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Pieces of My Heart [Kindle Edition]

Robert J. Wagner , Scott Eyman
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (455 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.99
Kindle Price: $11.79
You Save: $4.20 (26%)
Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
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Book Description

In this moving memoir, Robert J. Wagner opens his heart to share the romances, the drama, and the humor of an incredible life

He grew up in Bel Air next door to a golf course that changed his life. As a young boy, he saw a foursome playing one morning featuring none other than Fred Astaire, Clark Gable, Randolph Scott, and Cary Grant. Seeing these giants of the silver screen awed him and fueled his dreams of becoming a movie star. Battling a revolving door of boarding schools and a father who wanted him to forget Hollywood and join the family business, sixteen-year-old Wagner started like any naïve kid would—walking along Sunset Boulevard, hoping that a producer or director would notice him.

Under the mentorship of stars like Spencer Tracy, he would become a salaried actor in Hollywood's studio system among other hot actors of the moment such as his friends Rock Hudson and Tony Curtis. Working with studio mogul Darryl Zanuck, Wagner began to appear in a number of films alongside the most beautiful starlets—but his first love was Barbara Stanwyck, an actress twice his age. As his career blossomed, and after he separated from Stanwyck, he met the woman who would change his life forever, Natalie Wood. They fell instantly and deeply in love and stayed together until the stress of their careers—hers marching upward, his inexplicably deflating—drove them to divorce.

Trying to forget the pain, he made more movies and spent his time in Europe with the likes of Steve McQueen, Sophia Loren, Peter Sellers, Laurence Olivier, David Niven, Liz Taylor, and Joan Collins. He would meet and marry the beautiful former model and actress Marion Marshall. Together they had a daughter and made their way back to America, where he found himself at the beginning of a new era in Hollywood—the blossoming of television. Lew Wasserman and later Aaron Spelling would work with Wagner as he produced and starred in some of the most successful programs in history.

Despite his newfound success, his marriage to Marion fell apart. He looked no further than Natalie Wood, for whom he still pined. To the world's surprise, they fell in love all over again, this time more deeply and with maturity. As she settled into a domestic life, raising their own daughter, Courtney, as well as their children from previous marriages, Wagner became the sole provider, reaping the riches of television success. Their life together was cut tragically short, though, when Wood died after falling from their yacht.

For the first time, Wagner writes about that tremendously painful time. After a serious bout with depression, he finally resurfaced and eventually married Jill St. John, who helped keep his family and his fractured heart together.

With color photographs and never-before-told stories, this is a quintessentially American story of one of the great sons of Hollywood.



Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Wagner, who moved smoothly from films (A Kiss Before Dying; ThePink Panther) to TV (It Takes a Thief; Hart to Hart), discusses his life, career and four marriages in this dishy tell-all. His strong performance makes the audio a standout among Hollywood memoirs. His voice reveals a great emotional range: the anger he nursed for his remote and critical father; his joy at the births of his daughters; his frustration at some Hollywood insiders' pettiness. At times his voice dips into an intimate tone just above a whisper, such as when describing his first love tryst with Barbara Stanwyck in the early 1950s (he was 22, she was 46) or narrating his devastation after the accidental drowning of wife Natalie Wood in 1981. The final disc features 24 pages of personal photos, which add a good deal to the overall package and should be standard issue with all audio celebrity memoirs. A Harper Entertainment hardcover (Reviews, Aug. 11). (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

“Pieces of My Heart is a treasure. . . . Wagner’s portrait of [Natalie] Wood is adoring and poignant. . . . With admirable strength and honest self-awareness, Wagner makes plain that there’s much more to him than his handsome face.”

Product Details

  • File Size: 1389 KB
  • Print Length: 340 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0061373311
  • Publisher: HarperCollins e-books; Reprint edition (September 9, 2008)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001FA0U5Y
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #107,511 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
152 of 165 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh, RJ -- be still my heart. October 1, 2008
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I initially purchased Robert Wagner's autobiography because his late wife, Natalie Wood, is my favorite movie star. I wanted more insight into her personality. The book does have quite a bit about his two marriages with Natalie, and about the fading studio system in Hollywood in the fifties which brought them together. It also chronicles the devastation brought on by her untimely death by drowning. But this book is a surprisingly compelling portrait of a handsome, charismatic, approachable leading man who has been in the limelight for most of his life.

I really didn't know much about Robert Wagner when I started reading this book. I had seen most of his movies, and I liked his old television series "Hart to Hart" with Stefanie Powers. But I knew nothing of his personal life, or about his background. The depiction of his journey from young rebel to solid leading man to Hollywood icon is told here with great charm and in-depth self-examination.

