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Pieces of My Heart [Paperback]

Robert Wagner
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
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Book Description

4 Feb 2010

In this moving memoir, Robert J. Wagner opens his heart to share the romances, the drama and the humor of an incredible life. Under the mentorship of stars like Spencer Tracy, he became a salaried actor in Hollywood's studio system among other hot actors of the moment such as his friends Rock Hudson and Tony Curtis. Wagner began to appear in a number of films alongside the most beautiful starlets. As his career blossomed 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 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.

Despite his new found 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. 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.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow (4 Feb 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099538350
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099538356
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 20 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 215,223 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Robert Wagner is outrageously indiscreet in his zinging account of Hollywood affairs ... His on-off-on-again life with Natalie Wood is one of Hollywood's greatest love stories ... His memoirs cannot help but be entertaining" (Sunday Times)

"Reads like a Who's Who of Hollywood. It's fantastic to find out about that era and the stars he knew, being married to Natalie Wood and friends with Bette Davis. What a story he has to tell" (Mirror)


`Fantastic ... Reads like a Who's Who of Hollywood. What a story he has to tell.' Mirror
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really enjoyed it 11 July 2009
Yes, I agree with the reviewer who complained that RJW does tend to gush a bit about his male buddies, but that's luvvies - sorry, actors - for you. Other than that I found it a compelling and really surprisingly honest read - about his career, his films, and his women. (He has some impressive notches on his bedpost and it's perhaps not quite gentlemanly to mention them... but let's face it, that's usually what we read these books for, isn't it?)

He does come across as a decent chap with some flaws which perhaps he isn't aware of, but he does tell some very good stories and he doesn't pull his punches. I couldn't wait to get back to it and read it in less than 24 hours. So if you're interested in Hollywood from the 1950s to the 1970s - get a copy.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing to complain about 4 Feb 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I like show business autobiographies, so I enjoyed this one. RJ Wagner comes over as a likeable man, honest and kind and particularly loves all the women in his life, especially Barbara Stanwyck, who had a raw deal from men before him. It was an interesting book, not too much kiss and tell or muck raking but pleasanter for that. I can't think why some people thought this book was boring.

He had two stepsons by his earlier marriage to Marion Marshall, and when he had remarried Natalie Wood, the boys were still around and her referred to him as his sons, not stepsons. The boys then in their twenties, thought enough about him to act as pallbearers of Natalie Wood's coffin, at her burial, so he must have been loved and respected by them.

I was particularly glad to hear his version of the death of Natalie Wood in 1981. At the time the press insinuated that she was drunk and fell off their boat which was moored off Catalina Island, and drowned and he and the others on board were too drunk to know.

In actual fact the most logical explanation was the one he gave. Natalie went to bed and in the main bedroom cabin heard the boat's dinghy banging against the boat side, and supposing it had come loose from its moorings, went out to retie it, presumably because they would never sleep with the noise. She slipped on the ladder was knocked out, fell in the water and unable to swim, was drowned. The coroners report stated that there was very little excess alchohol in her blood at the time.

So a pleasant book to read and a long standing mystery solved as well!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars SUPERB 20 Jun 2009
Very honest biography. The best I have read this year. Well written and heartwarming biography which is probably aimed at women more than men.

In keeping with the title the book tells of Robert's many love affairs and how they affected his life. He tells his life story with amazing honesty and some facts are revealed for the first time.

His tales of spending time with the Hollywood Greats, Frank Sinatra etc.
are amusing and give a real insight into stars real lives.

Some wonderful photos included.

