What would you say if we told you that our celebrity on the cover this issue has already gone through 3 careers in her lifetime? Yes, it’s true. She is an actress who, while playing many parts, became famous as the superhero, Wonder Woman, a mother raising her family, and now a singer with 2 CDs on the market and a third one ready to be released.
Lynda Carter was born in Phoenix, Arizona as Linda Jean Cordova Carter. She carries the last name of her mother, Juana Cordova, whose roots go back to the city of Chihuahua in Mexico. Her grandmother used to tell her, “that’s where beautiful women come from.” Her father, Colby Carter was an art dealer of Irish descent. Lynda started her singing career in high school where she was a member of several bands. In 1972, she won the title of Miss World USA and finished in the semifinals of the Miss World pageant. Her first CD, “Portrait” was released in 1978. She then took a break for 30 years prior to releasing her next CD, “At Last” in 2009. During that break, Lynda played the role of Wonder Woman on television and raised her family. Once again, she has gone back to her roots as a singer. Her new CD ‘Crazy Little Things’ will be released in April 2011. For information on purchasing the CD and her touring dates please go to www.lyndacarter.com.
55+: You are in terrific shape and you look great…. What is the secret to staying healthy?
LC: I went back to singing since I took a hiatus to raise my family. I grew up in a family where we were always active and playing games and being outside. We always tried to eat healthy. My mother used to work out with Jack Lalanne, who just recently passed away. I give credit to my father and my mother for instilling these things in us. My father was a college athlete as were my sister and my brother. My husband and I love skiing and when we’re not doing that, we try to do something active every day.
55+: It is public knowledge that you battled with alcohol issues and in 2008 you went to a rehab. Can you tell us about that?
LC: It was reported incorrectly that this happened in 2008. It was in 1997 when I had some issues with alcohol and went to Father Martin’s Ashley Rehab Center in Maryland. I am now on the Board of Directors of that facility. I help raise money so that those who cannot afford it can get into recovery. I have travelled around the country and have spoken to a lot of different groups about these issues.
55+: What motivated you to seek treatment?
LC: I did not start drinking until I was in my twenties. I have a genetic predisposition to it and I drank for the same reason that most people did. Then I found myself in a situation where I started to use alcohol to deal with emotional issues. When you begin to use it as a way to cope, the consequences are not very good. It took a while for me to realize this. I had one beer and then I needed to have another one and then another. I realized it was AGAINST MY WILL. I am a strong person. Whatever I set my mind to do, I do it. But that does not work with addiction. My mother’s side of the family had some issues with this and one family member died of alcoholism. I learned about my disease and I realized that my husband and my family were more important. Plus, I was disappointed in myself. It was shameful and embarrassing. I knew that I had to do something. My husband helped me to come to terms with the fact that I needed help.
55+: Moving on to your music, your last CD.. “AT LAST” was launched in 2009 with great reviews. The CD was produced in LA and you added more production in Nashville….can you tell us about that?
LC: I started singing again and I was not happy with the way it came out. I wanted more of an open feeling to it. Through a series of coincidences, I hooked up with John Carter Cash, Johnny Cash’s son and he produced about half of the album. Then, Grammy winning producer/engineer, Karl Lenny took it apart and remixed it, using pieces of both recordings from LA and Nashville. I just completed a new CD that we are trying to have ready for release soon. The CD is out of Nashville now. It is not country, but there certainly are some overtones. There is an openness to it that gives it a very different feel. The band on the CD is one that I have been working with for the last 3 years. It’s quite different from the last one and I am really happy with it.
55+: During an interview you mentioned that you enjoy doing music that is inclusive rather than exclusive. What does that mean?
LC: That was taken a little bit out of context. It is the way I personally perform when I am in front of a live audience. Often times, when you see people perform, there is almost a veil between them and the audience. They don’t reach out to the audience. I think of myself as a story teller. I like to communicate with my audience. There is always a reason why I am doing a particular song. I re-imagine the songs, even though they are not new songs. I write some of my own, but most are songs that have been re-imagined. They are sung a little differently with my own take on it. For the time that I spend on the earth, I have been put in place to express some part of myself through the music.
55+: You have been quoted as saying, your “biggest strength is in performing.” Can you explain a little about that?
LC: It is satisfying. I also love recording, but performing in front of a live audience gives you that immediate feedback… that ‘nowness.’ It’s exciting that people have taken their time to come out to see you and be with you. It is a very cool thing.
55+: You are very well known for the Wonder Woman role… worldwide. This has endeared you to many people and made you a role model for many young girls in the 70s.
LC: I love to hear that! I think that Wonder Woman was strong and smart and positive. Women loved her personality….. behave yourself, be nice, tell the truth or I am going to ‘kick your butt’ kind of thing. Just don’t come into my world and start doing bad things. The first couple of episodes she was ‘dumbing herself down’ and I completely changed that. It was ridiculous that nobody knew who she was, but that was the premise of the show. We should all realize that there are many facets to our personalities, and if we take that for granted, we will learn a lot more about ourselves through our alter ego.
55+: That really empowered many girls at that time……
LC: It did, and in some ways, what I am doing now is the same. Your life is not over when your kids leave home. You should pick yourself up and decide what it is that you want to do and get creative. Do a little bit of something for you every day in terms of exercise and taking care of yourself. Laugh a lot and give to others. I think that some of the best times of my life have been when I was able to extend a helping hand to other people.
55+: I read somewhere that there may be a ‘come back’ for Wonder Woman….. maybe in the fall?
LC: I don’t know if it will be in the fall. I just hope it gets redone and someone takes a chance on it. I hope they do, I really do.
55+: Anyone in mind to play the role?
LC: I get asked that question a lot. I do not know, but it has to be someone who kind of has a sense of themselves. You cannot just ‘play’ Wonder Woman.
55+: You were awarded “Best Local Hero” by the WASHINGTON BLADE Magazine in DC… can you comment on that?
LC: Yes, I am also going to be the Grand Marshall at the Gay Pride Parade in Phoenix. I am very supportive of civil rights. I have strong feelings concerning issues in the Gay and Lesbian community. I was raised Catholic, and once again, that has nothing to do with anybody but themselves. I never met a gay person who did not know that they were different from the time they were small. I cannot make myself short and gay people cannot make themselves ‘un-gay’. That’s just the way it is. I would have to cut off my legs in order to be a short person. I know that doesn’t square with a lot of people, but that’s ok because I believe in civil rights. Certainly in the Hispanic community, we have all felt it. I personally have felt it when people learned that I am half- Hispanic. I have heard certain comments made. Some of my relatives are darker skinned than I am, and I have seen prejudice there. I know what it is. I am in defense of their civil rights as well.
55+: One last question. Do you think that politicians should be using the ‘lasso of truth?’
LC: (she laughs) Living in Washington, it would be a really neat thing. Boy, I think it might change the political climate a bit if we could use the ‘lasso of truth’ on politicians during public debates.
55+: On behalf of all of our readers, 55+ Magazine thanks you for spending time with us. It was a pleasure.
LC: Thank you, and the pleasure was mine.
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