THE former beauty queen was the highest-paid actress on TV in the 1970s but once the show ended her life spiralled out of control.
Her lustrous brown mane frames cheekbones the size of Texas, with only the faintest of wrinkles gracing her porcelain face atop a still-slender figure with more curves than a roller-coaster.
Wonder Woman star Lynda Carter looks amazing for her age – at least two decades younger than her 63 years – and credits the luck of her gene pool for her fresh-faced good looks.
Perhaps that’s not surprising for the former Miss USA and Miss World semi-finalist who is also a velvet-voiced jazz singer poised to embark on a US concert tour this month, but she laughs: “Everything is dropping.
Yet those same genes also bequeathed her a terrible legacy: alcoholism.
Astonishingly, her features show no sign of the ravages of her past battles with booze and the traumatic break-up of her first marriage, though the emotional scars run deep.
“Alcoholism is an abyss,” she says.
“You are terrified of the addiction.
“You just can’t stop.
“The disease has taken over, it is not a matter of having will-power.
“Addiction feels so shameful but it really is a disease, and if you have got the gene that turns it on, it is devastating.
“It destroys families and lives.
“It is not a choice.”
Lynda, who became the world’s highest-paid TV actress during her five years playing Wonder Woman in the 1970s, has overcome stigma before: after becoming a beauty queen, and then after being stereotyped as a TV comic-book heroine.
“I didn’t intend to become a beauty queen and only entered as a lark,” she says.
But in the space of 20 days she was crowned Miss Phoenix, Miss Arizona, and became Miss USA, heading to the Miss World contest in London in 1972.
“I didn’t really enjoy it that much,” she says.
“I’d been singing since I was 14 and on the road since high school, and I was very independent.
“Then I was Miss USA and had to have a chaperone, and spent a year opening supermarkets.
“It was all so silly, wearing a crown and banner when it was the 1970s and women’s liberation was everywhere.
“That was quite a stigma to overcome.”
Lynda moved to Hollywood but struggled to find work as an actress and was down to her last $25 when she won the role of Wonder Woman.
“I never considered quitting acting but I was trying to figure out how I was going to pay the rent, and would have to get a regular job,” she says.
Wonder Woman transformed her life, paying her $1,500 an episode, and $1million for the second season.
“I loved every minute of it,” she says.
“I couldn’t wait to get up in the morning and get to work.
“Wonder Woman remains popular because it wasn’t about brawn, it was about brains.
“It is less about super powers and more about heart and intellect, and a sense of right and wrong.
“There is a part of Wonder Woman inside me and inside every woman, kind of that secret self that women share.
“We are all caretakers, giving birth, caring for our children and companions and loved ones.”
Wonder Woman ended in 1979 but has remained on TVs worldwide in reruns ever since – yet Lynda receives no royalties.
“None,” she sighs.
She signed a deal that assured her a share of the show’s “net profits,” but with “Hollywood accounting” after four decades the series has yet officially to turn a profit.
“I should be getting money but I don’t,” she says.
“But there is a resurgence of interest in Wonder Woman and there is my likeness on a new slot machine, a digital comicbook, dolls and figures, so I get a share of that.”
And Wonder Woman should see a bigger revival with the future release of the hotly anticipated movie Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice, starring Ben Affleck as the Caped Crusader and featuring Wonder Woman played by Fast & Furious 6 star Gal Gadot, a former Miss Israel.
“I hope that the film is good,” says Lynda.
“It is odd that it is an Israeli actress and not an American but she seems to be very pretty and I wish her well.
“Nobody has contacted me but I would happily do a cameo if that’s something that everybody involved wanted.”
Fans have attacked the movie for making Wonder Woman a subsidiary role, and screen siren Megan Fox said she wouldn’t want the role because Wonder Woman is a “lame superhero” – her super-weaponry comprising an invisible flying jet and a “lasso of truth”.
But Lynda says: “It’s not a bad way to reintroduce her that way.
“I think they are going to do a Wonder Woman movie afterwards, directed by a woman and written by a woman, as it should be.”
Like TV’s Batman star Adam West, Lynda felt the stigma of stereo typing as she tried to move on after playing Wonder Woman.
“That’s a tough one, always playing the heroine,” she laughs.
“But regretting it doesn’t advance you in any way.
“I’ve decided to embrace it.
“It’s part of my life.
“It could have been the last thing I ever did.” Read more…