Lynda Carter was, of course, the original Wonder Woman. As the famous superhero she turned heads with her beauty and won herself a place in pop culture history. But she was always more than just a TV character. She’s a mother as well, and her daughter happened to inherit her striking good looks.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Carter first found fame as a pageant queen before she turned to acting. When she was just 21 years old, she tried out for a beauty contest in Arizona and was very successful. Yes, she ended up representing Arizona in the Miss World America 1972 contest and won. Later that year, she made it to the semifinals of the international Miss World competition.
Because of her success on the beauty pageant stage, Carter was able to explore the world of acting. In 1974 she showed up in an episode of Nakia and did other small roles from there. But then came the role that would define her career, that of Wonder Woman. Executives thought a female superhero wouldn’t draw crowds, but they were very wrong.
Indeed, Carter became internationally famous both for being Wonder Woman and for being stunningly attractive. As the Wonder Woman show was at its height in 1978, Carter was named “the most beautiful woman in the world” by the International Academy of Beauty and The British Press Organization. That was an impressive accolade.
While acting as Wonder Woman, Carter also decided to pursue a second career as a singer. In 1978 she told People magazine, “People see me in a bathing suit every Friday night on TV. I’m determined to make it on my talent, not my bosom. Singing is something I’ve been doing all my life, and I want people to know it.”
Yes, Carter seemed to have mixed feelings about being named the world’s most beautiful woman. She told People, “I wasn’t the beautiful blond cupcake when I was growing up. I’ve been skinny and I’ve been heavy. I wear glasses. I’m a real person. I’ve learned how to look great without wearing any makeup except a little bit of blusher and some mascara.”
In 1980 Carter went even further, telling Us magazine, “I never meant to be a sexual object for anyone but my husband. I never thought a picture of my body would be tacked up in men’s bathrooms. I hate men looking at me and thinking what they think. And I know what they think. They write and tell me.”
At that point in time, Carter’s husband was movie producer Ron Samuels. They had wed in 1977, when Carter was 25. But it didn’t last, and they were divorced by 1982. Many years later, in December 2019, the actress told Closer magazine of the marriage, “He was a lot older, and I was just stupid.”
But not long after her divorce from Samuels, Carter met another man. And this one proved to be a much better match for her. He was Robert Altman, a lawyer who ran a successful firm in Washington. So the pair wed in 1984, however at this point Carter was starting to tire of the celebrity lifestyle.
In 1985 The Washington Post did a piece on the unlikely-seeming marriage. Of Carter they said, “She is tall, 5 feet, 9 inches, with generous bust and hips and small waist. Her features are prom queen pert, punctuated by masses of dark hair ad huge, darkly outlined, turquoise eyes. It’s easy to see how she won the part of Wonder Woman.”
And Altman told the newspaper how he had fallen for Carter after being asked to attend a dinner with her. He said, “I knew she was a good-looking actress who modeled for Maybelline, but I couldn’t quite place her… I thought the last thing I need is to go to dinner and get mixed up with some Hollywood actress.”
The lawyer went on, “I went. I sat next to her, and we hit it off immediately. There was a strong and immediate attraction, even to the point that we were so very interested in one another that it seemed rude to the rest of the table. After that I was definitely interested in seeing her. She was beautiful and fascinating, not at all what I had anticipated.”
Altman explained, “I expected someone who was narcissistic, self-important and full of herself. But she is unpretentious, warm, funny and bright. I wanted to see her again. I had no notion at the time that it was going to end up in marriage. I probably would have said, it will be fun, that’s it.”
As The Washington Post conducted their interview, Carter talked about her singing career and the intense appeal she’d always had. She said, “I’ve never been va-va-voom. I’ve never felt that way on stage, that I’m promoting sexuality. The dresses are cut that way, but my personality is not that way.”
And Carter went on, “I don’t want to alienate half the audience, which is female. You don’t have to play on it if it’s there visually…I’m not trying to turn anyone on. I’m just singing and dancing.” The interviewer then asked Altman if he felt other women were ever jealous of his wife’s good looks.
Altman answered, “Simply stated, yes. You can tell from the sideways glances, looking her up and down; the little remarks that are made. It’s obvious there is a sense of envy.” And as for the men, he said, “It’s all pretty good natured. Nothing goes beyond the bounds of propriety… Crowds take to her.”
Carter told The Washington Post she had been thinking about her future life plans since marrying Altman. She said, “I want to start a family. It’s time. I have the man I want. I have where I want to live. My brother and sister both have children. They started young. I’ve waited and now it’s right.”
So the actress did exactly that. She and Altman moved away from the bright lights of Hollywood and built a big house for themselves in Maryland. And in 1988 their first child, a son called James, was born. He was followed in 1990 by a girl called Jessica. Amazingly, Carter was perfectly happy to leave behind her career and become a mother.
You see, in July 2017 the 65-year-old Carter told People magazine of that period, “I spent a lot of time on movie sets – and that is being said in a way right now that I’m grateful for it — but I didn’t have a lot of substance in my life. I found that it was the person. It’s always the people in your life – the friends and family that you choose to spend time with.”
Carter went on, “It is every step you take that is the more difficult step in taking care of your children. The easy way out often ends up being the hardest. I think that the intellectual pursuits in our family were much more the focus of our lives.” Indeed, by that point both James and Jessica had become lawyers.
