Legend has it that I became the youngest fan of Wonder Woman when at the age of 24 hours my eyes were glued to the tv in the hospital room whenever Diana, Princess of the Amazon appeared. I must have known she was a kindred biracial spirit. Only I didn’t know she was biracial until my 31st birthday when I was taken to see Lynda Carter’s cabaret show at Feinstein’s at the Regency in NYC. It was great! She talked about her Mexican mom. She sang. Really well. I loved it! Cornel West was there. He loved it too.
Carter was born Linda Jean Córdova Carter in Phoenix, Arizona. Her father, Colby Carter is an Irish American, and her mother, Juana Córdova, is of Mexican ancestry.
HOLLYWOOD (By Sandra Marquez) August 23, 2007 —
Born to a Mexican-American mother and an Anglo father in Miami, Arizona, Linda Jean Córdova Carter grew up to become one of America’s most iconic figures: Wonder Woman. In many ways, the actress who became known as Lynda Carter on the hit 1970s entertainment series was a mirror. To young Latinas in the know—such as Constance Marie of The George López Show — she was a role model. Many others had no idea that Carter was Mexican American. But she became a universal figure for her portrayal of Wonder Woman as an everyday woman with superhuman powers….
Tell me about your family history.
My mother grew up in a place called Globe, Arizona. My grandmother came to Arizona when she was a baby. They emigrated from Chihuahua, Mexico. Probably my best memories of childhood were in Globe. My grandmother would make her big stack of tortillas and we’d make menudo and it was all about eating.
Did you grow up hearing Spanish?
My father did not speak Spanish, so we didn’t grow up with it on a daily basis, but around my mother’s family I pretty much understood everything.
Raquel Welch has spoken about how, growing up, her Bolivian father would not speak Spanish in the home because he was afraid that she would be discriminated against. Did you ever experience that growing up?
No, but my mother I think did. If anything, I experienced a reverse discrimination in that I am not really Hispanic because my last name is Carter, and because I don’t look it. That I am not really Hispanic because I don’t talk about it 24/7 and my skin is not dark enough.
In your lifetime and career, have you seen a change in how Hispanics are regarded and the roles that are available?
People are surprised when they learn that I am half Latina even though all through my career from the very, very first, I spoke of it. And I speak of it proudly.
Constance Marie of The George López Show keeps a poster of you in her dressing room. She says you are her hero.
I know, I signed a poster for her. She was doing Good Morning America and they surprised her by having me call her. It was just wonderful to have had a positive effect on a person who has gone on to do such wonderful things. And she is so sweet. The one thing about Latinas, there is passion in our lives. We love passionately.