Lynda Jean Carter (born July 24, 1951) is an American actress and singer, best known for being Miss World USA 1972 and as the star of the 1970s television series The New Original Wonder Woman (1975–77) and The New Adventures of Wonder Woman (1977–79).
Carter was born in Phoenix, Arizona, her father, Colby Carter, is an art dealer and her mother, Juana Córdova. She went to Arcadia High School in Phoenix and Kachina Elementary School in Scottsdale, Arizona. In 1972, Carter entered a local beauty contest and gained national attention in the United States by winning Miss World USA, representing Arizona; in the international 1972 Miss World pageant, representing the U.S., she reached the semi-finals.
After taking acting classes at several New York acting schools, she began making appearances on such TV shows as Starsky and Hutch, Cos, and Nakia and in “B-movies,” including her only nude appearance, in Bobbie Jo and the Outlaw (1976).
Carter’s acting career took off when she landed the starring role in The New Adventures of Wonder Woman as Wonder Woman and her alter ego Diana Prince. The savings her parents had set aside for her to pursue acting in Los Angeles were almost depleted, and Carter was close to returning to Arizona when her manager informed her that she had won the part. Her earnest performance endeared her to fans and critics, and the series lasted three seasons. Thirty years after first taking on the role, Carter continues to be closely identified with Wonder Woman.
As the program was winding down, Carter told US magazine:
“I never meant to be a sexual object for anyone but my husband. I never thought a picture of my body would be tacked up in men’s bathrooms. I hate men looking at me and thinking what they think. And I know what they think. They write and tell me.”
In 1985, DC Comics named Carter as one of the honorees in the company’s 50th anniversary publication Fifty Who Made DC Great for her work on the Wonder Woman series. In 2007, toy company DC Direct released a 13″ full-figure statue of Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman, limited to 5,000 pieces; it was re-released in 2010. Also in 2010, DC Direct began selling a 5½-inch bust of Carter’s rendition of Wonder Woman to celebrate the DC Comics’ 75th anniversary.
Carter’s other credits include the title role in a biopic of actress Rita Hayworth, titled Rita Hayworth, Love Goddess (1983) and a variety of her own TV specials: Lynda Carter’s Special (1980), Encore! (1980), Celebration (1981), Street Life (1982), and Body And Soul (1984). Throughout the 1990s, Carter appeared in a string of tv movies that resulted in a resurgence in television appearances. Also, because of the re-syndication of Wonder Woman on such cable networks as FX and SyFy, Carter even participated in two scheduled on-line chat sessions with fans.