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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Remake Schemake! Wonder Woman Lynda Carter, other '70s superwomen still kicking ass at 60-plus


Today TV's Wonder Woman, actress-singer Lynda Carter, blows out 60 candles. That's right, she's 60! (Take that, Sally O'Malley!) This year Princess Diana would've turned 50. But the TV people's first princess, Diana Prince, was taking the world by storm a good ten years earlier. In fact, this Arizona-born beauty won the Miss World USA pageant in 1972. Three years later, a certain superheroine in star-spangled satin tights beckoned. And Lynda has been kicking ass ever since--most recently, as the star of her own critically acclaimed cabaret show. This spring, the sultry songstress's second CD, Crazy Little Things, hit stores. 


NBC recently passed on David E. Kelley's reimagined Wonder Woman, which could have seen Carter in a cameo or guest role had the series been picked up. After three decades of rumored film and TV reboots, Lynda Carter remains the one-and-only live action Wonder Woman.


Lynda remains in fine company, though. Also turning 60 this month: actress-singer Cheryl Ladd. Hard to believe it's been 34 years since she hit the scene as Farrah Fawcett's little sister, Kris Munroe, on Charlie's Angels. Like co-star and fellow ageless beauty Jaclyn Smith (who is 63 or 65 [!], depending on the source), Ladd is still kicking ass and taking names as a made-for-TV movie star. Ladd's next movie: Hallmark's Love's Resounding Courage, set to premiere in October. 


Jaclyn--seen above striking a pose with her longtime grrrfriend at last year's TV Land Awards--is doing just fine herself. A self-made lifestyle brand, she continues her long-running apparel line at K-Mart and has launched numerous other hit enterprises. Last year, she also turned heads in a darkly dramatic role on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

Charlie's other original Angel, actress Kate Jackson, has kept an unusually low profile in the two years following the death of her longtime friend and co-star Farrah Fawcett. She was a no-show at the TV Land Awards and has in the last two years otherwise stayed away from the medium that made her a star. But expect Kate to fly back into action with the October release of her long-anticipated memoir, The Smart One. I have a strong feeling that Kate--who has, according to a tabloid report, claimed ownership of her iconic 1976-81 ABC series--will drop at least a couple of bombshells in her book, which will hit bookstores shortly after ABC premieres its reimagined Angels update. 


TV audiences last saw Jackson in the NBC news special Farrah's Story, which aired six weeks prior to Fawcett's death from anal cancer on June 25, 2009. The outspoken Jackson (who, like Jaclyn Smith, is a breast cancer survivor) also gave a head-turning interview in May 2009 to the Today Show hours after Farrah's Story producer Craig Nevius sued Fawcett's longtime lover Ryan O'Neal, friend Alana Stewart and Fawcett estate trustee Bernie Francis for interfering in his contract to oversee the NBC May sweeps documentary about Farrah's battle with cancer. Jackson repeatedly referred to Nevius as "Craig Devious." But she did an about face in early 2010, saying she was "embarrassed" about her remarks. "I was told before I did the Today Show that Craig Nevius was a crook and all this other stuff. I thought he was attempting to do all these awful things," she told Radar Online.

The Emmy-winning actress says she was cut off from Fawcett soon after her Today interview. She told Radar that Hamilton and O'Neal refused her access to her dying friend because Farrah didn't want to see her. "I wasn't allowed to ask Farrah if that was indeed the case that she didn't want to see me or others," Jackson said. "I wasn't allowed to talk to her on the phone, at all. Even if a person is in such pain that they sleep most of the time, if the phone was answered, or the messages weren't so full that you can't leave one, I could have had someone put the phone to her ear so I could tell her that I love her." (Hamilton and Stewart denied her claims.)


Last December, Jackson settled a lawsuit against longtime O'Neal associate Bernie Francis, who also served as Jackson's business manager. Jackson had claimed Francis had left her in "financial ruin" to the tune of $3 million. According to TMZ, both parties were "satisfied" with the confidential settlement agreement.


