Sunday, September 21, 2008

Robert Wagner reveals affair with Barbara Stanwyck

NEW YORK - Robert Wagner's long-awaited autobiography "Pieces of My Heart," written with Scott Eyman, is officially in book stores Tuesday. It's a terrific read: classy like Wagner and full of interesting showbiz stories and insights.

During the course of his long-distance movie career, Wagner has worked with a staggering number of iconic headliners -- such names as Spencer Tracy, Audrey Hepburn, Laurence Olivier, John Ford, Sophia Loren, James Cagney, Paul Newman, Fred Astaire, Blake Edwards, Steve McQueen and Elizabeth Taylor only scratch the surface. And those he didn't work with often were good pals, making his look back on the 58 colorful years he has spent in the movie business a star-studded and fascinating tale. (Wagner's first film, at age 19, was an unbilled turn in a 1950 MGMer called "The Happy Years.")

Like the Sondheim song says, he's been through it all -- from the era of Hollywood's contract system to today's Mike Myers movies -- and he's definitely still here. Few could spin stories with the star power that's been a part of Wagner's world: Tracy, Astaire and Frank Sinatra rank particularly high with him; director Ronald Neame and a few others less so.

He also discusses for the first time the drowning death of wife Natalie Wood in 1981 and reveals something that has long been an R.J. secret: a romantic relationship with Barbara Stanwyck, who was 23 years his senior and his co-star in the 1953 Fox biggie "Titanic."

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