Robert John Wagner was born in Detroit, and his family moved to Los Angeles when he was seven. Always wanting to be an actor, he held a variety of jobs (including one as a caddy for Clark Gable while pursuing his goal, but it was while dining with his parents at a restaurant in Beverly Hills that he was "discovered" by a talent scout. He had a bit part in The Happy Years (1950), but it was a small part as a crippled soldier in the Susan Hayward film With a Song in My Heart (1952) that got him attention. His fresh, all-American looks landed him a contract with 20th Century-Fox, which put him in a succession of undemanding roles in Technicolor pictures where his looks were more important than his talent (Beneath the 12-Mile Reef (1953), Prince Valiant (1954)), but he did manage to show that he was indeed an actor of talent in several showy roles in smaller pictures (A Kiss Before Dying (1956), Between Heaven and Hell (1956)). As he became one of Fox's rising young stars, the studio, as was customary back then, set him up with a host of nubile young actresses, among them Debbie Reynolds. While the pairing didn't lead to any romance, it did lead to a lifelong friendship.
In 1957, Wagner fell in love with 18 year old actress Natalie Wood and they married later that year on December 28. However, the marriage was short-lived, lasting just three years. Wagner had a supporting role in The War Lover (1962), and went to Europe to make the movie The Longest Day (1962). In Europe, he met with his old friend Marion Marshall. They began a romance and married on July 22, 1963. He helped raise her two sons by director Stanley Donen. On May 11, 1964, the couple had a daughter, Katie Wagner. For the first several years, R.J. and Marion seemed to be very happy, but Wagner's lagging career put stress on the marriage. In 1968, he reluctantly went into television to star in "It Takes a Thief" (1968) (later he would say it was the right move). The series lasted three seasons, ending in 1970. Wagner briefly returned to the big screen opposite Paul Newman in Winning (1969). Wagner's career seemed to be thriving, but his personal life was not. He and Marion went their separate ways and divorced in 1971 after nearly a decade together.
Over the next two years, Wagner struggled to find work. In 1971, he became engaged to Tina Sinatra, but they ended their engagement in January 1972. Just six months later, on July 16, 1972, he remarried Natalie Wood after a brief reunion. On March 9, 1974, they had a daughter, Courtney Wagner. Wagner went on to appear in the blockbuster "disaster film" The Towering Inferno (1974), starring Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, and Faye Dunaway. He also starred in two successful television series. The first was the police series "Switch" (1975) with Eddie Albert, and the series lasted three years before its cancellation in 1978. The second was playing Stefanie Powers' husband in the hit mystery series "Hart to Hart" (1979)), which would run for five years. His professional and personal lives seemed to be right on track. Then on November 29, 1981, Natalie drowned in a freak boating accident. Shortly after, at the beginning of 1982, Wagner began a relationship with actress Jill St. John, whom he had first met in the 1950s when he was an up-and-coming actor and she (like Wood) was a teenage starlet. Wagner starred in Curse of the Pink Panther (1983), and had another television series "Lime Street" (1985), which was short-lived. He and Jill finally married on May 26, 1990 after eight years together.
Wagner has since revived his career as the eye-patch-wearing henchman Number Two to Mike Myers' sinister Dr. Evil in the spy spoofs Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997), Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999), and Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002). He also became the host of Fox Movie Channel's "Hour of Stars" (1955), which shows recently discovered and restored episodes of the old television anthology series "The 20th Century-Fox Hour" (1955), some of which Wagner himself had starred in. In 2008, he began a recurring role on the hit sitcom "Two and a Half Men" (2003). Later that year, he published his autobiography "Pieces of My Heart".
|Jill St. John||(26 May 1990 - present)|
|Natalie Wood||(16 July 1972 - 29 November 1981) (her death) 1 child|
|Marion Marshall||(22 July 1963 - 26 April 1971) (divorced) 1 child|
|Natalie Wood||(28 December 1957 - 27 April 1962) (divorced)|
Best known as Jonathan Hart on the television series "Hart to Hart" (1979).
