DPO features multi-talented actress, pop icon, singer, and social advocate Lynda Carter in SuperPops season opener
Where were you in ‘72?
Trick question. Actually, a better one might be “Where were you when you were 21?” In the service? Still in school? Pursuing a career?
Lynda Carter was coming off of four years of uphill climbing chasing the dream of a career in music. She had started in high school singing with Just Us, a makeshift quartet. At 17, she joined The Relatives, an aptly named band consisting of two of her cousins and drummer-cum-actor Gary Burghoff (“Radar” O’Reilly in the television series M*A*S*H). The group performed at the Sahara Hotel and Casino lounge in Las Vegas for three months, during all of which time Lynda had to enter through the kitchen; after all, she wasn’t 21.
After a short stint at Arizona State University, Lynda dropped out to sing with a group called The Garfin Gathering with Lynda Carter. Good news: for their first performance the group got booked into a brand new San Francisco hotel. Bad news: the place was so new it didn’t have a sidewalk entrance. Result: they became part of the underground music movement…literally. Their audience consisted mainly of janitors and hotel guests whose cars were parked in the underground garage. She returned to Arizona in 1972, the year she turned 21.
Then things started to happen quickly. Lynda entered a local beauty contest, won, and kept winning until she had become Miss World USA representing the U.S. and reaching the semi-finals of the 1972 Miss World pageant. That’s when most of us first became aware of Lynda Carter.
We started seeing Lynda again, this time on TV in Starsky and Hutch, Cos, and Nakia and in several B-movies. The next time we saw Lynda, 1975, she had become Diana Prince, the alter ego of the title character in the TV series The New Adventures of Wonder Woman, a role that many continue to identify her with. And while that’s a good thing, it presents a most incomplete picture of the depth of artistic talent Lynda actually possesses on so many levels.
Besides the hit TV show, her acting credits span 8 movie and 27 television roles. And that’s just Lynda the actress. There’s also Lynda the singer/musician.
And the body of work she has amassed in that field is equally as impressive.
In the late ‘70s, Lynda recorded Portrait, an album on which she shares credit as co-writer on several numbers. In her appearances on five CBS TV variety specials, she worked with such musical stars as Ray Charles, Merle Haggard, George Benson, Eddie Rabbit, and Kenny Rogers. In the ‘80s, she made singing appearances on the Las Vegas Strip and Atlantic City. In 2005, Lynda appeared as Mama Morton in the West End London production of the musical Chicago. The Chicago: 10th Anniversary Edition CD box set contains her rendition of the song When You’re Good to Mama. In 2007, Lynda began touring the country with An Evening with Lynda Carter, a one-woman musical cabaret show. In 2009, she released her second album At Last; it climbed to tenth on Billboard’s Jazz Album Chart.
Not bad for someone who began her musical career taking singing lessons from a practitioner of homeopathic medicine who lived on an Indian reservation. And therein lays a clue to how Lynda not only developed her musical talent, but also the strength to handle the physical demands of her career.
By her own admission, Wonder Woman “is not a one-note samba.”
In an interview in the April, 2011 issue of Energy Times, Lynda spelled out details of the personal, natural health regimen that has helped her keep her stomach flat, her voice clear, and her strength at optimal levels. It involves taking blood tests to determine a treatment starting point and boosting her immune system with fish oil, vitamin D3, bee pollen, wheatgrass, and herbal teas. Dietary measures include consuming organic berries, almonds, walnuts, pecans, and honey with almond milk for breakfast; noshing favorites include homemade soups, cucumber slices mixed with hummus, salmon, and grass-fed meat and chicken.
And weight-bearing exercise, rowing (on the Potomac River) in a scull, yoga, stretching, and walking comprise her exercise regimen.
She needs to do all this, to keep in shape for her musical career and to keep up a schedule that involves many hours devoted to promoting breast cancer awareness. A stout supporter of the Susan G. Komen Foundation, Lynda has testified before Congress to raise attention to the need for early detection of lung cancer. Her mother had suffered from the need for constant removal of cysts from her breasts, and a friend has died of lung cancer. To debunk the myth that you need to be a smoker to contract lung cancer, Lynda points to the fact that they very air we breathe can be a source of infection. We’ve all read of the dangers of secondary smoke, but Lynda believes that such things as aerosols and pesticides can also be dangerous. And she takes every opportunity she has to warn people of the dangers and enlist support for early detection.
Friday and Saturday, November 4 and 5 at 8pm in the Schuster Center, the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra presents Lynda Carter: The Wonder of Song. There you can see and hear an artist of not only great beauty and talent, but also of great content and character.
Lynda Carter: The Wonder of Song
November 4 & 5, 2011 at 8 pm
Location: Mead Theatre – Schuster Center