The Women of Wonder Woman

2 of 10

Actress Cathy Lee Crosby on August 30, 1983 dining at Chasen’s Restaurant in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)

Cathy Lee Crosby

Cathy Lee Crosby played professional tennis and studied psychology at USC before she sort of stumbled into an acting career. It seemed like a natural fit for a 5 ft 8 in California blonde, especially in the early 1970s. After a few minor TV roles, Crosby was cast to play Wonder Woman in a 1974 TV movie.

The plot was based on the Bronze Age of Wonder Woman which took place in the late 1960s and early 1970s. In this era, Wonder Woman no longer wore the famous star-spangled leotard, boots, and tiara. She was more of a female James Bond, a pantsuit-wearing government agent with a special set of skills. Originally intended to be a pilot for a television series, the show received poor ratings and was not picked up as a series. It did, however, go down in history as the first live action portrayal of Wonder Woman.

In a 1974 interview with The Lakeland Ledger, Crosby downplayed Wonder Woman’s toughness to make her more palatable during the time of women’s liberation. “It’s a fantasy,” she said. “If you’re looking at something that is supposed to reflect real life but doesn’t, that’s bad. If it’s a fantasy and everyone knows it, then anything goes.”

Fortunately, Warner Brothers and ABC decided to head back to the drawing board and return Wonder Woman to her mythological roots. A year later, the Wonder Woman TV series we know and love premiered as a TV movie starring Lynda Carter in the titular role. Crosby went on to become the co-host of a popular 80s TV show, That’s Incredible!