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Pieces of My Heart Hardcover – September 23, 2008

4.1 out of 5 stars 577 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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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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.” (Washington Post)

“Mesmerizing” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Engaging” (Publishers Weekly)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 326 pages
  • Publisher: ItBooks; 1 edition (September 23, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061373311
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061373312
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (577 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #598,907 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was a sad read for me. It is not easy to grow old and to become dispensable and invisible. I expect it's many times harder for those who are in the public eye and have gotten comfortable with the idea of their own importance. He worked way too hard to convince the audience that he slept with everyone, was everyone's confidant, and never stopped loving Natalie. He seems to be remembering the past as he wishes it was, rather than the reality. If so, I hope it gives him peace.
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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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