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CNN Larry King Live

Interview with Lynda Carter

Aired March 05, 2002 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, she was TV's first superheroine. But waged her toughest fight off screen. Lynda Carter on her hidden struggle against alcohol and her life as Wonder Woman. A candid one on one next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Always a great pleasure to welcome to our program one of the most beautiful women on the planet. Don't limit this to the United States. Lynda Carter, the actress and entertainer, featured in a new movie comedy called "Supertroopers" and of course famous for years as Wonder Woman. Lots of talk about tonight. Always good to have her with us. Been a long time. Welcome back.

LYNDA CARTER, ACTRESS: Thank you. It has been a long time.

KING: Isn't "Super Troopers" kind of a different move for you? It's an R-rated movie, right?

CARTER: Not only is it an R-rated movie...

KING: But?

CARTER: But it's a comedy. And I am just doing a cameo role. I'm really on film for a very short period of time.

KING: Doing what?

CARTER: The governor of Vermont.

KING: You know Vermont had a female governor?

CARTER: No, I didn't know that.

KING: Yes, they do. So, you...

CARTER: So, I'm playing -- the story of how this all got made, Larry, is so interesting, it's really one of those great, Hollywood make it big in hollywood stories.

KING: What happened?

CARTER: It's a group of guys that got together in college, a comedy troupe.

KING: This is the story of the movie, or the story of the making?

CARTER: No, this is the story of the making of how these guys got together. And they performed in all kinds of clubs and tried to make a few little movies here and there. Finally got the money to do this movie. Then took it to Sundance, sold it to Fox, Searchlight. And then Fox started screening it, started out with a couple hundred screenings, then 500 screenings, then 700 screenings, 2,000 screenings, so they made it for nothing. I got paid nothing. I got paid very little.

KING: Why did you do it?

CARTER: It was a feature, No. 1. I wanted to do that. And I wanted to do a comedy to sort of get out of the box that I'm so often cast in. You know, that typecasting and I'm always playing these heroine roles or whatever. So I read this kind of -- so I read this racy script and I thought, I should do it.

KING: What the hell.

CARTER: What the hell. And it was a great experience. These guys are young filmmakers and funny. And a little crude. It's a little crude.

KING: Do you want to do more big-screen stuff?

CARTER: Sure. Absolutely.

KING: Are you back now fully on the scene? Are you doing the "Vagina Chronicles?" Is that true?

CARTER: No, it's not the "Vagina Chronicles." No, it's the the "Vagina Monologues."

KING: OK, I haven't seen it. I like "Chronicles" better.

CARTER: Do you? All right. I did the "Vagina Monologues" at George Mason about two weeks ago. I'm going to do them again in Scottsdale.

KING: Is it fun to do?

CARTER: It's a blast. You're on the stage, there's no scenery or anything. Just sitting on a stool.

KING: How many women?

CARTER: I was in a performance that were five women. It can be anywhere from one to 20 women. And you read these -- basically these interviews that Eve Ensler did with a wide range of women talking about "the down theres."

KING: It was fun to do, though?

CARTER: It was a great experience.

KING: Now, doing this, doing the "Vagina Monologues" and doing "Super Troopers," are we seeing a new Lynda Carter?

CARTER: Well, I don't think it's -- I don't think I'm new.

KING: By new, different?

CARTER: Yes. I have wanted to, for a long time, do things that had a little more edge to them. It's just that I'm not often cast in those kinds of roles.

KING: Because "Wonder Woman: typed you, right?

CARTER: Right. And they think it has to be glamorous or it has to be the heroine or it has to be the lead. I just like to work. And I don't want to take projects that take me away from my family too much.

KING: We're going to talk about that in a while and spend a lot of time talking about "Wonder Woman." You also produced films.


KING: I remember you produced a wonderful TV movie with Angie Dickinson and you.

CARTER: That's right.

KING: Based on a book.

CARTER: Isn't that the first time we met?

KING: I believe it is.

CARTER: It is.

KING: You were shooting in California.

CARTER: In California, and you popped on the set.

