Lynda Carter sheds ‘Wonder Woman’ image (1980)

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Carter sheds ‘Wonder Woman’ image

By Vernon Scott

Lynda Carter sheds her “Wonder Woman” image in a TV special of her own tonight to prove she’s a lot sexier out of that brief, patriotic costume than in it.

Lynda sings, dances and gets folksy with her audience in the CBS musical special.

She’s more than just another stunning beauty. A professional singer since she was 15, Lynda has a clear, strong voice and an easy presence on stage. The tall (almost 6 feet), slender Carter lives up to the rave reviews she received a year and a half ago in her nightclub debut at Las Vegas’ Caesars Palace hotel.

Lynda is a long-legged (as acknowledged by all who saw her in the red, white and blue Wonder Woman threads), gorgeous brunette with enormous blue eyes and other clear and present assets. Wonder Woman was a sterile sort of figure — despite her scanty duds — along the lines of Superman. She was a virtuous soul above and beyond romantic entanglements or any hint of sex appeal. A cartoon.

Lynda, on stage gyrating to throbbing music, is quite another matter. She’s a flesh-and-blood siren who some have dubbed the sex symbol of the 1980s. And why not? Two years ago the London-based International Academy of Beauty voted her the most beautiful woman in the world. As a teenager she won the 1973 Miss World-USA title.

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Establish talent

A native of Arizona and a born-again Christian, Lynda and her husband-manager Ron Samuels cautiously endorse the possibility that she may indeed succeed the likes of Raquel Welch and Farrah Fawcett in the coming decade.

As was the case with her predecessors, however, Lynda is more anxious to establish her talent than to accentuate her obvious natural endowments. Sexless Wonder Woman did not sing or dance. Nor was the role as dramatically taxing as it was demanding on Lynda physically.

“Wonder Woman was soft and feminine in her own way,” Lynda said. “I tried to give her a sense of humor and vulnerability. I’m a lot more vulnerable than she ever was, that’s for sure. “But I don’t want anyone to think I’m trying to get away from the Wonder Woman image completely. Without her I wouldn’t be doing this special. I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to star at Caesars Palace.

Normal as possible

“She may not have been a really believable character, but at least Wonder Woman didn’t wear a mask like Batman. My attitude was that she couldn’t help what she was, and I tried to make her behave as a normal person despite her special powers.

“Almost every actress who stays in a series for any length of time must expect the public to relate her to the character she plays. But it also leads people to accept you in other areas of show business. “Wonder Woman was restricting and limiting, of course. I played her in 60 episodes, on and off, for five years. Now I want to be accepted as a singer and actress in TV and movies.”

Lynda’s affection for Wonder Woman will be immediately apparent to viewers who tune in her show Jan. 12. The gal in the snug red, white and blue outfit and golden tiara introduces Lynda to open the special.

It may be the last time Lynda dons the costume.

Career is structured

Her next project is “The Last Song,” a CBS-TV movie in which she plays a recording star involved in a mystery with an ecological background. This summer she will star in “The Shroud,” a dramatic feature film, which Samuels will produce.

Samuels has left little to chance. He painstakingly has structured his wife’s career, isolating her from the vagaries of agents, producers and other manipulators. “Ron and I discuss all my career moves,” Lynda said. “I usually stick to the creative elements. He handles all the business arrangements. As a performer, I’m not exactly objective about my career, so I generally defer to his judgment.

“Ron is highly organized and able. I’m not at the mercy of agents. I don’t sit around waiting for something to happen. Ron makes things happen.

“We don’t go out much. We haven’t got a big social life. I try to keep isolated to keep my feet on the ground — to separate Lynda Carter the performer from Lynda Carter the person.

“So far it’s worked out very well for us, personally and professionally.”

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