Robert Wagner life and biography

Robert Wagner picture, image, poster

Robert Wagner biography

Date of birth : 1930-02-10
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Detroit,Michigan,U.S.
Nationality : American
Category : Arts and Entertainment
Last modified : 2011-10-20
Credited as : Actor, Two and a Half Men, Austin Powers

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Film and television actor Robert Wagner played juvenile leads in a succession of war, Western, and adventure films, such as The True Story of Jesse James. His greatest popularity has been in television series, where his boyish romantic appeal, suave manner, and light humor were seen in a number of television shows.

A veteran of many films in the 1950s and 1960s, Wagner gained prominence in three American television series that spanned three decades: It Takes a Thief (1968–70), Switch (1975–78), and Hart to Hart (1979–84).
In movies, Wagner is known for his role as Number Two in the Austin Powers films (1997, 1999, 2002). He also had a recurring role as Teddy Leopold on the TV sitcom Two and a Half Men.

Wagner's autobiography, Pieces of My Heart: A Life, written with author Scott Eyman, was published on September 23, 2008.

In 1967, Wagner signed with Universal Studios. In 1968, Lew Wasserman convinced Wagner to make his television series debut in It Takes a Thief. While the success of The Pink Panther and Harper began Wagner's comeback, the successful two and a half seasons of his first TV series completed it. In this series. he acted with Fred Astaire, who played his father. Astaire was a long-time friend of Wagner's, who had gone to school with Astaire's eldest son, Peter. Wagner was suggested to play James Bond after On Her Majesty's Secret Service was released.

In 1972, he produced and cast himself opposite Bette Davis in the television movie Madame Sin, which was released in foreign markets as a feature film and was a regular in the BBC/Universal World War II prisoner-of-war drama Colditz until its end in 1974. He reunited with McQueen, along with Paul Newman and Faye Dunaway, in the disaster film The Towering Inferno released in the same year.

By the mid-1970s, Wagner's television career was at its peak with the television series Switch opposite Eddie Albert, after re-signing a contract with Universal Studios in 1974. Before Switch, Albert was a childhood hero of Wagner's, after he watched the movie Brother Rat along with a few others. The friendship started in the early 1960s, where he also co-starred in a couple of Albert's movies. After the series' end, the two remained friends until Albert's death on May 26, 2005. Wagner spoke at his funeral, and gave a testimonial about his longtime friendship with him.

In part payment for starring together in the Aaron Spelling and Leonard Goldberg production of the TV movie The Affair, Wagner and Wood were given a share in three TV series that the producers were developing for ABC. Only one reached the screen, the very successful TV series Charlie's Angels, for which Wagner and Wood had a 50% share, though Wagner was to spend many years in court arguing with Spelling and Goldberg over what was defined as profit.

Wagner and Wood acted in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (as part of the UK television series Laurence Olivier Presents). Wood also made a small cameo appearance in the pilot episode of Wagner's own television series, Hart to Hart.

His third successful series was Hart to Hart, which co-starred Stefanie Powers. Before those roles, Wagner also made guest appearances in the pilot episode of The Streets of San Francisco. He would later be nominated for an Emmy Award for Best TV Actor for his performance in It Takes a Thief and for four Golden Globe awards for his role as Jonathan Hart in Hart to Hart.

Wagner's film career received a revival after his role in the Austin Powers series of spy spoofs starring Mike Myers. Wagner played Dr. Evil's henchman Number 2 in all three films: Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997), Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999) and Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002).

He also became the host of Fox Movie Channel's Hour of Stars, featuring original television episodes of The 20th Century-Fox Hour (1955), a series which Wagner had appeared on in his early days with the studio.

In 2005 Wagner became the television spokesman for the Senior Lending Network, a reverse mortgage lender and in 2010 began as a spokesman for the Guardian First Funding Group, also a reverse mortgage lender. As of June 2011, Guardian First Funding was acquired by Urban Financial Group, who continue to use Mr. Wagner as their spokesperson.

In 2007, Wagner had a role in the BBC/AMC series Hustle. In its fourth season premiere, Wagner played a crooked Texan being taken for half a million dollars. As Wagner is considered "a suave icon of American caper television, including It Takes a Thief and Hart to Hart", Robert Glenister (Hustle's fixer, Ash Morgan) commented that "to have one of the icons of that period involved is a great bonus for all of us".

Wagner also played the pivotal role of President James Garfield in the comedy/horror film Netherbeast Incorporated (2007). The role was written with Wagner in mind. He had a recurring role of a rich suitor to the main characters' mother on the sitcom Two and a Half Men. His most recent appearances on the show were in May 2008.

Wagner has guest-starred as Tony's father, Anthony DiNozzo Sr, in two episodes of NCIS, "Flesh and Blood" and "Broken Arrow" (both in 2010).

Robert Wagner's radio and television career was recognized by the Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters on January 30, 2009 when they presented him with their Art Gilmore Career Achievement Award.
Wagner was set to star as Charlie in the 2011 reboot of Charlie's Angels, but due to scheduling conflicts had to exit the project.

Wagner had a four-year romantic relationship with Barbara Stanwyck after they acted together in the movie Titanic. Because of the age difference – he was 22, she was 45 – they kept the affair secret to avoid damage to their careers.

At 27, Wagner became involved with teenage actress Natalie Wood and married her on December 28, 1957. The couple soon became involved in financial troubles.
At Fox, Wagner's career was slowly being overtaken by actors such as Marlon Brando and Paul Newman. Wagner and Wood separated in September 1961 and divorced on April 27, 1962. Wagner, with his career stalled because of a lack of studio support, broke his studio contract with 20th Century Fox[ and moved to Europe in search of better film roles.

While in Europe he met an old friend, actress Marion Marshall. In the spring of 1963, after a brief courtship, Wagner, Marshall, and her two children from her marriage to Stanley Donen moved back to America. Wagner and Marshall married on July 22, 1963 in the Bronx Courthouse. Soon after, they had a daughter, Katie Wagner (born May 11, 1964). The two were together for nearly nine years before they separated in late 1970. They were divorced on April 26, 1971. He then had a relationship with Tina Sinatra in 1971.

Wagner kept in contact with Natalie Wood, whose short-lived marriage to Richard Gregson ended in early 1972. Wagner remarried her on July 16, 1972. Their only child, Courtney Wagner, was born on March 9, 1974. On November 29, 1981, Wood drowned near their yacht Splendor while moored near Catalina Island with Wagner and Christopher Walken, who was co-starring with her in the motion picture Brainstorm. Wagner subsequently became the legal guardian of Wood's daughter Natasha Gregson. He is estranged from Natalie Wood's sister Lana Wood, who claims Wagner refused to let her see her nieces after Natalie Wood's death.

In early 1982, Wagner began a relationship with actress Jill St. John, who coincidentally was a childhood acquaintance of Natalie Wood and Wagner's Hart to Hart co-star Stefanie Powers, as well as starring alongside Natalie's sister Lana Wood in Diamonds Are Forever. The couple had first met years earlier on a film set when St. John was a teenager. After an eight-year courtship, they were married on May 26, 1990. On September 21, 2006, he became a first time grandfather when his daughter, Katie, gave birth to a son, Riley Wagner-Lewis.

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