KING: And your husband was flying out every weekend.

CARTER: Yep, that's right.

KING: You were also the Maybelline Girl.

CARTER: I was the Maybelline Girl.

KING: For how many years?

CARTER: Thirteen years. Then the last eight years I did commercials for Lens Express.

KING: That was a wild thing. You were the face of Lens Express.

CARTER: Right.

KING: So you've always been in front of us, right? CARTER: Well, I've tried to be.

KING: Do you have to like the product? Did you like Maybelline products, truth?

CARTER: Yep, I did.

KING: Lens Express, you ordered from Lens Express?

CARTER: Yes, of course. Free contacts.

KING: That was the deal.

CARTER: All the contacts I wanted.

KING: Came in a box.

CARTER: It was a great company. And I was with them for eight years. And then they sold the company and so they have a new something or other going on.

KING: Now, let's touch for a little bit -- I know you're hesitant to talk about it. But let's touch for a little bit on the alcohol problem. It was reported in the papers. How long had you had it?

CARTER: That's kind of hard to say because I would either not drink for long periods of time and then I would drink.

KING: Binges?

CARTER: Not really binges. Started off just drinking like everybody else. I never really liked alcohol. And then I didn't do very well with it.

KING: It's a disease, right?

CARTER: It's a disease.

KING: You could have three drinks and not be alcoholic. You could have two and be alcoholic.

CARTER: Exactly right.

KING: Depends on what it does to you. In all the years I know you. And I knew you well. I never saw you, maybe a glass of wine.

CARTER: Right.

KING: So when was this happening? When I read it first time, I said when?

CARTER: Well, it's the kind of thing that's insidious, and it creeps up on you. And I would hear things from the people that love me that, you know, I was acting strange or... KING: Did they have what they call like the Fords did or -- Robert Altman, your wonderful husband, never sat down and said, this is it?

CARTER: No, we sort of talked it through. I just came to -- or we came to the decision that I wanted to do something about it. And I think my greatest fear was being misunderstood or outed by the public or what about my image or this or that. So you think that...

KING: Really? In this day and age, I think people salute you more than have it hurt you.

CARTER: But when it's happening to you, it's kind of shameful.

KING: Really?


KING: You don't say to yourself, I have a sickness like somebody has a kidney disease?

CARTER: No, because I didn't know that much about the disease. I was really ignorant. I actually thought when people said they had, that it was a disease, that it was just a copout. Oh, yes, right, it's a disease. I was the worst.

KING: Just an excuse to drink, why don't you just admit you're a drinker, right?

CARTER: Yes. I didn't like what was happening to me. I think as you get older, particularly for women, as I later found out, that it's not uncommon for women as they get older for alcohol to affect them more drastically as they get older.

KING: Betty Ford, Kitty Dukakis.


KING: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the older they got.

CARTER: I think in the public spotlight like they were, it was really so secretive and underground. And for me, it just sort of turned around one day. And it wasn't healthy for me, it wasn't right. And I wanted to find out what was going on.

KING: And in those cases, both of those women that I mentioned, Kitty and Betty Ford, felt that it was good to come out and talk about it. You're helping people now face it. There may be a woman or a man sitting there right now saying, maybe I do have a problem that I'm not willing to face. That's one of the things you do when you help people, don't you think? Because no one holds it against you.

CARTER: I was, I think, so full of fear about not being -- not so much that as not living up to expectations, having that really vulnerable part of myself.

KING: You had set a standard.

CARTER: But I could not -- that I just couldn't turn around and say, OK, well, I'll handle it, and it's over with. OK, I've got to go on a diet, I'll lose ten pounds, you do it. It's that attitude of a A-type personality, you put your mind to something. And then you've taken care of it.

KING: Did you worry about its effect on your husband and children?

CARTER: Of course.

KING: Being public?

CARTER: Being public?

KING: No, maybe just "it."

CARTER: That was really the main reason why I started to get scared about the way it affected me.

