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Lynda Carter Works Through Her Grief With Music

After Lynda Carter, TV's 'Wonder Woman,' lost her husband of 37 years, she focused on singing, which is her 'soul,' as she tried to heal

By Pam Windsor

Best known for her portrayal of TV's "Wonder Woman," Lynda Carter is also an accomplished singer/songwriter. She's released four albums and produced five of her own highly rated TV specials.

"Singing is my soul," she says.

A black and white photo of a couple on their wedding day. Next Avenue, Lynda Carter
Lynda Carter and her husband Robert Altman on their wedding day  |  Credit: Courtesy of Lynda Carter

Carter stays busy, too, with a number of nonprofit organizations and causes. And she serves on the advisory board of the planned Smithsonian American Women's History Museum.

"We don't have one yet," she tells Next Avenue, "but we want to put one on the National Mall. So, we're working on legislation to get that through."

She's been involved in empowering and honoring women in one way or another since playing Wonder Woman (and her alter ego Diana Prince) some four-and-a half decades ago.

Being Wonder Woman

Carter started her entertainment career as a teenager, first in music, then she won Miss World-USA in 1973. Two years later, she got the role of Wonder Woman. From the beginning, it was important to Carter to portray her superhero character with confidence, humor and a strong sense of who she was and who she wasn't.

"She was like everybody else where she came from, she wasn't special, and she didn't think of herself as 'all that.'"

"It was very intentional," Carter recalls. "She was like everybody else where she came from, she wasn't special, and she didn't think of herself as 'all that.' She knew what was important was the heart, and she was kind. And I decided every woman was either going to want to be like her or be her best friend."

The TV series lasted from 1975 to 1979. Carter took on other acting roles as she continued to sing and perform. Then, in 1985, after marrying Washington, DC attorney, Robert Altman, she left Hollywood.

"I fell in love," she explains. "Most everything you did was on location somewhere anyway. I had been doing movies and television, and shows in Vegas, Tahoe, Reno and all over the world. I was very busy, and it was a great life. I didn't feel I needed to be in LA, and I wanted to be with him."

After having her son in 1988, then her daughter, Carter pulled back on traveling, making family her priority.

"All careers have their ebbs and flows and there's a time for everything," she says. "I had a wonderful run, but most importantly I had a great family and great husband. I kept my career going, but my main focus was my family, and I'll never regret that."

Four people posing on the red carpet. Next Avenue, Lynda Carter
The Altman family  |  Credit: Courtesy of Lynda Carter

In February of 2021, Carter lost her husband to Myelofibrosis, a rare form of blood cancer. They were married 37 years and she still struggles with the loss.

"I wake up and I miss him every day," she says.

She recently turned to her music to help work through her grief. She's released a song she wrote for Altman (with co-writer John Jarvis) called "Letters from Earth." It's written the way one would write a letter, detailing things that have happened since a loved one passed away.


"Did you know that Spring came early? Have you heard the world's at war? That I moved down to Miami, and I love you more and more."

Letters to Loved Ones

Carter says people can work through a difficult loss by writing a letter and sharing their feelings, whatever those feelings may be.

"They are your letters, and you can write whatever you feel, even if you're angry with the person because they left you. Whatever you write is up to you."

"It's about keeping the memory alive and it's hard to talk about sometimes because you get teary-eyed, but it's okay when someone gets teary."

Talking about a loved one also helps and Carter says friends and family can encourage that by simply listening.

"It's about keeping the memory alive and it's hard to talk about sometimes because you get teary-eyed, but it's okay when someone gets teary. If you can allow someone to cry a little, they'll move through it."

Carter is honoring her husband's memory through her work with City of Hope and Translational Genomics Research. T-Gen, based in Arizona, is doing research on the type of disease that took Altman's life.

"It's an amazing group that may have found the genetic link to a rare form of leukemia," she says. "And that work is ongoing."

Facing Her Future

Careerwise, Carter finds herself at a point in her life where she's trying to decide what to do next. At 72, she's fit, healthy and appears much younger than her age. She credits it to good genes.

"When my mother died, she was almost 90 and didn't have any wrinkles at all. You fight aging every step of the way, but I'm not going to get surgery."

Here, she stops, laughs, then adds, "At least not now."

In recent years, Carter had a recurring role in the TV series "Supergirl" and a cameo appearance on "Wonder Woman 1984" so as she considers her options, there could be more acting. There will definitely be more singing.

A couple smiling together. Next Avenue, Lynda Carter
Lynda Carer and Robert Altman  |  Credit: Courtesy of Lynda Carter

"I'm writing more music and certainly thinking about the next project," she says.

Her daughter, Jessica Carter Altman, is also a singer/songwriter and the two have performed together in the past.

Carter remains grateful for an incredible career and whatever new opportunities lie ahead. But when it comes to legacy, she says it's the simple things that have always mattered most.

"It may sound corny, but if my children have happy lives and I can leave the earth better in some small way, that's enough," she says. "We can all make a difference even if it's something as simple as smiling at an older person when you're on the street or in an elevator and acknowledging they exist. That's something we can all do, show a little kindness."

Pam Windsor
Pam Windsor is a Nashville-based feature, travel, and entertainment writer. Read More
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