Monday, November 02, 2009

'NCIS' exclusive: Robert Wagner to play Tony's dad!

ncis_wagner_lIf nothing else, NCIS‘ upcoming 150th episode will be remembered for one thing: introducing us to Tony’s dad!

Veteran actor Robert Wagner — yes, the former Jonathan Hart himself! — has been cast as the dad of Michael Weatherly’s TV sleuth, sources confirm to me exclusively. Father and son will reunite in NCIS‘ milestone episode, slated to air in January.

Got a case of déjà vu? It’s probably because Weatherly played Wagner in the 2004 TV movieThe Mystery of Natalie Wood.

TV’s No. 1 show has an impressive track record when it comes to casting fathers of its lead characters. Previous daddy coups include Michael Nouri (as Ziva’s pa) and Ralph Waite (as Gibbs’ dad).

Thursday, October 29, 2009

It Takes a Thief - The Classic 1968 Robert Wagner Series is Rumored for DVD Release!

No definite announcement yet, so we officially have to call this 'gossip' for now

Are you sitting down? The rumors have reached our ears, from a VERY reliable industry source who spoke on condition of remaining anonymous, that the classic Robert Wagner series It Takes a Thief, which ran on ABC for 3 seasons (from 1968-1970), is finally going to come to DVD!

The series co-starred Malachi Throne, who had key guest roles in such classic shows as Star Trek ("Commodore Mendez"), Batman ("False Face", which is said to be that show's more family-friendly version of the classic villian Two-Face), Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea ("Blackbeard the Pirate") and Babylon 5 ("Centauri Prime Minister"), among many others in his long career. The legendary Fred Astaire had a recurring role in the show's last season, and another recurring role was had by the ever-lovely Susan Saint James (Kate & Allie, McMillan & Wife).

There are many more recurring stars and guest stars to mention from the show's 66-episode run, but we'll save that for the official announcement, if and when that comes! Right now this DVD is just gossip, officially, but it comes from a source that has always proven to be right on the money. We'll fill you in once we find out which studio is involved (it may have been sub-licensed), and what else we can expect about the show's release. Stay tuned!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Traveling with the Stars: Robert Wagner

Actor Robert Wagner, who appears occasionally on CBS' Two and a Half Men, chronicles his six decades in show business in his bestselling memoir Pieces of My Heart, which will be released in paperback on Sept. 15. He spent part of the 1960s living in Italy and France but now resides in Aspen., Colo., with actress Jill St. John, his wife of 19 years. He shares his travel highlights and tips.

Q: Where have you been recently that you liked or were surprised by?

A: I was in Beaune (in the Burgundy region). I had driven through there before but this time was a tremendous experience. I was really taken by it. I love the French country. I was able to appreciate it and accept it more this time. Some friends of ours asked us to go with them and this one man is very much into wine. He was able to open some doors for me at cellars that were incredible. I hadn't been aware of those wines in that part of the world. I stayed at L'Hôtel de Beaune. It was just wonderful. I'm not very good at those long dinners. I'm more of a bistro and country cooking (man). That's what I like — simplicity… and this time was such a simple travel experience for me and that always makes it better.

Q: What's the best place you've ever visited?

A: I lived in Saint Paul de Vence, France, for a year in the 1960s. What did I do? I lived. I drank it all in. I took it into my soul. I did a movie. I had given up my apartment in Rome. Oh, it was a wonderful time. I lived at La Colombe d'Or and I never thought that would happen to me. David Niven had introduced me to the hotel and I had heard about it. I got to know the people who ran it, the Roux family. I just loved it there. I felt so at home and they were so warm to me and nice. It was a great privilege to be able to stay there for that length of time. I've been back several times. It's very romantic. I was back there with my (second) wife (Marion Marshall), who is the mother of my daughter Katie. I was back there with Natalie (he married actress Natalie Wood twice) and with Jill. That whole valley is so captivating and the warmth and feeling of the people and the feeling of life is there. I had no obligations then. Natalie and I had divorced and I was kind of on my own. And then Marion and I went there. Timing is it. It just worked for me and I was able to take it in, thank God.

Now all of these places have changed so much because of the people who have found them and go there. It's just become overpowering. The thing about traveling for me is the culture and being able to engage yourself in it. You find that the basic needs and wants and caring are all the same, particularly when you see people with children and young people.

