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5.0 out of 5 starsYou might not like it because
Reviewed in the United States on May 22, 2017
He cusses a lot in the book and I wasn't expecting that. He's pretty down to earth and some may find that uncomfortable, but he was born in a different era than the majority of younger readers. What caught my interest in the beginning was that he was born in Kalamazoo, MI. I never knew that and here I live just a few miles away. He remembers very fondly his trips "up north." Wow, my own parents were first generation Americans, sent us to Catholic schools and our family vacation was 'Up North." That was before the bridge was built and we had to take a ferry. Throughout my childhood and to this day, I've always been a fan of Robert Wagner and think he's one of the most handsome men in Hollywood. I used to daydream about him. Throughout the book he speaks about his relationships starting from a young child to the present. He comes across as a very social type of man who had many relationships with women and many, many friendships throughout his life. It's not a gossip book or Hollywood tell-all, although there are a few juicy tidbits in there. He goes into depth about the death of Natalie and what life was like after her death. When she died, it was like the world stopped for a bit. Very happy for Jill St. John sticking with him and his children all these years.
3.0 out of 5 starsIt's hard to know what to say...a very mixed bag.
Reviewed in the United States on March 28, 2017
I should begin by saying I have only seen Robert Wagner in NCIS—I have not seen his movies or television series, so I don’t really have an preconceived ideas about him. I knew he had lost his wife in a terrible accident, and that he sort of straddled old and new Hollywood. I came away from this book, which seemed less an autobiography and more a somewhat disjointed collection of anecdotes—with mixed feelings about him. He seems to be a very nice, very shallow man.
As a look into the “golden age” of Hollywood, although no one could live up to the images created on the screen, it is hard not to be disappointed to hear how dissolute many of these very famous people were. The many affairs (faithful marriages seem to be the exception, rather than the rule), the vulgar language, and the sophomoric, crude humor is disappointing, to say the least. I would rather not know that as a party host, Gary Cooper had a man expose himself to his guests continuously (trust me, Mr. Wagner, this is neither sophisticated nor funny), or that David Niven dipped his private parts in a snifter of warm brandy to thaw them out (the context actually makes it somewhat understandable, but it’s a story better kept between friends). Although he does not go into tell-all details about his dalliances, he makes it clear that there were many, and many more opportunities that he turned down (I can’t imagine how his wife feels about his apparent need to share this sort of information with the world).
Yet, I also came away with the idea that Robert Wagner does have something of a moral code, and loyalty is high on his list of values. He makes a point of discussing the kindnesses shown him by top Hollywood stars and how much their help meant to him. Even as he mentions his legal battles over financial agreements, he does not badmouth those he was fighting—he seems to take it in stride, as an ugly part of the industry he chose to be a part of. When he does discuss people he clearly despises, he doesn’t give the impression of someone who is simply trying to publicly settle a score, but instead of someone who is thoroughly disgusted and believes people should know the truth about this person’s behavior. Most of us who have dealt with despicable people can understand wanting the world to see them for what they are. And it is clear that Mr. Wagner has a genuine sense of gratitude, that while he suffered deep loss and pain, he has had great love, great friendships, and great blessings.
In the end, it may be that devoted Robert Wagner fans who are prepared to see some warts on their favorite stars will enjoy this book. There is enough vulgar language to turn off some of us, particularly when that language could easily have been adjusted (I’ve been around a few years so it isn’t that I’ve never heard f-bombs and other obscenities—I’ve just never found them to enhance what a person is trying to say). It is something of a glimpse into old Hollywood, but it isn’t a particularly deep or even enjoyable glimpse—it’s simply...there.
5.0 out of 5 starsNice memoir of what is becoming a forgotten time
Reviewed in the United States on April 12, 2014
Having grown up in basically the same area a couple of decades later, and having relatives and friends in the film industry, this book is a good chronicle of just how it was back in the 50s and 60s in both the "industry" as well as living in Los Angeles in a time before smog, when going to the San Fernando Valley was a day trip, when streetcars ran down Santa Monica Blvd, and so on. Maybe this book was a little more personal for me for a few reasons, which could make me slightly biased in my assessment; I grew up knowing a number of the people he mentions in the book, and my mother was a friend of Mrs. Wagner. Reading this book reminded me how very nice Robert Wagner was known to be. In the early 1970's, I spent the summer in Germany, and when teenage girls that I met found out I was from Beverly Hills, they all (with not a single exception, I think) wanted to know if I knew Robert Wagner. They were a bit disappointed that I didn't know him, but consoled by the fact that my mother knew his mother. I got all their names and addresses and when I returned to California, Mrs. Wagner had him autograph pictures so I could send them to these girls in Germany. He personalized every single autograph to each girl, which, I think, really shows what a nice man he is. Is this book great literature? No. But it is a very pleasant read chronicling the good times and the bad times that he has gone through. Mrs. Wagner said that the reason he was successful was (besides his looks) that he could be counted on to show up on time, know his lines, and was always pleasant to everyone. Basically, he is a really nice man, and (again, I am a bit slanted) this comes through in this book. I know he has just released a new book which sounds as though it is a deeper look at the "golden age" of Hollywood, which should be a great read, and a nice expansion of what Mr. Wagner describes in this book.
5.0 out of 5 starsEasy to read, not easy to put down..
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 21, 2020
I bought this book after enjoying re-runs of Hart to Hart on television recently. I found the style of writing very easy to read and the humour of Mr Wagner shines throughout. His stories of meeting countless big names when he first started in movies and how he learnt from them is entertaining and sometimes educational. His love affairs and marriages get the same treatment. The raw emotion shown when discusing various tragedies in his own life and others is truly moving. I really enjoyed the book and would highly recommend it.
I really enjoyed reading this book. Maybe because it was in RJ's words. I have always liked him as an actor and found it very interesting. He had lovely things to say about most of his fellow actors. I especially liked his stories about David Niven who he seems to have been very fond of.
Knowing his reputation as a "Ladies Man", I thought that if he was too honest, I would not see him in the same light. Love reading autobiographies, but some have left me so disillusioned that I cannot bear to watch or hear them again. Not so this one, he certainly did not appear to take advantage of anyone and came across as being very honest. Really enjoyed it.
Fascinating book about RJW and his life in Hollywood, the death of Natalie Wood, learning a great deal about Hollywood to the present days. If your a film fan this is the book for you,very entertaining and well written.
Loved this book. Robert Wagner has had an interesting life. He comes across as a person who cares for others . I hope the reopening of Natalie Woods death case finds nothing wrong as he obviously loved her very much.