KING: Want to take a break and in a minute, just find out how you got better. And then we'll touch other things. Our guest is Lynda Carter: actress, entertainer, lots of things going on in her life. And it was the monologues, not the chronicles. We'll be right back. Don't go away.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good to know that you're still batting for us with the budget committee.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't want to mince words, General.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It doesn't look too good.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe not to the untrained eye, but if I was a betting man, I'd put money on us changing the government (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You might want to strap on your ass-kissing boots and start right now. I think she's you're only hope.

CARTER: Hello. What is this thing again, humane society?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a drug bust.



CARTER: Then why are we here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, I think we're pretty well covered, Mr. Mayor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think she's got a lot of tough decisions to make. (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, I do. I'll be lucky to have a figure like that when I'm her age.



KING: We're back with one of my favorite people, Lynda Carter, seen for years as Wonder Woman. We're going to talk a lot about that and other things she's involved with. And she's involved with something that her husband's involved with, Robert Altman. She has gone through some tough times. How did you get better? Is that the right word, better?

CARTER: Right. I got into recovery -- I tell you, when I -- if I didn't drink I was fine. It wasn't like, you know, white knuckling or anything. It's just that when I did drink, it affected me so rapidly.

KING: In other words, you didn't wake up in the morning desperate for a drink?


KING: That's not classic alcoholism.

CARTER: No. But if I was drinking, then I started feeling that I wanted to drink. And that was never part of my life before. That's what scared me.

KING: So the first is that what set you off?

CARTER: Oh, yes. Everything they say about it, that's right.

KING: So how did you get help?

CARTER: I went to a place in Maryland, Father Martin's Ashley (ph). And it's a...

KING: Catholic?

CARTER: Yes, it is. It's so funny. I didn't want to go to any place that was religious, so I picked Father Martin's Ashley.

KING: And what do they do?

CARTER: It's like going back to school. That's the way I felt about it. You go to classes all day long and take notes and participate in group discussions. And I was...

KING: So you're talking about it all the time? One would guess doesn't that make you want it?

CARTER: No. As a matter of fact, there are some people that can't have alcohol in their homes or can't be around people that drink. It has never bothered me if I'm not drinking. That's why it's such a disease. I never even think about it. And I just -- it's so -- there's so much freedom in that, just not having to even think twice about it.

KING: And the disease is such that if you have one drink, the thought is it will set you off?

CARTER: Yes, I think so.

KING: So you can't have a drink?


KING: So you've been sober for a long time?

CARTER: Mm-hmm.

KING: How long?

CARTER: It's four our five years now.

KING: And how does the recovery -- how long is the recovery system?

CARTER: Oh, forever.

KING: So it's a daily thing you fight?

CARTER: Right. And I will say that going to these meetings and things, you know, I thought that, you know, be in a room with a bunch of drunk people. Ugh! I can't do that. And the truth is, it is the cheapest therapy that you could ever get.

KING: Because?

CARTER: You're in a group of people that are from all walks of life, you know. Some guy that's got, you know, construction stuff on and dust still on, to a person that's the CEO of a company. And it's a common -- it's a common abyss that you shared.

KING: I have a friend in AA who told me you would be shocked at who's at my meetings.

CARTER: Mm-hmm.

KING: Is that true?

CARTER: Particularly in L.A., yes. In Washington, too. yes.

KING: Yes, many people.

CARTER: Right, there are.

KING: Even in "West Wing", they have one of the characters as being alcoholic. Is it a daily thing? Do you feel each day, as long as I get through today? CARTER: No. Not even...

KING: You were not a classic alcoholic then? You were not white knuckles, what am I going to do without a drink today?

CARTER: Right. I was, if I -- for the same reason that you would sit down and have a glass of wine with friends or at dinner or whatever, my body didn't process it the same. My body became super allergic to it.

KING: You're allergic to liquor?

CARTER: Yes. And so if I -- it's like if you were diagnosed with a disease that was progressive and fatal and somebody said that you could put this disease in remission by not drinking and going to meetings, you'd say OK.

KING: You bet. Cancer, oh, yes.