Q: What's the most surprising/unexpected place you're ever visited?

A: I lived in Rome for three years. I was there at such a great time, in the 60s when all of the motion picture industry was centered around there. Cleopatra was being made. We made The Pink Panther there. It was just a joyous, wonderful, wonderful time. Rome was the place. All of the wonderful directors were there. They were making these great films and I wanted to be a part of it. I worked for Vittorio De Sica and with Sophia Loren. It all worked for me. It was a continual surprise. Every corner you go around is just unbelievable. You go around the corner and you're in a piazza you never thought you'd ever be in. Italy is so special to me because of the fact that I had the opportunity of living there for that length of time as a foreigner and that's a great gift to be given. I learned Italian but I speak like Tonto. I learned enough to get along. I haven't been to Italy for a while. Rome has changed a lot.

Q: What's your favorite vacation spot?

A: I love Paris. I've been going there for quite a while. I have friends there and I really enjoy it. I find it so romantic. I love the lighting. I walk all over. I think it has a great deal of softness. I was at a dinner one night with a woman and I was talking to her about the clouds. They have such special, special skies in Paris. She told me it's because the surface of the earth is closer. In some of the Impressionist paintings you see the clouds and how well they're represented. The reason is because they have those very special skies. I love the trees and the smells and the people. My French is not very good at all but it doesn't make any difference because I've got the feeling. I'm going to France for a wedding and I'll take the train into Paris. Taking the train through the French countryside is absolutely fabulous. It takes a lot to pull me away from where I am now because of where I live. The Rocky Mountains of Colorado are just superb.

Q: Can you offer an insider tip or recommendation for your favorite vacation place?

A: I've never been in a bistro in France that I haven't liked. I love going to restaurants. I really like the country food. In Paris I love the Brasserie Lipp and La Coupole. I love to get some French bread, a little salami and a cold bottle of white wine and go into Rodin's Garden.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Natalie Wood's Death Probed 30 Years Later

THIS weekend -- ending tonight -- Lincoln Center has sponsored a Natalie Wood retrospective.

Natalie Wood. Glorious wide-eyed brunette. Movie star married to movie star Robert Wagner. Oscar nominee for "Splendor in the Grass" and "Rebel Without a Cause" co-starring James Dean. At age 43, on Nov. 29, 1981, in sight of her yacht Splendour, she drowned off Santa Catalina Island's Blue Cavern Point. Police ruled it accidental death.

Coming out now is the book "Goodbye Natalie, Goodbye Splendour." Last year I was told, "Don't mention this manuscript until everyone figures out how to do it. It's too hot. Right now we're talking about a lie-detector test." Recently an advance copy arrived, and I was told, "Write about it."

It's the words of the yacht's captain, Dennis Davern. The back cover says this "is the long awaited, detailed account of events that led to the mysterious death of Hollywood legend Natalie Wood . . . a story told by a haunted witness to that fateful evening." The cover says Davern's version of that evening's events was initially the same as Wagner's, but that now Davern feels he somehow failed Natalie.

Capt. Dennis Davern reached out to a collaborator, his friend Marti Rulli, "and little by little, at his own emotional pace," talked "of the fateful weekend Natalie died, and of the events following her death that prevented him from telling the whole story -- until now."

The captain said: "It's the kind of story that never goes away . . . and, you know, you just have to do this for her."

His story includes words like "drunkenness . . . screamed profanities . . . raging mad . . . wine bottle smashed . . . "broken glass . . . master stateroom in disarray . . . terrible argument . . . "

The last chapter claims Dennis Davern "willingly agreed to a polygraph test and a hypnosis session to validate his truth" -- and "passed."

The book's imprint is Medallion Publishing Inc. of Beverly Hills.

Click here for more info on "Goodbye Natalie, Goodbye Splendour."

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Actor Robert Wagner still wows the crowd in Stuart, FL

Tina Bowerman, center, talks with Robert Wagner during a luncheon and book signing of Wagner's book "Pieces of My Heart," Friday in Palm City.

Tina Bowerman, center, talks with Robert Wagner during a luncheon and book signing of Wagner's book "Pieces of My Heart," Friday in Palm City.

