Thursday, September 18, 2008

RJ Wagner finds a piece of peace in Aspen


Robert Wagner and Jill St. John are probably Colorado’s most celebrated couple — and hands down the most cordial.

I’ve met Wagner on several occasions — and you aren’t gonna find a more generous guy in Aspen, where he’s lived with St. John since 1995, full-time since 2007.

Wagner’s autobiography comes out next week. “Pieces of My Heart” traces a remarkable public and private life with enough triumph and tragedy for a movie-of-the-week, and Wagner’s made plenty of those.

His life has included films (good and bad), a lot of TV (most recently “Two and a Half Men”) and a parade of women, including Barbara Stanwick (he was 22, she was 45, and I bet she chewed nails for breakfast), and Liz Taylor (“She’s so beautiful, so sweet, just a wonderful person,” he tells the NY Times in a recent interview. “It just scrambles your brains up — in a good way.”)

He married Natalie Wood twice, and hooked up with St. John after Wood’s death.

Since then, Aspen and Colorado have been focal points in his life. It’s where he finally found his peace.

Wagner and St. John live on 7 1/2 acres - in a house they built, with view of mountains and trees, but not other houses. He writes that it is here that he is at home - forever.

“When my time comes, I will be buried in Aspen, in an old cemetery that was originally laid out in the nineteenth century,” he writes at the end of his book. “A lot of children are buried there, and it’s in the middle of a glade of aspen and birch trees - very wild and overgrown. As soon as someone is laid to rest, the land is allowed to return to its natural state … It’s absolutely pure and totally peaceful.”

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