CARTER: Yes. I just have to go to meetings and, you know. And it really helped me to focus in on who I was really am, who I want to be, the kind of mother I want to be, without any kind of thing hanging over my head that is like some monster that's out there. And it's so scary because you can't just control it like that.

KING: Made you a better person, in a sense?


KING: That's weird. I've heard that a lot. I know heart disease made me better, made me more aware of things around me and values and the like. How did the family do it? How did Robert Altman handle this?

CARTER: Boy, for not wanting to talk about this, this whole time...

KING: Oh, no. I'm going to get a lot of...

CARTER: Move on.

KING: You don't know how many people you're helping. So there's only a couple more things. How's the family going?

CARTER: You're just so wily. I told Larry that I wasn't going to talk about this.

KING: I'm just going to ask you a few more things. I'm trying to help people. I have no agenda.

CARTER: I know. My husband was the greatest. He -- you know who he is as really who he is, as an individual.

KING: One of the classiest people I've ever met.

CARTER: And he has been supportive of me in every way, not just this, but if I want to do a movie, if I want to take off, the kids, don't worry about it, this, you know, go, do whatever. And people try to get him on camera. He says forget it. We've got one star in the family. And -- he's secure and so supportive.

KING: As you were to him when he was on trial. Robert Altman faced a major trial. He was found not guilty I think in, in two seconds.

CARTER: Two seconds.

KING: I Don't think he even put on a defense, right?

CARTER: No defense.

KING: Prosecution rested, you rested and the jury went out and came back. And got Wonder Woman's autograph.


KING: But you were there every day.

CARTER: Yes, I was. Five months.

KING: So you're supportive of each other?

CARTER: We are. You know what that's like. How important it is, your own family and how they are the ones that are there when -- you know. And there are, as you get older, as we know, the line between friends and family starts to blur. And there are friends that are like family to you.

KING: And then friends that are not.

CARTER: Well. And there's a lot of those, you know, we have a lot of acquaintances.

KING: How were the children?

CARTER: Well, my kids never saw me out of control.

KING: Never out of control in front of them?

CARTER: No. I would say that if there was anything, and I really searched my heart with regard to this. It would be by not being really present.

KING: Yes.

CARTER: And I really tried to get a hold of it as soon as I started to wonder about it myself.

KING: When the story broke, did it hit you hard?

CARTER: It was horrible. I was at Father Martin's and somebody --

KING: Tabloid broke it.

CARTER: Yes, someone told. And I just felt, you know, it's an anonymous --

KING: Betrayed?

CARTER: I felt betrayed. I felt, you know, in this most vulnerable, raw place, where you've really laid it all out and you've surrendered and you've said, I need help. And you go to get it. And then it's all sensationalized and -- you know, they tried, by the way, they called everyone in Washington. OK, what kind of episode did you see her? Was she blasted at --

KING: I got called.

CARTER: Did you?

KING: Never saw a thing. Our guest is Lynda Carter. We're going to talk about the saga of Wonder Woman when we come back.

She'll be featured as the governor of Vermont in "Super Troopers." She's also involved with a product called Morrowin (ph), we'll ask about that. This is LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.


KING: We're back with Lynda Carter. What a story. So you're brave and you've come through it, right?

CARTER: It wasn't as hard as I thought.

KING: You can help people.

CARTER: I haven't talked about it publicly.

KING: You can help people. The thing is you do help people.

CARTER: Well --

KING: You do.

Wonder Woman, how did you get that incredible -- give me the -- it has been a long time since we had you on and talked about this. The genesis of that? Famous comic strip.

CARTER: Famous comic strip.

KING: The bracelets.

CARTER: The bracelets, the lasso of truth.

KING: The lasso of truth.


KING: What was she when she wasn't Wonder Woman? CARTER: She was Diana Prince.

KING: Diana Prince, she did what?

CARTER: She was an agent with a government secret thing.

KING: Was it ever a serial, a movie serial or a full film feature, never?

CARTER: Never. I don't think -- I think they've tried to make another series. They've tried to make a couple of movies, false starts on, but they've never --

KING: And in the '40s an amazingly popular strip with Superman, and Batman, and Spiderman.

