In a career that has spanned more than sixty years, Robert Wagner has witnessed the Golden Age of Hollywood as well as the rise of television, becoming a beloved star in both. Currently, he is reoccurring guest star on the CBS-TV hit series, NCIS. While Wagner was still a young man under contract to 20th Century Fox, Darryl F. Zanuck cast him in With a Song in My Heart. His teary performance as crippled soldier responding to the singing of Susan Hayward endeared him to both the studio and the public. Though only a minute in duration, it was the part to launch a storied career.
Among Wagner's early films were Halls of Montezuma (1951) and With a Song in My Heart (1952). He appeared with screen legend Barbara Stanwyck in Titanic (1953), portrayed the title role in Prince Valiant (1954) and learned about his craft from working with Spencer Tracy in Broken Lance (1954) and The Mountain (1956).
In 1976, Sir Laurence Olivier chose Wagner to star with him in the television adaptation of Tennessee Williams' play, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, in which Wagner co-starred with his wife, the late Natalie Wood. He also starred in This Gun for Hire, Danielle Steel's Jewels and To Catch a King.
However, Wagner may be best known for starring in the hit television shows It Takes a Thief (1968–70) with Fred Astaire where he was nominated for an Emmy, Switch (1975–78) with Eddie Albert and Sharon Gless, and Hart to Hart (1979–84) where he and Stefanie Powers played a crime solving duo. He has also appeared more recently on Two and a Half Men.
In film, Wagner is loved for his roles as Number Two in the Austin Powers trilogy of films (1997, 1999, 2002), and George Lytton in Peter Sellers’ The Pink Panther. A small sample of his numerous film credits include: A Kiss Before Dying, The Longest Day, Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, The Curse of the Pink Panther, Midway, The Towering Inferno, Harper, The True Story of Jesse James, All the Fine Young Cannibals and the cult classic, Wild Things.
Wagner's autobiography, Pieces of My Heart: A Life, written with author Scott Eyman in 2008, debuted at #3 on the New York Times Bestseller List. In 2014, he and Scott published You Must Remember This: Life and Style in Hollywood's Golden Age. which gave an inside look at his life and career, from caddying for Clark Gable as a teen to friendships with the biggest Hollywood names of our time. Most recently in 2016, Wagner and Eyman published I Loved Her in the Movies: Memories of Hollywood's Legendary Actresses which details the lives of the remarkable women who were the greatest screen personalities of their day.In addition to all his film and television ventures, Wagner has toured the world performing A.R. Gurney’s Love Letters, with Stefanie Powers, who were the first to launch the tour internationally. He performed Love Letters again, this time with his wife, Jill St. John, breaking house records and including a sold-out three week engagement at the Royal George Theater in Chicago.
Wagner enjoys golfing and spending time with Jill St. John (his wife of twenty-eight years), his three daughters, Katie, Natasha and Courtney, his grandson Riley, and beloved German Shepard, Max.
RJ, as he is called by friends, is attending the Film Festival for the first time. The Saturday evening screening will be Broken Lance (1954), in which he played Joe Devereaux. The movie also starred Spencer Tracy, Jean Peters and Richard Widmark. A post film panel led by Ben Mankiewicz will include author Scott Eyman, and Wagner in a discussion of Wagner’s memories on making the film. There will be a Q & A following the discussion.
Sunday @ 2:00 PM there will be a screening of Wagner’s 1957 film, The True Story of Jesse James.
I Loved Her in the Movies: Memories of Hollywood's Legendary Actresses will be available in the Museum store. Robert will also be autographing books during the weekend. Please see Museum staff or Ticket office for schedule.