Portrait Session LOS ANGELES - CIRCA 1985: Actress Lynda Carter poses for a portrait circa 1985 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry Langdon/Getty Images)

It’s hard to believe that a woman as beautiful, sexy, and successful as Lynda Carter didn’t always have the world by the tail. How is it possible that Wonder Woman herself ever didn't get everything she wanted? It is true enough that her career got off to an early start at the age of 5 with a brief spot on Lew King’s Talent Show. Although her performance was not necessarily something to write home about, it got her noticed. What does she look like now? You'll find out momentarily, but first, let's take a look back at Wonder Woman's glory days.

Young Lynda Carter was a standout in the crowd; not for being especially beautiful and talented but for being “tall and lanky.”

Maybe She Should Have Played Tight End

Although her statuesque frame and stunning chestnut hair would soon become her trademarks, she didn't always consider them assets, believe it or not. As we can see from photos like the one above, she was always a knockout, but she was merciless teased about her appearance. Carter always had dark hair and was quite noticeably taller and thinner than her friends and peers as a child. For this reason, she was taunted by being called, “Olive Oyl,” a character in the cartoon, Popeye. Carter especially stood out among her friends as most of them were on the shorter side with blonde or very light hair. Sadly, she didn’t make the cheerleading cut in high school because she “towered over everyone else.” If only they had known.

"I was taller than all the boys except the tackles on the football team," Carter told TV Guide.

In an effort to find her niche, Carter turned her attention to music and began singing. She initially landed a job singing at a local pizza joint for a whopping $25 per week. Luckily, she was successful enough to join a small-time band which led to other opportunities.

Radar O'Reilly Is Wonder Woman's Cousin

Lynda Carter is the cousin of Gary Burghoff, who played Radar on M*A*S*H. How could those two possibly share genes? The cousins were musically inclined -- Carter as a singer and Burghoff on drums, despite a deformity that affected three fingers on his left hand.

Ladies And Gentlemen, Welcome To The Stage... The Relatives

After a brief stint in a musical act called Just Us, Carter joined Burghoff and another cousin in a group dubbed The Relatives. They played some gigs in Las Vegas and were actually pretty entertaining. Carter attended Arizona State for a time, but the lure of an entertainment career persisted. She dropped out and in 1970 joined a group called The Garfin Gathering, playing casinos around the state of Nevada. By 1972, she had decided to change course again, and went home to Arizona with plans of moving into acting.

(Rest of the photos on next slide)

Tags: Celebrities When They Were Young | Lynda Carter | The 1970s | Then And Now | Wonder Woman

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Rebeka Knott

Writer

Rebeka grew up in the 1960’s & 1970’s and has always subscribed to the theory that a positive attitude will take you far! She is a wife and mother of 3 with a fun-loving spirit, believing that family and relationships are invaluable.