CARTER: Right. But when this all came about, it was in the '70s. And you have to realize that there were no women in television except for comedies with "Mary Tyler Moore" and "Laverne and Shirley" and Carol Burnett." And then Angie had a drama.

KING: A cop.

CARTER: But she was also teamed with a guy.

KING: Right. A partner.

CARTER: There were no parts being written. So when this first -- the idea first came up to have a woman carry a show, they didn't think that it would work. And I did a screen test for the part. And --

KING: What were you doing at the time?

CARTER: Like every other actress.

KING: Looking for work?

CARTER: Looking for work, studying, and going out.

KING: But you looked like the character. You had that advantage. She was brunette, tall, built well. I mean, you had all those attributes, physical attributes?

CARTER: I think that that's a large part of casting anyway. Is the vision that someone has in their own heads, as far as what they see the film to be about. Half of it is if that person piques your interest in terms of the character. So I think that was a huge --

KING: What was the test like? Did you have to wear the outfit?

CARTER: They had a kind of a makeshift. I've forgotten -- it wasn't very great, as I recall.

KING: Did you have a script?

CARTER: I had a script. And I didn't have to do a cold reading, which was the greatest.

KING: Meaning?

CARTER: Meaning you walk -- they give you a few pieces of paper, you walk in and you know, the casting director is sitting there and she says, well -- naah, naah. And then you are supposed to --

KING: Respond.

CARTER: Yes. It's really hard.

KING: So how did you have to do?

CARTER: I played a couple of scenes with Lyle Wagner, actually tested with with me.

KING: Really?

CARTER: Yes. And it was pins and needles. I had $25 left in my checking account when I got the part.

KING: Wow. Who called?

CARTER: My agent called and said, hello, Wonder Woman. (SCREAM)

KING: How long did that show run?

CARTER: It was on five seasons. '75 to '79.

KING: Was it a hit right away?

CARTER: Actually, no.

KING: Famed on memories. Star Trek was a failure.

CARTER: Right. It was not being picked up by ABC. And then CBS bought it.

KING: You were on two networks.

CARTER: Two networks. As a matter of fact, Michael Eisner was the executive on my show when he was at ABC.

KING: You're kidding?


KING: He was in charge of that production?


KING: Did they change time slots?

CARTER: Well, it started off at ABC and it was in the 40s. And we did 13 or 14 episodes. And then --

KING: Played as if it were the 40s.

CARTER: The 40s and it was a lot more tongue and cheek, Batmany. You know, the bubble. That kind of stuff. Then they moved it to CBS and made it contemporary.

KING: And played it what night?

CARTER: Friday night, I think.

KING: And why do you think, this show attracted so many young girls? All over America you became their heroine.

CARTER: It is a phenomenon that's a lot bigger than me. It's just -- it -- I still get a lot of fan mail. And it always surprises me when people of a whole other generation know who I am, know the show. It's a -- I think it has become a great legacy.

KING: Does it still play on these nostalgia channels?

CARTER: It plays -- it's never been off the air since 1975, someplace in the world.

KING: In other languages?

CARTER: Oh, yes. I speak Japanese, German, Portuguese.

KING: Did you have a piece of it or were you always just a hired hand at good pay?

CARTER: No. I had a piece of it.

KING: Really? For $25 left in a bank account, you get a part where you get a piece?

CARTER: I got a piece of the net profits. You know how that works.

KING: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) said, no product has ever made a profit.

CARTER: Right, it's this creative accounting. At some point I hope that the lid is blown off of that scam, because it is really so unfortunate. You know, it's...

KING: Actors are robbed?

CARTER: Just blind. This creative accounting that's so infuriating. I have a good lawyer, though.

KING: We'll be right back with more of Lynda Carter on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.


KING: By the way, "Wonder Woman" episodes are available on Columbia House Home Video.

So was it fun to do?

CARTER: It was a blast. I loved -- I have to say, I loved every moment of it.

KING: You like punching people?