Even though she was growing older, Carter was still considered a very beautiful woman. Yes, in December 2018 the actress told Closer Weekly magazine that her looks were almost completely natural, as all she’d ever had was “a little Botox.” She said, “I don’t think I’m ever going to go under the knife – I am what I am!”
Back in 2016 Carter revealed some secrets regarding taking care of her looks. She told W magazine, “[My mother] said, ‘Do not go out in the sun. If you do, you’ll end up like a prune or an old leather purse.’ At the time, there was no sun protection, so she’d wear hats and put cream on her face. And she used to give herself a facial with egg whites. She had no wrinkles on her face, and her hands were always soft.”
As Carter went onto explain, “I’ve stayed out of the sun. And I harp the same with my daughter. I have used Purpose soap for years and years, and [did not wear] a lot of makeup. I would always use Coppertone For Faces Only on my hands when I drive and sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen!”
In the same W magazine interview, Carter was asked why Wonder Woman was always “done up like a sex bomb” and the actress answered, “Wonder Woman was totally not a predatory female. It’s not in her wheelhouse at all. And, I never played Wonder Woman; I always played [her alter-ego] Diana Prince. I always played her and that’s just what she wore.”
But no matter what Wonder Woman wore or what she looked like, she was an inspiration to many, including Carter’s daughter Jessica. And in May 2020 the young woman spoke to Forbes magazine about her mother’s career, and what the two of them shared. Jessica just so happened to look a lot like her famous mom.
You see, the media had been commenting for a while on the resemblance between the two women. For instance, in April 2018 mother and daughter went to the SuperTroopers 2 premiere together. And the website HollywoodLife wrote that Carter “look[ed] gorgeous at a red carpet alongside her twin of a daughter.”
However, Jessica didn’t just inherit her mother’s striking looks, including flowing brunette hair, cheek bones and striking eyes. She inherited her work ethic as well. The young woman attended the University of Michigan where she earned a law degree and an undergraduate degree in psychology. From there she went to work at the company Gibson Dunn & Crutcher.
Jessica told Forbes, “My mom inspires me daily.” When she was a child, the young woman said, she once raided her mother’s closet and upon finding her old television costume, “put on the Wonder Woman crown, bracelets, and lasso of truth and started running around the house pretending to be a superhero.”
And like her mother, Jessica was interested in music. She told the magazine, “I have been singing for as long as I can remember. Whenever I would hear a song, I would immediately start singing and dancing around the kitchen.” In fact, now she herself had decided to try and launch a career in that field.
Furthermore, Jessica remembered how she had been raised in a house of music. And her brother James was interested in it too. She told Forbes, “Whenever our parents went out, we would be home practicing. As soon as they came home, we would take them to the living room and perform. Looking back, I am amazed at their patience after a long day to sit and watch us.”
Well, actually Carter had done more than just that. Jessica said that during her time at law school, her mother had asked her to perform at the Kennedy Center. Then, “My mother assembled a band of some of the greatest musicians in the world who are in the hall of fame and are some of the most recorded artists in history. Yet they welcomed me like family and imparted invaluable lessons about performing.”
After taking her bar exam, Jessica decided she would try to follow both of her passions at the same time. She told Forbes, “Why should I quit? Who determined that it was impossible to pursue music and law? Simply because I do not know someone who has followed this path, does not mean that I can’t.”
So Jessica called her first album fittingly “No Rules,” and it was for good reason. She explained, “This EP started at the beginning of my legal career. I had to find a delicate balance between my responsibilities at my firm and my music. And throughout this process I have discovered that, indeed, there are ‘no rules.’”
Asked if she was going to continue working as an attorney, Jessica told Forbes, “I recently decided to leave my law firm to pursue music full time. I am tremendously grateful to have had the opportunity to work with such a remarkable group of professionals but decided that I wanted to focus on a career in music.”
Of course, Jessica’s father was an attorney too. Questioned about him, Jessica said, “He practiced as an attorney in Washington, D.C. for more than 25 years. But 20 years ago, he decided to pursue an artistic business and establish what is now a leading video game company. I guess the creative gene runs deep.”
However, Jessica still had a love of law as well. She told Forbes, “I always knew I wanted to go to law school. I was just unsure where it would take me. My legal background has certainly helped me navigate the business side of music. But it has also instilled a certain kind of discipline that I rely on in pursuing music.”
The famous actress’ daughter continued to explain to the magazine, “The thing I love about being a lawyer is the ability to help people. The intellectual nature of law has always appealed to me. But there is no comparison to being able to use your knowledge and particular skill set to help someone.” That’s a very Wonder Woman mindset.
And people have mentioned on social media that perhaps Jessica could play a version of Wonder Woman one day. You see, whenever Carter posts pictures of herself and her daughter on the platforms, the subject comes up. Currently actress Gal Gadot plays Wonder Woman in the Hollywood movies, but the character certainly isn’t going anywhere.
Mind you, Carter has continued to sing the praises of the Wonder Woman character over the years, even though she retired from the role long ago. In April 2019 during a preview for Calgary Expo she told the press, “She could protect herself, and protect the people she cared about – for the right reasons – and that’s why I think one of the reasons why my depiction of her was lasting or enduring.”
At the moment, neither Carter or her daughter have appeared in the modern-day Wonder Woman films. According to Carter herself though, the movie director Patty Jenkins would be happy for her to make a cameo at some point. If that ever happens, she should bring her lookalike daughter along for the ride.