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TV's 'Wonder Woman' Lynda Carter Debuts New Cabaret Show in SF

Every generation has icons. For gays my age -- born in the '70s -- few left a more indelible mark than Lynda Carter.

Each week I sat in front of my television, transfixed by Lynda's beauty. With baited breath I awaited the moment mild-mannered Diana Prince would do her magic spin and, in one swift, glamorous explosion, transform into her secret identity: Wonder Woman. 

Lynda recently revved up the invisible plane once again, landing March 22-25 in San Francisco. Before taking it on global tour, she debuted an all-new show, Lynda Carter: Body & Soul, filled with her bluesy renderings of pop hits by everyone from The Supremes to Adele. And, of course, it was packed with favorite memories of those three years spent as the world's favorite super-heroine.

Here I coax my idol to dish about everything from Sarah Palin to her own struggles with alcoholism, not to mention this most recent Bay Area gig. And -- Score! -- the generally composed Wonder Woman star actually bursts into loud laughter at my comments regarding plastic surgery gone awry.

PDM: You kind of made... well, my entire life... when you posted a photo of us together -- with me dressed as Wonder Woman -- on your Facebook and Twitter. I nearly died!
LC: Oh, cool! We'll have to take another picture together. You don't have to dress up this time, unless you want to.

That photo even made it in Channel Surfing: Wonder Woman, author Mike Pingel's new definitive fan book!
Oh, cool! You and me, baby. That photo is going to have a life of its own.

For Christmas, I got the Wonder Woman, Season 3 DVDs. I'm excited to relive those moments I grew up loving.
You know, I haven't watched it in a long time. It would be kind of weird, wouldn't it, watching your reruns? Occasionally, if it's on or something, I'll see it. I don't really watch them. Oops! Hold on. (Pauses.) I'm watching Game Change on HBO, with Julianne Moore and Woody Harrelson. It's about the time from when Sarah Palin was chosen until the election. It's pretty interesting.

I acknowledge Sarah Palin is a beautiful woman, but I would think she could only hope to be as gorgeous as Julianne Moore!
Well, isn't that the truth?! Julianne Moore does an amazing job. This is not a flattering portrayal of her. The show is not particularly flattering portrayal. I'm a big Democrat, so it's very interesting to me. And I live in Washington D.C., so I was just watching it!

You have been very public about your struggle with addiction. What advice would you give to people struggling with similar issues?
It's about people trying to deal with stress. I think it's easier to think you can have an abandon with alcohol or drugs, but what's actually happening is your growth is being retarded. You are holding yourself back from fully experiencing who you are. There are difficulties as you're growing up, as you're dealing with your sexuality -- whether your heterosexual or homosexual -- you're dealing with those feelings and feelings of rejection or feelings of insecurity. Every time you drink or take a drug, instead of dealing with your feelings, you're not allowing your brain to let the experiences become part of you. You're arresting your development. If you hang around people who do a lot of drugs and alcohol, that's what you're going to do. Nobody's strong enough not to do that if they're in that environment, so you have to distance yourself. When you're doing that, you feel so shameful. Then you do things you're ashamed of, and so you drink more to forget. It's just a vicious cycle!

I read you didn't even start drinking until you were in your 20s. Was that fueled by public perception that you were, in some way, supposed to live up to being "Wonder Woman"?
I had a really heavy predisposition. Neither my mother or father drank, but my mother's family did. There were a lot of people who struggled with alcoholism. I just happened to get that gene. I never really drank, because it didn't really do anything for me. When I started to go after the buzz, I was drinking three times what anyone else was. Once I started to drown my sorrows -- I was in a really bad marriage, and I'd already made that decision -- and I just didn't want to handle it. It was just easier to "go away." That's part of what got me into that. And I think my predisposition was too much for my body to handle. I got out as soon as I could. It's been 15 or 16 years now.

You are now known for traveling the world, singing. Was your show at San Francisco's Rrazz Room was a world premiere?
Yes! We had a huge replacement of songs, adding new songs every day during the stay. We're doing almost a whole new set. It's a little like walking a high wire a bit! I'm doing a kind of slow version of "Stop in the Name of Love," "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word." I'm doing a couple of Adele things, a song from Mr. Mister. I'm doing loads of new things. Bonnie Raitt. I always make them my own, though. I don't just do it as just a cover. We like to do new arrangements. And I've got a great band. These musicians are kind of amazing!

Can I just say, I was utterly blown away by how ridiculously gorgeous you are...Still!
(Laughing.) You're so sweet!

Seriously, you're the envy of any woman half your age. What's your secret?
Oh, honey, time is marching on, I have to say. I just try to do the best I can. Sometimes I'm up. Sometimes I'm down. I'm just doing the best I can. You know, I'm half Hispanic, which I think helps. I try to say things like, "Well, there are these old beauty secrets..." But the truth is, I look at myself in the mirror in the morning sometimes and think, "Blech!" I really appreciate the compliment, but you know -- women as they get older -- I don't focus on it like I think I'm all that. I take an hour-and-a-half getting ready for the stage, so I'd better look good! (Laughs.) Of course I have someone helping me, so I'm hoping I look good! If you saw me just walking down the street... I don't know what to say about it. I think it would be disingenuous to say, "Well..." All I can say is I work at it. I haven't had any work done... Yet.

Please don't! Age gracefully! I would hate for you to end up looking like a duck-billed platypus.
Oh, I know! It's terrifying. " A duck-billed platypus"?! Oh, my God, that is so funny. With that wide mouth. Or a wide-mouthed bass!

An Asian sea bass? Teri Hatcher even has almond-shaped eyes she didn't have before.
(Laughing very loudly.) Oh, God... It's very strange. These women can afford to go to the best, but nobody really ends up looking very good. 

Please, it's not just women! Kenny Rogers now looks like Joan Rivers. It's sad!
Awww... God, I know! What do you do, though? Once you've done it, you can't go back and say, "Oops! That was a mistake." It's not like, "I don't like my haircut, so I'm going to let it grow out." That's a tough one. I think it's fear more than anything that keeps me away. I don't know anybody who has done that well.

So many people in Hollywood in their late-40s and beyond wind up looking alike. It's like, "Is that Burt Reynolds or Heather Locklear? I can't tell..."
It's scary! You just kind of go... (Makes a gasping sound.) Your breath just kind of goes in, and you think, "What happened?!" The thing is, they can't go back. That's the killer!

Well, don't ever do it! You look marvelous!
"Mahvelous, dahling!" Well, thank you. You know, as we get older, it is so appreciated!

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