He and wife Jill St. John have appeared in six movies together: Banning (1967), How I Spent My Summer Vacation (1967) (TV), "Around the World in 80 Days" (1989/I), The Player (1992), Something to Believe In (1998), and The Calling (2002/I). They also appeared together in episodes of "Hart to Hart" (1979) and "Seinfeld" (1990).
He sued Aaron Spelling Productions for $20 million in June 2000, charging that he was cheated out of profits on the Fox series "Beverly Hills, 90210" (1990). He claimed that he was entitled to profits as part of a ten-year-old settlement between producer Aaron Spelling and Fox that gave Spelling the right to produce "Beverly Hills, 90210" in exchange for "Angels 88", a never-produced series in which Wagner had a stake. According to the suit, the conflict dates back to 1973 when he and his wife, Natalie Wood, made a deal with Spelling to submit ideas for pilots to ABC. One idea that the couple submitted led to the show "Charlie's Angels" (1976). Following the terms of their deal, Spelling), Wagner and Wood equally shared profits from the series. In 1988 Spelling developed a new series, "Angels 88". According to the terms of their contract, Wagner was to receive 7.5% profit participation -- whether or not he rendered services. Fox committed to the series, without his knowledge, and then reneged, giving Spelling "Beverly Hills, 90210" instead. Since Spelling was given "Beverly Hills, 90210" in exchange for an asset in which Wagner had an interest, Wagner claimed that he is entitled to the same profit participation on "Beverly Hills, 90210" as he had on "Angels 88". The suit alleges breach of contract and fraud and seeks 7.5% of gross profits from "Beverly Hills, 90210" as well as damages of not less than $20 million.
Wagner refuses to speak and/or communicate with former sister-in-law Lana Wood or any members of his late wife's family; Lana Wood has indicated in printed publications that she believes Wagner played a part in her sister's death. In spring 2000, a Vanity Fair cover shoot featuring all actresses playing Bond girls in every Bond film was broken up after an encounter by Lana Wood and Wagner's wife Jill St. John escalated into a major argument on the set. Wood and St. John's feuding with each other dates back to 1971, when they both appeared in Diamonds Are Forever (1971).
After being submerged at one point in an industrial strength foaming agent during the bathtub scene in The Pink Panther (1963), went blind for four weeks. The studio wanted Wagner replaced, but director Blake Edwards stuck by him and he finished the picture.
Cooperated with Gavin Lambert (author of the novel and screenplay Inside Daisy Clover (1965) that starred Wagner's late wife Natalie Wood on Lambert's 2004 biography "Natalie Wood." A friend of Wood's, Lambert believed that Wood's memory was sullied by the tabloid headlines generated by her tragic death, with the result that no one remembers his friend as a human being, and so wrote the book to correct the public's misconceptions about Wood.
The son of a wealthy steel executive.
When he was seven, his family moved to Los Angeles, where Wagner attended military academies and the Havard School. In 1949, he graduated Santa Monica High School as Senior Class President.
His first acting break came when one of his friends took him to Warner Bros. to meet the head of casting. After an interview and a reading, he was told that the studio would use him in two or three bit parts coming up in the near future. Two days later a strike postponed all production plans, so it was back to school for Robert Wagner.
For many years, his bungalow at Universal Studios was a stop on their tour. He was an important star at the studio with a successful run of three television series. Lucille Ball, another star with a long run of success on television had the same bungalow and tour stop prior to Robert Wagner.
Spokesman for the Senior Lending Network and the Guardian First Funding Group.
He was awarded 2 Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Motion Pictures at 7021 Hollywood Boulevard and for Recording at 7001 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.
Dedicated his autobiography, "Pieces of My Heart" to his mother and sister, daughters Katie Wagner and Courtney Wagner, former stepdaughter Natasha Gregson Wagner and to his wife, Jill St. John. He thanked them for being, "the meaning of his life".
Had a long association with Eddie Albert, who was said to be one of his childhood heroes.
Life isn't full of 'what ifs'. Only 'what is'.
[on wife Jill St. John]: She's always been magical with me.
[on his daily routine with wife Jill St. John]: We get up in the morning. I feed the birds. My wife feeds me. Together we feed the animals.
My wife was a Bond Girl, so I play James Bond in real life every day.
When I can't sleep, I'll start thinking about how many shows I've done, count up the number of television shows and movies.
