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Pieces of My Heart: A Life Hardcover – September 23, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Actor and producer Wagner begins this engaging memoir by recalling his childhood fascination with movies and the Hollywood community. Determined to become a part of that world, in 1942, at age 12, he worked as a golf caddy, struggling to make contact with those who could help him. As an 18-year-old Fox contract player, he got a foothold with minor roles: I wasn't very good in this period, but I was diligent. Soon he scored with Prince Valiant in 1954, and A Kiss Before Dying, thus beginning a six-decade career in theater, television series and more than 100 movies. His rule of thumb: Find smart people and listen to them. Along the way, he realized friends and family were equally as important as show business, and he writes with fondness and humor about his close friendships with David Niven and others while painting a backdrop of Hollywood in transition. As for the women in Wagner's life, he details one-night stands, his four-year affair with Barbara Stanwyck (who was twice his age) and his four marriages (twice to Natalie Wood). His love for Wood threads throughout, and his memory of her last night is chilling as he leads the reader step-by-step through her 1981 disappearance from their boat and the search for her body. (Oct.)
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“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.” (Washington Post)
“Mesmerizing” (Kirkus Reviews)
“Engaging” (Publishers Weekly)