CARTER: It was so much fun. You have to -- oh, God. I have a great story about Bubba Smith. You remember Bubba Smith?

KING: Great football player.

CARTER: We did an episode where there was a bunch of football players, and I've forgotten exactly what happened, but they all sort of go crazy and Wonder Woman has to go in and flip them and do this and do that. I'd been working with these stunt people for a lot of years. And the director comes over, OK, now Lynda's is going to come over here, and she will just flip you right other here. But there will be a mattress.

He said, ain't no woman gonna flip me! He said, forget it. And I said -- he said, she couldn't do it if she tried. And so I just -- I kind of winked at the cameraman. And they started rolling. I said, let me just try. And they start rolling. He didn't know it was rolling. And it's just leverage, really.

KING: You threw him?

CARTER: I threw him. Whoop.

KING: Have a whole new appreciation for Robert Altman.

CARTER: I don't think I could do it now. But it's a trick, a stunt trick.

KING: What did he say?

CARTER: Well, it was a great, great take because they got him flying through the air with this most stunned expression.

KING: A great story. Did they use it?

CARTER: yes. The stunts were fun.

KING: By the way, did Debra Winger ever work as Wonder Woman?

CARTER: She did.

KING: She was what -- Wonder Girl?

CARTER: She played my little sister, Drucilla.

KING: Drucilla, for how many -- two years, one year?

CARTER: No, no. She was on for just about three or four episodes.

KING: Did she dress up in an outfit too.

CARTER: She did.

KING: She was called what, Wonder Girl?

CARTER: Yes, I think so. But she did a great job. But she doesn't like anybody so...

KING: Is she hard to work with?

CARTER: I didn't think so. But as she later told some interviewers, I guess, some horror story about working with me. But I'm...

KING: She didn't like working with you?

CARTER: I guess not. But I'm in good company. She didn't like working with Shirley MacLaine, Jack Nicholson, Richard Gere, John Travolta. I think she's a tremendous actress.

KING: Were you hurt when she did that, put you down?

CARTER: I was surprised because I had -- she was going through a rough time at the time. And I stayed after work a lot of nights just, you know, kind of being a big sister and having her -- she was going through a lot at the time. Really kind of traumatic stuff. And so I was surprised.

KING: How do they rip you off? What do they do? Creative accounting works how?

CARTER: Well, the show costs X amount of dollars to produce. And the network gives them, let's say, $1 million an episode to produce. Then they take a third of that and they use that for operating expenses for the lot. But then they amortize it, start amortizing the cost, their costs on other shows and mix the whole pot together.

KING: Take that out of what you're due. Eventually that comes out of the net.

CARTER: Right. And so it never turns a profit. Nothing ever turns a profit.

KING: So nothing makes money.

CARTER: So, Buchwald was right -- nothing makes money. It is all accounted out.

KING: The only way you could have it then is if you were with a company that did just one project, never did anything else, got paid for it and had to pay you? Couldn't write it off anywhere else.

CARTER: Right.

KING: They'd still figure out a way. CARTER: They'd figure it out. You know, prints and advertising. Oh, it was an expensive show. It's what, 20 years later they're still making money on it. But you move on from that stuff.

KING: It did enormous things for you. Did it hurt you in the typecasting mold?

CARTER: I was warned by a lot of people, you know, just think of Adam West. You'll never work again after.

KING: But occasionally he did a bit part.

CARTER: The way that I approached the character, I really tried to give her humanity. Which is why I think it worked. Is that she was just a regular person who happened to do all these things and everyone else goes crazy, but it's like for Wonder Woman. But I think that must have been a chord that was struck in the eyes of a lot of the viewers. And I have to say that I have had a tremendous career and I still work.

KING: You sure do.

CARTER: And it could have been the last thing I ever did.

KING: And it wasn't. You did a wonderful series about the Revolutionary War.

CARTER: I did.

KING: I liked that one a lot. What was the name of that?

CARTER: "Hawkeye."

KING: Because I'd get it wrong with my "Vagina Chronicles." We'll be back with more of Lynda Carter. Still more to talk about. Don't go away.



