It's no surprise Lynda Carter lassoed legions of gay fans during her three seasons as the amazing Amazon Wonder Woman. The weekly adventures of a superhero with a secret identity, who upended traditional gender roles and performed costume changes with a fabulous spin, was a television series tailor-made for an LGBT audience. However, it's Carter's own amazing creative abilities that continue to impress fans today.
The beloved icon, who celebrated her 60th birthday last year, is still "as beautiful as Aphrodite" and continues to fight for our rights as a vocal supporter of LGBT equality. She also achieved a super-heroic feat when she bravely decided to revive her music career in 2007. Since then, the performer has released two new albums and continues to receive standing ovations for her live performances.
The legendary lady recently sat down with Out to chat about her brand-new tour, the first time she realized she was a gay icon, and why she loves drag queens dressed as Wonder Woman.
Out: Most people are familiar with your talent as an actress, but you actually began your career as a singer.
Lynda Carter: Right! I started very young, singing in all the normal things kids do, but then I joined a band when I was fourteen and actually started making some money. Later I sang in clubs and even went on the road before I eventually ended up in L.A. where I did a little work singing commercial jingles.
Your first solo album, Portrait, debuted in 1978. Since you began singing at such a young age are you surprised more than 30 years passed before your second album was released?
Was it 30 years? (Laughs) Yes, it was a long time and I make jokes about the first one being so long ago it was on vinyl. But the funny thing is, once I started pursuing acting I was told not to tell anyone I was a singer because no one was interested in singers who wanted to act. So I didn't tell anyone, and then after I had been acting for a while and began to search for a record deal people said, "Oh, here's another actor who thinks she can sing!" (Laughs)
Do you think it's easier for singers and actors to crossover these days?
Some performers do crossover successfully, but I still think people are a little tougher on singers who act. So even today it's not easy.
You hit the road with your one-woman cabaret show in 2007. Were you nervous about slipping back into the role of a singer once again?
I was absolutely terrified. Putting myself back out there again and launching a show was a bit like walking a high wire. Of course I was worried about people liking it, but at first I was worried whether or not people would even have an interest in coming.
With rave reviews from critics and fans I think it's safe to say you definitely stirred up some interest. You have a beautiful voice.
Thank you. I really appreciate that.
And now your music career is riding a new wave of momentum with the release of your third album, Crazy Little Thing, and your current tour. Are you happy to be back on the road again?
Yes, I absolutely love what I'm doing. I've got a great band and I'm thrilled to be working with some of the best musicians in the world. They really make it easy.
From jazz and rock to country and blues, you sing songs from a variety of genres in your current show. Have you ever considered recording a dance music single?
I actually have. RuPaul has given me the names of a couple of people he works with and I'm talking about doing a remix of some of the stuff I've already done. I'm definitely thinking about it.
You've been a vocal supporter of LGBT equality. When did you first realize you had such a large gay fan following?
It was about 15 years ago. During an interview a journalist said, "You're such a gay icon!" and I said, "I am? That's great!" I had no idea until that moment. But as far as being supportive of LGBT equality, I've always felt that it shouldn't even be a question. It's a matter of basic civil rights and I don't understand how anyone can see it differently. I would love to ask some of these homophobic politicians and "religious" people to start talking about their sex lives. Let's talk about what kinds of "deviant" things go on there. They really need to get over themselves. I mean, why does anyone care? I really don't get it.
Out: You were the Grand Marshal for the 2011 New York City Gay Pride Parade the same weekend marriage equality passed in the state. What was it like to be a part of such a historic celebration?
LC: Oh boy, it was a zoo, but so great! It was wonderful to see everyone celebrating to the fullest and I have to say it's such a privilege to be embraced by the LGBT community. To be welcomed by a group that has seen so much discrimination over the years--it's just an honor.
Do you remember the first time you saw a drag queen dressed as Wonder Woman?
I've seen so many over the years it's hard to remember the first one. However, I do remember the first time my son saw one. He was with me once when I was singing in San Francisco and a big drag queen came to the show dressed to the nines. She was great! My son's reaction was priceless and we loved it. I will say that some of the funniest ones I've seen are the Wonder Woman drag queens with the big pot bellies and tons of hair on their chests. Those are the best and I've had my fair share of those viewing opportunities.
At this point in your career are you totally comfortable with the legacy of playing Wonder Woman?
God, I would hope so. I was comfortable back when I did it and I'm comfortable with it today. I'm still doing what I do and part of the reason people come to see me is because they liked her. It's not something I can get away from, nor would I want to. What's not to like about Wonder Woman?
If you could go back, knowing the impact Wonder Woman would have on your entire life, would you have done anything differently?
No, I don't think so. Well, (Laughs) I would have tried to talk the network out of canceling the show, that's for sure.
A lot of gay kids who grew up in the 1970s credit you with inspiring them at a crucial time in their lives. Who are the Wonder Women that inspired you along the way?
There have been so many. Golda Meir definitely. I remember being so impressed when I learned that she was running her own country. I still remember thinking, "Wow, how did that happen?" I was young and didn't think something like that would be a possibility even though I grew up during the time of women's lib. Of course, Gloria Steinem is another one, and I've always looked up to Hillary Clinton. She's so smart, so capable, and so invested. Those are the types of women who've really inspired me. Not necessary the ones who are the most famous, but the ones who are invested in trying to do the right thing.