[Regarding his grief at the 1988 drowning of wife Natalie Wood]: When Natalie died, I was embittered. I still get angry about it and I wonder why it had to happen. I have all those feelings of grief and anger that people who've lost someone they love always have. I had lived a charmed life, and then I lost a beautiful woman I loved with all my heart.
[In 2009, on late wife Natalie Wood]: I have talked to her on occasion - let's just say I feel her presence.
[on writing his memoir, "Pieces of My Heart"]: I had a difficult time letting it go. I had such anxiety about it.
[When Natalie Wood began dating Warren Beatty]: I wanted to kill that son of a bitch . . . I was hanging around outside his house with a gun, hoping he would walk out. I not only wanted to kill him, I was prepared to kill him. [A friend talked Wagner into going into psychoanalysis, instead.]
I should have realised our marriage could have gone on a bit longer if she'd gone into therapy. Of course there was work to do in our relationship, but I wanted her attention to be with me and I thought this was another thing that would take her away from me. I was wrong. But when you are young you don't have that kind of perception. I wanted her to be with me. I wanted to be the one that could help her. "After the divorce I had to work on myself. I was a very jealous person and I had to address that.
[After Natalie Wood's death in 1981]: Jill St. John didn't try to put the lights on the Christmas tree; she was just there for me. I was shattered. I don't think our relationship could have gone anywhere until I put those pieces together again; and with Jill's help, and a lot of other people's help, I started to do that. It's still [as of 2009] in progress. But I'm very happy at the moment. I'm more down to who I really am. It's important to enjoy life as it comes and be able to see without tears in my eyes.
[on wife Jill St. John]: Jill is very bright, very caring, and has what I can only call a gift for life . . . Jill has always been there. You can't ask for more from any human being. Plus, there is the fact that she's loving, and caring, a wonderful wife, 100 percent for me.
My daughters are my pride.
[on dating Elizabeth Taylor]: It was like sticking an eggbeater in your brain.
[on his on- and off-screen chemistry with Eddie Albert, who played Frank MacBride on "Switch" (1975)]: Eddie was a very, very accomplished actor, I admired him tremendously. We had great fun together. I knew his wife, Margo, and before we worked together, and it was really an enjoyable time. We worked together for about 4 years on that. I really enjoyed it, I had a great deal of respect for Eddie, I thought the world of it.
[When he defined Eddie Albert, who starred with him on "Switch" (1975), about his longtime friend's real-life experience as a lieutenant in the Navy, prior to becoming a young movie star]: Eddie Albert was an interesting man who possessed what could legitimately be termed a big set of balls. Before World War II, he was a contract actor at Warner Bros. when he had an affair with Jack Warner's wife, Ann. One time they were making love when Jack walked in and discovered them. As Jack told me, 'I didn't mind that so much; it was the fact that he didn't stop that bothered me.' Well, that little episode got Eddie blacklisted for a while.
[Of Eddie Albert]: In almost all respects, he was an admirable man. But with his life experiences, Eddie wasn't fazed by things like stealing scenes, and he could be a bit devious and scratchy at times - about his character, his wardrobe, everything. Basically, he wanted to play both his part and mine, and sometimes he stole scenes for the hell of it. In his heart of hearts, he would have been very happy if 'Switch' had been called 'The Eddie Albert Show.' That said, I've always had affection for a theatrical rogue, and Eddie and I got along fine, mostly because if Eddie was going to steal scenes, so was I. Game on! For three years, we had a very pleasant competition.
[If Eddie Albert was instrumental with "Switch" (1975)]: To work with Eddie, he was a tremendous actor, had a tremendous background, and he loved acting. And when Larry did the "Switch" (1975) with us, he can tell you that Eddie Albert was a tremendous person to work with.
|All the Fine Young Cannibals (1960)||$75,000|
|You may report errors and omissions on this page to the IMDb database managers. They will be examined and if approved will be included in a future update. Clicking the 'Edit page' button will take you through a step-by-step process.|
|With our Resume service you can add photos and build a complete resume to help you achieve the best possible presentation on the IMDb.|
Click here to add your resume and/or your photos to IMDb.