Of course the big surprise is the revelation of his early romance with the much older Barbara Stanwyck when Wagner was first starting off in Hollywood -- she was twice his age and the relationship lasted four years! But there is fascinating information all through the book about Wagner's love affairs, his co-stars and his friendships with other Hollywood legends. He is especially lovely when writing about his current wife, Jill St. John, herself a sex symbol and Bond girl, who helped him get over Natalie Wood's death. I also like that he writes warmly about his close relationship with his children.

I recommend this book highly to film buffs and those who enjoy movie star biographies and memoirs. Robert Wagner comes across as a wonderful man, and one who is still sexy as all get-out.
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54 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An inside view from an insider October 1, 2008
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
What a worthwhile book! Mr. Wagner has mentally stored a mountain-full of memories that he now shares with us. Wonderful details spanning many years give insight and humanity to people who, for many of us, have always seemed to be on another planet. There are surprises, for sure. I came away from the book "liking" most of these folks, and Mr. Wagner's love and respect for his cohorts is obvious. For those few for which he held disdain, it was for very good reasons. The fame and fortune gleaned from a lifetime in the film business do not seem to be his most treasured prizes at all -- but rather the friendships he amassed.

I found the workings of the Hollywood studio system as well as his transition to television -- and the differences between the two, to be quite interesting. He certainly was well established in both arenas.

The telling of his life story indicates to me that Mr. Wagner is a man of principle, a man with admirable values and a man of deep emotion. I am definitely not star struck, a groupie, or an autograph collector. But I think I would just like to be Robert Wagner's next door neighbor.

I encourage you to read this book. It's the old "I couldn't put it down" thing.
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51 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So readable and genuine September 29, 2008
Format:Hardcover
I had to give this a 5 star because it seemed so honest and genuinely
moving. At the end of the book, I have to say I LIKED Robert Wagner.
I think people he calls a friend are very lucky indeed. He seems to have
real values. Anyone who likes "star" bios will certainly not be disappointed with this book.
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121 of 152 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointment in you RJ April 18, 2010
Format:Hardcover
RJ,
Knowing you since 1981, I was so saddened and surprised and deeply hurt about all of the fiction in your book. The part that hurt the most is what you said about my husband Sidney Sheldon. I have a copy of his original script ... "Double Twist" and an orginal copy of the "Hart to Hart" script. Basically, the changes in the script are the names of the characters and adding the delightful dog, Freeway. In Sidney's "Double Twist", the story takes place at the Golden whatever spa ... just as it does in Hart to Hart ... the character of Sylvia is still the same. The man going over the cliff is the same. The car chase scene between "Jonathan" and "Jennifer" ... only in "Twist" their names are "Alex" and "Penelope". The character of Max is called Taylor in "Double Twist". The story is almost identical. For you to say it was trash and say it was about two men living together with a bed coming down in the living room is outrageous and extremely hurtful not only to me ... but to Sidney's daughter Mary, and his two granddaughters, Elizabeth and Rebecca. Sidney had the idea of the Thin Man series in Double Twist .. I have the original script, as I said, and will gladly print it for all to see alongside the original script of "Hart to Hart for everyone to see how identical they are." I thought we were friends. You have been nearly lifelong friends with my brother in law, Roderick Mann and friends with my sister Anastasia for over 30 years. You were extremely wonderful to my daughter, Kimberly, who was in 26 "Hart to Harts", before she was killed by a drunk driver. Natalie and I were childhood friends and she used to parade me around at the studio and say she was my sister, since we looked so much alike.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
I really enjoyed this, perhaps even more than I thought I would. Wagner is forthright about himself as well as others, and his recollections about actors such as Robert Mitchum and... Read more
Published 4 days ago by Renee T.
5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting... so much information and insight ...
Very interesting...so much information and insight about old Hollywood as well as his personal life. I was pleasantly surprised and impressed. Want to read his newest book now.
Published 7 days ago by lw
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
routine order
Published 13 days ago by farida
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Job!
excellent reading so far- I only have started reading and it gets more interesting as I go.. R.J. did a beautiful job of writing. His Dedication to writing in this book is great! Read more
Published 18 days ago by shortround
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Really enjoyed this book..
Published 1 month ago by christine shipp
1.0 out of 5 stars A Tremendous Fantasy Tale
Don't even waste your time with this book. It is biased and all about a narcissistic wannabe actor who thinks writing this book with the help of another author will make his... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars This is great reading and a lot of fun
Robert Wagner has had a very interesting life. This is great reading and a lot of fun.
Published 1 month ago by Barbara L. Chine
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Entertaining.
Published 1 month ago by marshbook
5.0 out of 5 stars A very
A very well written book. It flowed well and held your interest through out.
Facts were well distributed with pictures to enlighten.
Published 1 month ago by Jeanette marrandette
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A heartfelt review of his life.
He shares and opens up about his life and career.
Published 1 month ago by voyant5
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