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PALM CITY - Film and television star Robert J. Wagner talks with guest who came out for the signing of his book, "Pieces of My Heart," at a luncheon in Palm City. The luncheon was to benefit the Blake Library.

— He's a movie star and a television heartthrob. Depending on your age, you remember him as a teenage heartthrob, the stylish rogue in "It Takes a Thief," the romantic leading man in "Hart to Hart" or the evil No. 2 in the Austin Powers movies.

Robert Wagner's career spans more than 60 years.

"Natalie Wood and I came to Stuart for our honeymoon," he told a crowd of more than 400 women and a sprinkling of men gathered at a luncheon at the Harbour Ridge Yacht and Country Club in Palm City to raise money for the Blake Library. "We didn't stay too long. It was before Stuart was what it is today. Natalie wanted something a little more romantic."

Wagner, 79, oozes romance. Dressed in khaki slacks, cashmere sports coat, yellow shirt and dark tie, he held the crowd's attention for almost two hours. Interviewed by the co-author Scott Eyman of their best-selling book "Pieces of My Heart: A Life," Wagner talked about his road to fame. Seated at his side was Jill St. John, who looks so much like the Jill St. John of 20 years ago it's a bit surprising.

With her trademark red hair tousled in a poodle cut, a white suit with peplum jacket and black suede heels to match a silk flower at her throat, she enthusiastically carried on conversations at her lunch table and watched her husband intently as he told stories of the good old days.

Wagner's desire to act was ignited when he was only 10 years old and working as a caddy at the Bel-Air Country Club.

"The only thing I wanted to do was be in the movies," he said. "I caddied for Clark Gable. I used to wait for him in the parking lot, run around and get his clubs and be ready for him. He helped me out at MGM."

Wagner started out working the test stage at MGM, which is where he met Marilyn Monroe.

"She was a very unusual lady," he said. "She had a great sense of humor. It is amazing how her legacy has gone on."

Working with legends James Cagney and Spencer Tracy were pivotal to Wagner's career. Both men looked out for him, set him straight when needed, and helped him get roles.

"I was doing 'What Price Glory,'" he said. "I was 20 years old and dying on screen in Jim Cagney's arms. I couldn't get over it. He was a wonderful man and I admired him so much. John Ford was the director and he picked me out to be the boy he picked on. Cagney held my hand a lot."

Barbara Stanwyck held his hand, too, in a secret relationship that lasted four years.

"I was working on 'Titanic' with her and Clifton Webb. I don't know if it was timing. We just looked at each other and things started. I fell in love with her. She was 44 and I was 22. That wasn't accepted in those days."

Although that night off Catalina Island aboard the Splendour when Natalie Wood mysteriously fell to her death must have been on the audience's mind, Wagner only talked about working in "All the Fine Young Cannibals" with the woman he married twice.

"She was a tremendous professional," he said. "She started in the business when she was 4 years old with Orson Welles and Claudette Colbert. Working with her was a wonderful experience."

Anecdotes about Peter Sellers and the making of "The Pink Panther," his friend David Niven and a recent experience on the set of "Two and A Half Men" involving lipstick and a hoo hoo kept the audience laughing.

Wagner said he was surprised at his book's success; It's been on the New York Times bestseller list for a month. "It's extraordinary going around the world and people know about your life and career," he said. "And they are glad to see you."

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Robert Wagner to Appear in Moorpark

The Moorpark City Library is pleased to present An Afternoon with Robert Wagner who will discuss his New York Times bestselling book, Pieces of My Heart.

When: Saturday, February 7th

Time: 2:00pm, doors open at 1:00pm.

Where: High Street Arts Center, 45 E. High Street, Moorpark, CA

Info: 805-517-6370

Admission: Free

Robert Wagner's new book will be on sale and the event is followed by a book signing.

In his moving memoir, Robert J. Wagner opens his heart to share the romances, the drama, and the humor of an incredible life. Mr. Wagner has been active in Hollywood for more than five decades and has starred in such films as A Kiss Before Dying, The Logest Day, The Pink Panther, and most recently, the Austin Powers Movies. Wagner also starred in three long running series, It Takes A Thief, Switch, and Hart to Hart. He is currently featured on Two and a Half Men.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Robert Wagner shares life's tragedies and romances

Actor will visit Mission Viejo on Saturday to promote his memoir.

