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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Defamation? Delusion? Damaging despicableness? Part two coming next week

Due in part to last-minute travel plans, part two of this story will be posted next week. Stay tuned!

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.