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Before Current Wonder Woman Movie, Lynda Carter Twirled a Generation in the Star Spangled Tights

Music Career brings Lynda Carter to BB Kings NY

The new Wonder Woman Movie upon us, we know Lynda Carter as the 1970s version, and the star spangled outfit likely resulted in its share of supernovas long before the Big Bang Theory cornered the market on superhero worship and angst among longing teenage boys. But the Arizona born actress had a career before and after we invited her into our homes every week from 1975-1979, and an upcoming appearance at B.B. Kings NY on October 12th is just another day in the life.

“I’ve never been there so it’s very exciting,” said Carter.

In accompaniment, she brings a justice league of musical sorts to ensure the audience feels the same way. “They’re all studio players with a lot of blues and jazz experience. My drummer Paul Leim has been nominated Country Music Drummer of the year a whole bunch of times, keyboard player Shane Keister has been nominated for three Grammies and Lou Marini has played sax all over the world,” she says.

The credentials don’t give her pause to wonder whether she can fill the billing above her top notch bandmates, though. “It’s much more about feeling really comfortable because the caliber of the musicians makes things beautiful. You never have to think about anything, but what you are doing. So I’m just wildly appreciative, and I’ve got one of the best bands in the country,” says the 70’s icon.

Love Begins at Home

But her introduction and love of music was mostly down home. “My mom used to play a lot of old jute joint type of music. That’s old blues, St Louis music – you done me wrong kind of stuff. Otherwise, there was a big country influence growing up in Arizona and the blues followed,” she said.

The home front would give way at a very early age. “I started signing professionally when I was 14 as the girl singer in a number of bands,” said Carter. 

Minus the cap and tights, she still put in the frequent flier mileage. “I traveled the U.S. playing Vegas lounges, the Catskills, and it seems like everywhere else. Eventually I moved to L.A., did some studio work, jingles – those kinds of things,” she said. 

Joining Community of DC Comics Heroes Boosts Music Career

Her first love unfortunately ran afoul of the fight plan that eventually landed her in front of us. “You couldn’t really tell people you were a singer when you’re trying to be an actor,” she said.

Still, fame gave her the best of both world’s “After I got DC Comics Wonder Woman, someone heard me singing in Vegas, and I went on to five specials on CBS and signed several record deals,” said Carter.

As it were, the TV superhero’s music career got grounded in a manner that mere mortals could definitely relate to. “I left the road when I got pregnant with my son. To be on the road all the time, it’s no way to raise a family,” she reasoned.

Empty Nest Syndrome Puts her back on the Road

Her eventual return falls under the same category. “In 2005, my son was starting to talk about college and I was like owww. So I put out some feelers to see what was out there,” said Carter.

Then the work began. “I said to myself, I guess I better get going because it’s a huge undertaking to put a show together and get yourself back,” Carter reflected.

And her cohorts are happily on call in the process. “I sort of decide, yeah I’d like to try this song. I’ll give one of them a call, we’ll get a key on it, and then we get together for rehearsal,” she said.

At the same time, they’ll be a few originals in play, while bringing down the curtain means more than just singing into the mic and hoping the sounds stick. “We try not to make it an inside set where we just get up there and you get to watch us. There’s an attempt to really communicate with the audience, and we talk about whatever pops up in the moment,” said the singer.

Of course everyone knows where she comes from, but she keeps the twirls to a minimum. “I can’t really do anything Wonder Womany, but certainly do talk about it and a zillion other things, but that’s the one thing everybody remembers,” she accepts.

No Regrets Playing Wonder Woman

Lynda Carter statue at DC booth, San Diego Comic-Con International. Photo by Loren Javier 

As for pondering the prospects and pitfalls of taking on the DC Comics role that made her a weekly fixture, there isn't much to recall. "I didn't consider anything," she said. "You have to realize that at the time, there were no roles for attractive young women except to play someone’s girlfriend, someone’s mother or a hooker. Here was a chance to carry a series on your own and play two parts at once," said Carter.

Of course, she was certainly aware of how the role might straddle her afterwards. "People did say, you will be typecast forever, and I said, well it’s now. I’m not going to worry about that. I’m going to do the work, which I was thrilled to do and would have paid them to let me do it," said Carter

The long view was correct, but the outcome still left her short on any regrets. "Very few actors have a role that’s so pivotal in their career, and she still is an iconic figure that will live way past me," she said.

In the interim, she at a bit of a loss as to why a wonder woman movie or tv show has yet to take flight. "They’re always talking it. A few years ago, there was talk at NBC, and I heard they wanted to portray her sort of mean. I didn’t want her to be mean, but I have no idea. I can’t figure out why it hasn’t come back," she says.

Whether or not the twirl returns, Lynda Carter certainly proves that you can't keep a good woman down - no matter the hat or get up she chooses.

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Before Current Wonder Woman Movie, Lynda Carter Twirled a Generation in the Star Spangled Tights
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