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pieces of My Heart 23 July 2009
I really enjoyed "Pieces of My Heart" by Robert Wagner. I am a major fan of old Hollywood so it was great to have Robert's insight into the lives and antics of some of its stars. Yes, he does, at times, tend to gush over some of the older stars. They were his heroes, so why shouldn't he. ? He doesn't hold back in his opinions about people. He calls it as he sees it. It may not make for easy reading at times but it is honest.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars IN MY OPINION. 17 April 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book shocked me slightly, i had always considered RJ to be a lightweight please-all kind of actor, however the passion of the man/actor really comes through in this book, his relationship with his father was surprising too, i thought other than the death of Natalie Wood he had led a very pleasant drifting kind of life, but, nothing of the kind! he had to fight quite a lot to get what he wanted, he comes across in the book as a very endearing person , i have enjoyed it immensely and have no hesitation in recommending it to anyone who loves autobiographies/films.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Honest, heartfelt account 17 April 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Instead of going on about how many women he slept with, this showed a man who was and is very decent, very loving and not a part of what you would expect of someone so handsome , a super star.
I wanted to know what made him tick. I also wanted to know the real story of Natalie Wood. I found all of this in this excellent autobiography. RJ, as he is known , has led a successful life both professional and personal. I measure an actor by his personal life and not on his public persona. Here is a man who , when he gives, gives everything. He doesn't jump form person to person. When he is in a relationship , he is loyal. I also just read about Tony Curtis which was the most "me, me, me " book I have ever read. RJ is the opposite. He gives, He feels. He is one of the most decent honest men I have read about and have enjoyed on Hart to Hart over all the years I watched him. This book is a great read and if you're not careful, you can finish it in a day or two as you get so involved.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb 2 July 2009
Thoroughly enjoyed this book. I read a lot of biographies but I found this one particularly fascinating. He knew so many famous people and had so many stores to share. Couldn't put it down!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read, if a little treacly 15 Aug 2009
By Claretta VINE VOICE
The first half of this book is terrific. Robert Wagner was a star-struck young actor who hung out and occasionally worked with many of the greats - Spencer Tracy, Fred Astaire, Robert Mitchum, Bette Davis - and his memories of them are very entertaining. Then there's the jaw-dropping revelation that he had an affair with Barbara Stanwyck for four years. His description of Hollywood in the 1950s, the glamour and glitz as well as the hypocrisy and the sordid nature of a lot of what went on, is highly entertaining. His deep love for Natalie Wood gives the book a certain emotional intensity, but after she dies it rather goes off the boil. Clearly Wagner has a huge gift for friendship and genuinely enjoys life, which gives the book a lot of charm. Unfortunately, he (or his ghost writer) do rather tend to skate over certain things and there are a few too many treacly tributes to other actors and movie people. But all in all, a very good read. Some of the photos are superb, too - there's one of him and Natalie Wood, taken the day before they married, where they are so beautiful and radiant that it quite takes your breath away.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
All items bought have been very satisfactory and lived up to expectations.
Published 2 months ago by Bryan Melrose
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Includes lots of Hollywood gossip
Published 2 months ago by Nolly
5.0 out of 5 stars Really good honest read.
Very straight forward evaluation of a life well lived. It has taken a lot of personal courage to write. Well done
Published 2 months ago by J. Riding
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Published 3 months ago by C. Wild
5.0 out of 5 stars mind you she does with the parrot as well but it's a great way to...
The wife thinks more of him than she does of me,mind you she does with the parrot as well but it's a great way to "read a book"
Published 3 months ago by steve hosgood
5.0 out of 5 stars Wagner book
Very frank book by an actor adored for a long time worth reading on holiday an easy reading type of book
Published 6 months ago by Mrs. Sandra Callear
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
This book arrived on time and was a very good read. I have always liked Robert Wagner, he comes across as being a genuinely nice guy. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Pendlewitch
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good biography
This story just goes to prove that 'film stars' do not have an easy life. It may seem that life is perfect but behind the scenes life is
chaotic and frustrating. Read more
Published 13 months ago by S. Atkinson
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining.
Robert Wagner was a boyishly attractive young man and maintained his looks in older age. His default expression was a kind of quizzical smirk. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Queen Mab
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good
His story about Natalie is so very moving, and his principals are very solid, makes him very human.
Its a story of going on in life and doing the best you can, and he does.
Published 18 months ago by mrs patricia m emmerson
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