Rick’s Real/Reel Life: Robert Wagner’s Starry-Eyed Memoirs

No tell-all, but Robert Wagner shares some super star memories.

Wagner turns 92 on Feb. 10, 2022. I recently read his 2008 memoirs, Pieces of My Heart, co-written with
Hollywood biographer Scott Eyman. I had mixed feelings about reading RJ’s story,
and it had nothing to do with Natalie Wood’s notorious last night. I wasn’t
expecting much in that regard, anyway.

did enjoy Wagner’s memories of old Hollywood, which he embraced as a young man, but also put him out of step with the new wave of stars. I admired
Robert’s tribute to the showbiz legends that he considered friends and mentors.
For an actor, RJ’s realistic about his place in the Hollywood constellation. However,
I believe that he was considered for another Robert’s role, in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, about
as much as Joan Collins’ claim that she was on stand-by for ailing Liz Taylor
in Cleopatra

had also forgotten that RJ was a major teen idol at Fox back in the ‘50s. And
Robert was indeed a looker who had a smooth charm. You got to hand it to Wagner
to have kept afloat in the ‘60s, when his style went out, much like George
Hamilton. I thought RJ’s calling cards were his great looks, distinctive voice,
and flair for light comedy. These gifts came in handy for a second career as a
TV star.

Robert Wagner when he was a teen heart throb at 20th Century Fox.

I didn’t care for in this memoir was the pettiness that creeps into his
stories. It felt at times more like score-settling than honesty. Wagner makes
a point to show what a ladies’ man he was, with most of recipients of
these romantic “reveals” conveniently dead. RJ also makes a big point to
mention all the times he’s been hit on by gay men in show biz. Why bring all
this up, considering that Wagner’s been long rumored to be bisexual? Sometimes
folks say more than they realize, even show biz folks!

for what happened on Natalie’s last night alive, it’s going to go down in
gossip history along with other famous folks’ mysterious demises. All I will
say is that Wagner’s more forthcoming about Natalie’s personal flaws than his
own—surprise! Yes, film fans will fight about that night for decades to come.
The way I see it, either Robert Wagner is the most misunderstood person on
earth or he’s right up there with O.J. Simpson as the King of Denial. Either
way, somebody will write another book, give another “shocking” interview, or re-open
the case yet again—only to further muddy the waters while cashing in. The
truth, as Tennessee Williams once wrote, is at the bottom of a bottomless well.

Another Robert Wagner &
Scott Eyman collaboration.

Wagner wrote another book with Scott Eyman, called I Loved Her in the Movies: Memories of Hollywood’s Legendary Actresses.
Film historian Eyman most likely did the research and writing and Wagner provided
the remembering, though it’s all in RJ’s voice. Still, this is a fun look at
what made certain movie divas great. Wagner focuses on the positives of the
female film legends discussed, but is also clear-eyed. Whatever RJ’s
contributions were, his history with Hollywood greats is amazing. This is
because Wagner grew up well-to-do, around showbiz folk. He met Norma Shearer
when he was a child, as he was school chums with Irving Thalberg, Jr.! RJ knew
Gloria Swanson during his teens, when he dated her daughter. He was a stable
boy where Greer Garson kept her horses. Wagner was Marilyn Monroe’s partner in
her Fox screen test. And so on… his insights into famous film folks are
fascinating, in that respect. I preferred reading Robert Wagner’s memories of
other people, quite frankly.

My takes of Robert Wagner on film:

Joanne Woodward & Robert Wagner in “A Kiss Before Dying.”

Here’s Robert Wagner as a murderous sociopath in
an Ira Levin adaptation, A Kiss Before


Robert Wagner & Natalie Wood in “All The Fine Young Cannibals.”

Here’s the only time Robert Wagner & Natalie
Wood teamed up for a feature film, in the camp soap opera, All The Fine Young Cannibals:

FYI: I put the movie overflow on my public FB movie
page. Check it out!


Source : https://ricksrealreel.blogspot.com/2022/02/robert-wagners-starry-eyed-memoirs.html

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