Some know him as the evil Number Two in the Austin Powers movie series while others from another decade remember him as the handsome Jonathan Hart in "Hart to Hart" — the actor behind those memorable characters, Robert Wagner, is coming to Orange County to promote his new book "Pieces of My Heart: A Life."

Wagner's memoir, released in September, recounts the highlights, challenges and tragedies of his career and love life.

His story is cast with Hollywood legends Spencer Tracey, Clark Gable, Fred Astaire, David Niven, Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart and Gregory Peck. In it he reveals his love affair in the 1950s with Barbara Stanwyck, an actress twice his age, and writes about the tragic night his wife Natalie Wood died in boating accident off the coast of Catalina.

It took the 78-year-old actor three and a half years to complete the book with co-author Scott Eyman.

Wagner will appear at Mission Viejo's Norman P. Murray Community and Senior Center as part of the Writers Present program on Saturday at 6 p.m.

Here's what he had to say about his book:

Q. How did the book come about?

A. I was just so amazed in being in this industry for 60 years and I'm still working. For some people it happens for and others it doesn't. I've been so fortunate in my life that I just wanted to put it down. It's amazing and that's what motivated me to write.

Q. What does the title, "Pieces of My Heart," mean to you?

A. It means these people all have pieces of my heart and they were able to be so helpful to me and putting my life together and getting me back on my feet and helping me get through life — its dark spots and bright spots.

Q. Describe the writing process.

A. I had a lot of still pictures that I could look at and that would bring back memories. I went into old telephone books and I had some fans who kept scrapbooks from when I started. I was able to look at those and I could associate mentally… so that was very helpful. And then, also in my mind are all these times that I've had — my relationship with Fred Astaire, being a little boy and then working with him. And, my God, being a little boy and seeing Clark Gable and having him arrange for me to go to MGM and say, 'Hey, maybe you can be something.'

Q. What did you enjoy most about putting the book together?

A. When I felt it started to work and that it started right — that was encouraging to let it go. I didn't jump around. I wanted to start at the beginning.

Q. What was the most challenging part about writing the book?

A. There are a lot of stories and it could've been a lot longer. There are other people and moments in my life. It's not an autobiography, it's a memoir. It's a quest to decide what to leave in, what to take out, and structuring the book in a way. The biggest challenge was letting it go. I've never written before. This was all very close to me and I wanted to be correct and honest with it. I had a great deal of anxiety. When I let it go I fell into depression a bit. When you say, 'That's it,' and they start to print it — that's it and you can't take it back.

Q. What are you working on now?

A. I was doing (the TV show) "Two and a Half Men" until they stopped doing guest spots. I was making love to (actress) Jenny McCarthy when I died. What a way to go on the No. 1 comedy! Now I'm producing some things, talking to people into financing, and putting together projects and I'm also involved with this book.

An Evening with Robert Wagner

What: A free question-and-answer session and talk with the actor at 6 p.m. Saturday

Where:Norman P. Murray Community and Senior Center, 24932 Veterans Way, Mission Viejo

Reservations:949-830-7100 ext. 5105. Registration is closed. A waiting list is open.

Book signing:No reservations necessary. Open to the public. Begins at 7 p.m. Book available for purchase, $26.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

An Evening with Robert Wagner at Thousand Oaks Library

Thousand Oaks Library is pleased to present An Evening with Robert Wagner who will discuss his New York Times bestselling book, Pieces of My Heart. Wagner will be in conversation with Hollywood Producer Keith Sky. This event will be Friday, February 13, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. and is free to the public, however, seating is limited. The library is located at 1401 E. Janss Road.

Robert Wagner's new book will be on sale and the event is followed by a book signing.

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

About the Author

Robert J. Wagner has been active in Hollywood for more than five decades and has starred in such films as A Kiss Before Dying, The Longest Day, The Pink Panther, and, most recently, the Austin Powers movies. On television, Wagner also starred in three long-running series, It Takes a Thief (with Fred Astaire), Switch (with Eddie Albert and Sharon Gless), and Hart to Hart (with Stefanie Powers). He is currently featured on Two and a Half Men. Wagner is married to actress Jill St. John and share their time between Aspen and Los Angeles.