The character had existed for more than 30 years, but when the unknown
actress donned the famous star-spangled outfir for the 1975 show, all
of a sudden the super heroine's visibility grew exponentially.
Wonder Woman appearing in a comic book was a pleasing visual. However, seeing Lynda, a sexy real-life woman on the screen wearing the trademark costume with calve-high boots was a real adrenaline kick.
Males of all ages who'd never bought a comic book became infatuated
with Lynda and tuned in every week to watch the Amazon princess do
her part to save the world.
The azure-eyed, six-foot brunette with Mexican heritage, porcelain
skin and long legs was unlike any woman on TV in the 1970s.
Lynda told TV interviewer Mary Hart that she felt she was "destined" to play Wonder Woman. "I think there was a cosmic reason because of the way everything fell together. I tried out for the part the first time and never got a call back. Cathy Lee Crosy did it and it was the wrong costume, the wrong hair color. It just wasn't done well.".
Lynda was a struggling Hollywood actress still taking acting classes and had worked only a few one-day gigs when she auditioned for "Wonder Woman" the secone time, and she was considering returning home to Arizona at the time. She looked around the auditioning room and saw Farrah Fawcett and Jaclyn Smith among the actresses vying to be Wonder Woman.
"I put myself on the line in how I thought that she should be played. I didn't have any experience and the network didn't want to take a chance, but the producer (Doug Crame) said, 'This is the only person who can play her.' He went out on a limb for me."
"I had $25 in my bank account, and I'll never forget I was in my bedroom when I got the call from my agent: 'Hello, Wonder Woman.'"
The show was light-hearted and Lynda's Wonder Woman was mostly true to the original comic book. Lynda said she "didn't make a caricature out of Wonder Woman. I made her real."
In the comics Diana Prince was a nurse but on the TV show she was a Naval petty officer.
The other big change from the comics was the introduction of an explosion effect. Diana's twirling transformation into the super heroine.
Lyle Wagonner played Wonder Woman's friend and co-hort, pilot Major Steve Trevor, but unlike the comic book series, the two were friends without any sexual tension.
Once tabbed the "World's Most Beautiful Woman," Lynda was never comfortable with her image as a sex symbol. She told US magazine that she never intended to be a sexual object for anyone but her husband.
She agreed to release a sexy photo that sold more than a million posters, but later complained to NBC, "(Someone) having that picture up in his bedroom... I think would be hard for anyone to deal with. I never thought a picture of my body would be tacked up in men bathrooms. I hate men looking at me and thinking what they
think. And I know what they think. They write and tell me."
Lynda's sister encouraged her to enter the Miss Arizona USA contest. Although she agreed only to gain exposure for her singing career, she won that pageant and then captured the Miss World USA contest in 1972.
Before she snagged the "Wonder Woman" role, she appeared in only a few TV shows, "Nakia," "Matt Helm," and "Starsky and Hutch."
After “Wonder Woman's” five year run, Lynda appeared in several made for TV movies and TV specials. She starred in a detective series. “Partners in Crime,” with Loni Anderson in 1984, but that show was canceled after 13 episodes.
Lynda told Mary Hart she then “realized how incredible it was that the first series I ever tried was as big a hit as "Wonder Woman."
A Phoenix native, Lynda was actually a fan of the Wonder Woman comics. She began signing professionally at age 14 -- and continues today as a performing vocalist -- but after she began acting she downplayed her singing talent because she was told that producers wanted actors, "not singers who want to act."
Classic TV Beauties 1970s Countdown
LYNDA CARTER as Wonder Woman in "Wonder Woman"