You don’t need to grab the Lasso of Truth to make the original Wonder Woman remember the night she was practically tossed out of a Las Vegas casino.
Lynda Carter remembers it like yesterday. “I started singing in Vegas when I was 17 years old in a smoky lounge at the Sahara hotel,” she said, speaking by phone from her home in Washington, D.C. “I’ll never forget that after the show one night, I was gambling away in the casino until a pit boss walked over and said, ‘I just heard a nasty rumor that you are 17. Do you realize we could lose our license?’
“They made me walk through the kitchen to get me out of there as quickly as possible,” she said with a laugh.
It’s quite the opposite these days — everyone wants Carter to stick around now. The movie industry has welcomed her with the hit “Super Troopers 2,” the music business is touting her new CD “Red Rock N’ Blues,” and she just got her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. At 66 years young, the Phoenix native might even dig out a few golden wrist bracelets and join Gal Gadot in the “Wonder Woman” sequel due out in 2019.
Review-Journal: What is a typical Sunday like for you?
Lynda Carter: We’re definitely sleeping in a bit and then watching the Sunday news programs. My husband and I read the paper and in the springtime, we’ll eat breakfast and read outside. Maybe we’ll go for lunch with our kids. Sundays should be a lazy day. In the fall, it’s all about football season. If you’re lucky enough to live in a city with pro sports like you now have in Vegas, Sunday is also a day for the fans. I love watching football and that’s good for our family. My husband says “Happy wife, happy life.”
You’re back as Governor Jessman in the hit “Super Troopers 2.” What was the appeal?
“Super Troopers” is just brilliantly goofy and they tackle problems. They’re also hysterical. You just sit back and enjoy them. Comedy is the hardest thing ever. I read this script and also appreciated that my part didn’t have any bathroom humor in it because I don’t like that. As for me, I’m reprising my role from the first movie. I would do anything for this filmmaker (Jay Chandrasekhar). I adore him.
Your early career began in Vegas.
I began as a lounge singer at the Sahara, which was really putting myself out there. Then I played Caesars and the Sands. I even sang for George Burns at his Vegas show. I do remember being 17 in Vegas, which was so exciting. I was making so much money — about $400 a week — which was a lot. I moved to L.A., but came back to headline in Vegas as my career progressed. I’ve always loved the vibe of Vegas.
Are you a Strip type?
“I like the solitude of the desert. I remember spending my days in Vegas going out to Lake Mead and just hanging out and enjoying nature.
You watched the Gal Gadot version of “Wonder Woman.” Can you play film critic for a minute?
I’m a big supporter of (director) Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot. We are a triad of the Wonder Woman sisterhood now. I understand Gal and know how wonderful it is to play Wonder Woman and how burdensome it can be. I thought Gal was a great Wonder Woman. She’s charming, humorous, kind and strong. Those are all the things we need our Wonder Woman to be. That’s what we love about her.
Wonder Woman didn’t always have those traits.
Those traits were not necessarily on the pages of the comic. Way back then she had to be kind of a dumb-dumb. It was that Clark Kent kind of thing. I think over the years, we made her smart. We made her cool.
Wouldn’t they be crazy to not have you a least do a cameo in the film sequel?
(Laughs) Well, I think Patty is working on it and we’ll see. Patty has her own vision of the movie. I trust if she has a place for me in her vision, then it will be a great place.
Did Gal come to you for advice before the first film?
No, no, no! I would never give Gal advice. It’s not a thing you would do to another actress. Patty and I talked about the character. Mostly, I listened to Patty and we talked about how she felt about the character. I knew from the moment I spoke with Patty that first time that she got it. In fact, Patty introduced me for my star ceremony. What she said was really amazing. She said, “This rebel went against the image of Wonder Woman. She went against what the norms and stereotypes were.”
In this era of #MeToo, why is Wonder Woman such a powerhouse icon?
What’s so wonderful about Wonder Woman is she cannot be taken advantage of by anyone. She cannot be diminished or sexualized. She cannot be raped or thrown down or told what to do. She cannot be dominated by anyone. She is her own person. That being said, she is totally accepting of the fact that she is a woman. She’s not trying to dominate either or lord her womanhood over anyone except when they’re acting like jerks or trying to kill her. She is who she is. She is not trying to be like anyone else. The key now is women aren’t trying to be like men.
Your generation didn’t sit down when it came to women’s issues.
We burned the bra. We were out there marching for our rights and equal rights. We were voting. We were working against the glass ceiling. This generation is taking it a step farther and it’s fantastic. This is not my time; it’s their time. These young students who are out there saying, ‘Enough. You can’t fool us with stupid gun laws.’ They’re amazing.
Is gun violence an issue that hits close to home?
I just want to say that no one is going to take your guns away. This is America. They are going to take your assault weapons away if you’re nuts. You don’t need an assault weapon to raise hell with the little birdies. You don’t need an assault weapon to shoot up the forest. I’m sorry, you don’t need a weapon of war.
You’ve lived in Washington, D.C., for over 35 years now, married to Robert Altman, and the mom of two grown children, James and Jessica, who are both lawyers. How are you dealing with the empty nest?
I’ve been an empty nester for a while. I miss the kids all the time. You don’t see them for breakfast every morning. That’s what I miss. But you still see them zooming in and out of the house. You can still make them a quick lunch or dinner. I think the parents are the ones who have to do the growing up when their kids get older. You have to remember there is no good reason for grown kids to be staying at home. If they are home and clinging, it’s not a good thing!
At 66, you’re still rocking out with your new album.
It’s on iTunes, Amazon and there is a CD . It’s blues with a little reimagined Motown plus a little country. Singing is what I’ve done most of my life, and it’s still a fabulous thrill.