Finally, TV's original  Bionic Woman, Lindsay Wagner, continues to kick butt metaphorically--at least in a meditative sense. The Emmy-winning actress hosts holistic healing retreats in the U.S. and abroad, and she also gives keynote speeches about the body-mind-spirit connection at various events. (See our 2010 interview with her here.) And she's returning to the small screen again Monday night  (July 25) in a return appearance in the SyFy network hit Warehouse 13. She also recently guest starred in the cable net's superhuman crimesolving drama Alphas. Not bad for a 62-year-old gal who once battled Fembots and Bigfoot for a living! (Bionic Woman remake? Does anybody even remember that? Uh-huh, that's what we thought.)

Read Retroality's interviews with Carter, Ladd and Smith and Farrah's Story producer Craig Nevius.




9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I always admired Linda Carter and i wish to see her again on tv.
Such a talented and beautiful woman!

DENo1MatchGameFan's Blog said...

Lynda just proves once again that you just CAN'T replace an iconic part with a no-named talent! I mean look how Shelley Hack and Tanya Roberts tried to replace Kate Jackson on "Charlie's Angels?" I mean they were okay, but they both didn't have the smarts that Sabrina had, and having Shelley drive Sabrina's orange Ford Pinto was just plain tacky!

I'm also glad that Lindsey Wagner proved NBC wrong in that "Bionic Woman" was a bomb, and without her and the creative talent of executive producer Kenneth Johnson, that show was DOA!

One more example of how a show can't go on without the original talent is "The Incredible Hulk." The original 1978-82 CBS series was a classic, in that Kenneth Johnson produced the series, and iconic actors in Bill Bixby, Jack Colvin, and Lou Ferrigno filled out the show to make it believable, and not so dumb as the comic book version. Sadly when Bill Bixby remake the show without Kenny in the late 80's, you could tell that the spark that held the show together was missing, as instead of a human character with everyday problems, we had to deal with the damn comic book scenario again, and David just didn't seem as believable as the TV series version of David did, and poor Jack Colvin as Mr. McGee didn't know what the hell to do with his character, and nothing was solved in how David's problem could be cured except for a lame death of him 'falling from a helicopter', when in the series, he did the exact same thing and survived!

To top that off, two lame motion pictures were made off of the Hulk character, and both met with limited success in the process, as people loved the David Banner we grew up with on the TV show! I remember you interviewing Kenny, Chris, and you told me that the audience applauded only when the immortal line he wrote in 1977 ("Don't make me angry - you wouldn't like me when I'm angry!) was spoken, and when "The Lonely Man" theme was played - other than that, people would have wanted Bixby and Colvin back (had they not died in the last 20 years.)

Anonymous said...

Love Kate Jackson.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Kate Jackson was great in C/A, but i liked her even more in Scare Crow and Mrs. King!

juantx7 said...

Linda Carter looks amazingly wonderful even after completing the 60 years of her age.

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Anonymous said...

I love and admire Kate Jackson, she has charisma, like Farrah had...Jaclyn and cheryl were boring me, and they live in a cloud of botox and tea party!

gkaponox7 said...

Thats really true and unbelievable that Lynda Carter who looks still young and gorgeous at the age of 60. She is very talented and nice human being.

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Anonymous said...

i came to appreciate shelley hack after i saw how pathetic the out-of-place tanya roberts was on the show... they said tanya would be better but she was not, not at all... tanya brought a pair of bikini to the show but shelley gave it a lot more, gave it a touch of class and humor... for a while there, during the 2nd half of season 4, it looked like the show could survive without kate (and then the unfortunate mistake came in casting tanya)... if the producers did not expect shelley to be as skilled and popular as kate (she was a newcomer afterall and she did improve tremendously unlike tanya who was wooden all throughout her pathetic season), maybe the should would have gone out with more respectable ratings goodwill from the fans than it eventually did!

Anonymous said...

Yah, Shelley Hack wasn’t half as bad as they said she was. I thought she was charming when her part was expanded. But Tanya never got enough brickbats for her God-awful turn on the show. She was horribly bland and uninteresting, even when she was jiggling her jangles in the tiniest of bikinis. What a crass and vulgar embarassment she turned out to be!