Young Lynda Carter: 1970s Through Today

By Karen Harris
Lynda Carter and Lyle Waggoner in a publicity photo for the pilot of 'The New Original Wonder Woman.' Photo by Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archives/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

Famed as the 1970s TV incarnation of Wonder Woman, young Lynda Carter became the feminine ideal for the three seasons (1976-1979) her show aired. As TV's first female superhero, she was an inspiration to women and girls, while her beauty-queen looks (she'd been Miss World USA) and snug star-spangled costume kept teenage boys and their fathers tuning in. This combination of strength, bravery and sex appeal made Lynda Carter's Wonder Woman the definitive screen version of the character. Consider Gal Gadot, Wonder Woman in the DC superhero films being produced today (notably Wonder Woman and Justice League) -- she plays a stunning, strong, and funny Wonder Woman. Young Gal Gadot is a wonderful Wonder Woman -- but she'll never be a young Lynda Carter. Carter will forever own the character, much like the late Christopher Reeve will always be the Man of Steel for those of us who can recall seeing his Superman films in the movie theater. 

Although Carter later claimed that she landed the role of the legendary girl-power superhero in part because she looked like the comic book drawings of her, she lit up the small screen with her beauty, figure, youth, and her portrayal of the demure Diana Prince. 

When the show ended in 1979, some worried that such massive success in her youth might limit her prospects -- would Lynda Carter would be so closely linked with Wonder Woman that she wouldn't be given the chance to play other roles? But Lynda Carter showed them that there was life after Wonder Woman and that her sexy star was not going to fade.