CARTER: I looked for my baby in ditches and in the woods, in alleyways, in dumpsters, for Christ's sake. My baby is not in a dumpster. I have to find her alive. I have to look for her alive, you know?


KING: We ask all of our prominent guests this, Lynda, so we'll ask you.


KING: Where were you on the morning of September 11?

CARTER: I was doing a film in Cincinnati, Ohio. KING: Television or a movie?

CARTER: A feature film, an independent film called "Tattered Angel." And I was outside getting a Starbucks in the car, you know, with the person from the crew driving me to the set. And she said, oh, my God, you know, a plane just hit the World Trade Center. And then, of course, it was two planes and being away from my family was really hard after -- particularly after Washington got hit.

KING: Did you rush somewhere to watch all this?

CARTER: Oh, yes. And it was one of those -- well, as with everyone, you felt so helpless.

KING: And wanted to be with your family?

CARTER: It took me a week to get home but...

KING: Did you call home right away?

CARTER: Oh, yes.

KING: Did you work that day?

CARTER: We did.

KING: You did?

CARTER: We did work. As a matter of fact, it was -- I played the mother of an abducted child, kind of a heavy thing. And I didn't have to do much work that day in terms of the sadness and the helplessness and all of that.

KING: Do you mind the changes that have resulted, the security, the questioning at airports? Are you become accustomed to it? Accept it?

CARTER: I absolutely accept it, go with the flow. And I'm so proud to be an American. I'm so proud to have been a part of the Washington community and spent a little time with the Pentagon families. A lot of people don't -- the press doesn't talk much about the Pentagon families. They talk more about...

KING: The New York families get more attention.

CARTER: Either the New York or the Pennsylvania flight.

KING: Certainly. Why do you think that is? You're right, I never thought about that. But there's less attention paid -- is that because they're military?

CARTER: I think that it was closing up the ranks and taking care of their own is the way that it worked. And they had set up a center where the families -- it was so great because the families would come to just one place and they would have all the military had set up this -- General Van Alsteen (ph) was in charge of it, and set up -- you know, there's Red Cross, Social Security, everything they could possibly need right there and taken care of immediately, and was speaking to them on a twice daily basis with updates. And it was so well organized for them to take the burden off of all of those details. But it was really -- it was a privilege to have spent a little bit of time.

KING: You went and spent time with them?


KING: What is Morrowind?

CARTER: This is probably the most exciting thing that I've done to date. It is a roleplaying game for PC and for the new Xbox that's coming out. And I do the voices of the Nords, all the women.

KING: People buy this as a game?

CARTER: It's a game for the computer or Xbox, the new Microsoft...

KING: That's coming.

CARTER: Xbox is out now. It's like, you know, Dreamcast and PlayStation and that sort of thing.

KING: And the user plays a game with the figures, with the people?

CARTER: You can choose -- it's kind of the most advanced in terms of all the technology because there's no right or wrong way to play the game. So you can choose to be a bad guy, a good guy, a hero. And you make all these choices as to -- and it can go in thousands of different directions.

KING: What does Morrowind mean?

CARTER: Ooooh, what does Morrowind mean?

KING: It is just a grabber title?

CARTER: No, it's the third in the installment of the Elder Scrolls.

KING: The Elder Scrolls. Oh, the Elder Scrolls is the name of the series?

CARTER: Morrowind is this...

KING: And that's out now. And who do you play?

CARTER: I play all of the voices of the Nords. And the Nords, I'm going to read it, aggressive and warlike race, women. All of the races in the game, their roles vary widely. And you can go throughout the world and they're employed in all kinds of jobs and this and that except they really like the combat arts. And it is probably the most fascinating, interesting, creative thing and most fun thing that I have done in a long time.

KING: And the third installment is out now?

CARTER: No, coming out in, I think, in April.

KING: Morrowind.

CARTER: Morrowind.

KING: We'll be right back with our remaining moments with one of my favorite people, Lynda Carter. Don't go away.


