Handsome, suave, and sophisticated, Robert J. Wagner has starred in more than 100 films and television series over the past 50 years. In this deeply personal story, he recalls his rise to stardom. He talks candidly about his relationships with some of the greatest stars of the 20th century, including Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor, Barbara Stanwyck, and, for the first time, he shares the details of his two marriages to Natalie Wood. Wagner also offers a fascinating look at Hollywood during the last half of the 20th century.
©2008 Robert J. Wagner; (P)2008 HarperCollins Publishers
This is an interesting autobiography. Mr. Wagner narrates his story himself (and sounds more like a 30-year-old than a 78-year-old; his voice has not aged at all), and he does a fine job with it. It's also a generous autobiography, in that Mr. Wagner is more interested in chronicling what went right with his life and praising those who helped him and those whom he loved and loves (Natalie Wood, Jill St. John) than tearing people down.
The only problem is that this is an abridged version, so some parts will leave you puzzled. Out of left field there's a comment about Hjordis, Mrs. David Niven; it's clear that Mr. Wagner doesn't think she was good for David Niven, but why? The answer is doubtless in an abridged part.
Some critics over on Amazon.com have said that Mr. Wagner doesn't say enough about the night of Natalie Wood's death, but the account here is plausible. And please--can't the public let this go? It must have been difficult enough to write about (and narrate) this part without going on for a long time about this painful episode.
There were few downbeat moments in R.J. Wagner's life story reading. His voice seems as young and vigorous as ever and he has many interesting things to relate about his 60 years of interacting with Hollywood's famous, from caddying for Clark Gable to his television years in Hart to Hart. There is more to his life than his marriages to and loss of Natalie Wood.
I'm glad to have finally read the truth. Mr. Wagner waited a long time to tell his side, but it closed the door on what really happened with Natalie Wood and his family. He covered all the stories that were out there with the truth. You will know it's the truth, because he didn't deny any of them. I ended his book with a renewed respect for him and what really happened.
Boring, uninteresting!!! If the reader, Robert Wagner, himself, is a seasoned actor, you would not know it by this reading. A 5th grader could read it with more emotion. What a shame!!!
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