KING: We're back with our remaining moments with Lynda Carter. After (UNINTELLIGIBLE) you could get cast in "Lord of the Rings 4," right, swashbuckling.

CARTER: Hey, maybe. "Morrowin" is a lot like picking any character that you want to out of "Lord of the Rings" and being able to be it.

KING: You have spoken a lot about your mother and her value to you in your life. That was constant?

CARTER: That, it was constant. I think very often I leave my father, for some reason, out of the equation. I talk a lot about my...

KING: They're both still living?

CARTER: They're both still living. But I have to say that I think my father is one of my best friends. He is just an inspiration, as is my mother.

KING: You don't have brothers and sisters?

CARTER: I do. I have a great brother and sister. And my family is so important to me. And the values that -- I just want so much for my children to have that security. To have that constant that you know you're loved and that you can go out and...

KING: How were they during your difficult days with alcohol?

CARTER: Oh, I guess you'd have to ask them.

KING: Were they supportive?

CARTER: Oh, yes.

KING: That's what I meant.

CARTER: They were totally supportive. Oh, yes. And no judgment.

KING: No, none? CARTER: No judgment from any of them. It was -- I was more afraid, I think, of not -- of just not living up to...

KING: Their expectations -- your own expectations?

CARTER: The public's, everybody's that I somehow had some fatal flaw.

KING: You have a husband that's been enormously successful, you have a beautiful home, you're a successful actress and everything. Do you worry about spoiling kids? They're not growing up in a real world. It's not a real world. It's your world but it is not a real world.

CARTER: I worry about it a lot. I think that as long as my husband and I are aware of it, that the chances are far less that they can get screwed up. And I do a lot of public service and I really stress that public service in the family and how important it is to give back. That that's really where the joy of life comes from is truly being able to help another human being. Really extending a hand and I mean, if that's what God is, it's that feeling inside that you get when you've really helped someone, that's what I want from my kids.

KING: I remember the day little boy was born. That was something. And he is how old now?

CARTER: He's 14.

KING: And as tall as your husband?

CARTER: Yes. He is just -- he's phenomenal. I've got a great little jock 11-year-old girl.

KING: A jock?

CARTER: She's a jock. She's all girl, too. Don't get me wrong.

KING: She's like petticoats and jeans?

CARTER: Girls now have so much at their disposal.

KING: That you didn't have.

CARTER: As team sports. There's no such thing as a tomboy anymore. If you don't play sports and that sort of thing, it's like, what's wrong with you? And so I spend a lot of my time focusing on my family.

KING: What do you want for them, professionally, anything you'd like to see them do?

CARTER: Well, be happy. Find their passion.

KING: What if they both wanted to be actors?

CARTER: I would support them. My husband would kill them.

KING: He's had enough.

CARTER: I would support them wherever they wanted to go as long as they're getting an education.

KING: Are you at a very happy place now?

CARTER: Yes. I have so much joy in my life. I don't know how I got so lucky.

KING: As you said earlier, even being down helped, changed you for the better.

CARTER: Right.

KING: So even that's lucky in a sense?

CARTER: It's attitude. A lot of it's attitude, how, you know, it's 90 percent of what your attitude is and 10 percent of what happens to you, right?

KING: Everyone says that. It's very hard to conceive it until you're living it. is not the fire, it's how you react to the fire.

CARTER: Exactly. And I think teaching your children to persevere, to withstand the storms, to move through them, to find some value in the aftermath of a trauma or a traumatic event or disappointment and being able to count on your family.

KING: You're a gutsy lady. You're terrific, too.

CARTER: Larry, it is so great to see you. He's so cute. He's so cute.

KING: I'm cute. Our guest has been Lynda Carter. What a life. Wonder woman. She is every part in "Morrowin," every part just turn it on, she's all the wild women on that one. And you will see her in the new movie comedy "Supertroopers" as the governor of Vermont.

And the "Wonder Woman" episodes are available on Columbia House Home Video. We thank you very much for joining us on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Aaron Brown is next with NEWSNIGHT and good night.