Robert Wagner made me lose my breakfast on LIVE With Regis and Kelly

Add ImageRobert Wagner made me lose my breakfast on LIVE With Regis and Kelly

Robert Wagner, an aging pretty-boy with limited acting skills who became famous for starring in (mostly) B movies and “romances” with beautiful A-list film stars, has written a memoir: Pieces of My Heart-- so he must need money. I’ve always heard stars only write books when they need money. (Above is a pic of me in my tux taken the night after this event. As you can see, I'm another "pretty boy"...I'm 27 years older now).

On Regis & Kelly this morning he is obviously trying to sell books so he attempted to come off as just “one of the boys.” I met Mr. Wagner when I was working backstage for producer Alexander Cohen in the Green Room at Radio City Music Hall for Night of 100 Stars II in 1985. Originally from Michigan, one suspects he portrays his climb to stardom as much of a “Little Me” version of things. He said he moved to LA (Bel Air!) as a teenager and got a job as a caddy at a golf course frequented by film stars. Apparently, Clark Gable, Cary Grant, Randolph Scott and other stars were attracted to this pretty boy and helped him cut thru red tape and get a movie contract. One wonders what details Mr. Wagner is leaving out. Major film stars don’t usually offer to assist every cute 18 year old boy who carries their golf clubs.

Regis Philbin was slobbering over Wagner and his Hollywood memories while Kelly Ripa (Wagner played her father in a few episodes of her ill-fated TV show Hope & Faith) recalled: “the way all those famous men treated you when you were young…perhaps that’s why you treated us all so nice,” to which Wagner said “Isn’t she great?” What else could he say? My personal memory of Wagner is that he’s a jerk…he is one of those actors who treats backstage personnel like dirt under his feet. Wagner thinks he’s a much bigger star than he really is, and is only nice to someone who can do something for HIM.
When I worked backstage on Night of 100 Stars, I totally recall Wagner as being a cold fish, arrogant, rude, hard to speak with or get a response from and I remember him fixing me with a cold, steely glare instead of responding when I said “hello” or tried to ask him a question. So Kelly Ripa must have a completely different memory of this man that I do. Karma, I suspect, will not be kind to someone like Wagner. I’ve noticed this as I’ve gotten older and worked in and around showbiz egos. So many people who were given help and a kind “boost up the ladder of success” seem to forget who helped them and when they get to the top of the heap, instead of “paying it forward” and helping someone else, they pull the ladder up after themselves.
Other major stars that night were wonderful—I kept notes of every event I worked and saved my dressing room assignment sheets. Myrna Loy, Anne Baxter, Carol Burnett, Lucille Ball (tough but adorable), Jimmy Stewart, Ginger Rogers and other A-list stars couldn’t have been nicer to deal with. It was the insecure TV stars like Wagner who were usually jerks…here they were surrounded by TRUE celebrities and most of them responded with rudeness and arrogance. Wagner was sitting on a green room sofa much of the evening next to Lloyd Bridges (very nice man) and sharing a dressing room (604) at Radio City with a host of celebs including Bridges, Charles Bronson, Yul Brynner, Michael Caine, Matt Dillon, Bob Fosse, Jim Henson, Richard Dreyfuss, Billy Crystal, Jim Nabors, Jimmy Stewart, Rock Hudson (ill and kept to himself), Mayor Ed Koch, Tony Randall, Ben Gazzara, David Frost, Charles Durning, Billy Dee Williams, Marvin Hamlisch, Vincent Price and others.


hayley said…
What you are saying is absolutely true! He is hypocritical, calculating and superficial! I have known him for fifty years.
johartuk said…
Hayley - you may have known Robert Wagner for 50 years, but I doubt very much that you truly 'know' him at all. Your comments strike me as being of the vengeful, bitter variety rather than a genuine assesment of Mr Wagner's character! As with a lot of comments of this variety, they have been made with no evidence to back them up.

With regards to Jim Dykes' blog - I'm truly gobsmacked by the visciousness and inacuracy of it. I have no idea what Mr Wagner did to warrent such nastiness (if he was rude to the blogger, perhaps that had more to do with the blogger's behavior toward Mr Wagner), but this blog just beggers belief!

I was lucky enough to meet Mr Wagner a few years ago and found him warm, friendly and a perfect example of a 'gentleman' of the old school. I know quite a few people who have met him (and a couple who know him well) and all share the same opinion of him.

As someone from outside the US, I have seen within the last 24 hours, the best and worst of America. The best - the queues of people waiting to vote in the presidential election and the eventual victor, Barack Obama. What a class act that man is! The worst - the nastiness in this blog and in Hayley's comment!
Steph said…
Hey Joanne, you can stop shining Wagner's shoes now. You do it everywhere you go. You won't tolerate or even CONSIDER ANYTHING negative said about Robert Wagner, even if they met him just like you. You know, people aren't friendly and warm 24/7. You probably met him at a book signing where he puts on his charming persona. He's an actor, not a good one, so he can do that. Why can't you take his word on it. He met him? So that means I shouldn't believe what you said happened in your encounter then. There's no reason not to believe him and to believe you instead. Face it, Robert Wagner is a washed up pretty boy living off of Natalie's fame and fortune.
bixby said…
Why should we believe Mr Dykes who clearly has an agenda he is not telling us, when Mr Wagner has a well deserved reputation for being just the opposite!!! Interviewers and other stars say this with monotonous regularity, so it seems the only people who agree with Mr Dykes opinion are certain Natalie fans who even after 30 years feel the need to "blame" and hang onto their hatred.
johartuk said…
Steph - if you read my comment properly, you would see that I clearly stated that RJ Wagner is NOT perfect and has faults like the rest of us! I thought that made my stance clear, but obviously not!

I did not meet Mr Wagner at a book signing - I met him prior to the autobio and all that stuff. I stand by my opinion of him (sorry to burst your bubble, but he really was lovely) - which seems to be shared by a lot of people, both fans and genuine friends/colleagues who have known him for many years. The fact that so many people of different ages/generations/social backgrounds speak so highly of him tells me that he is genuinely liked by a hell of a lot of people.

As for Mr Wagner making money off Natalie - I suggest you get your facts straight on that one. Natalie's royalties (from her films etc) go to her daughters. Mr Wagner has his own career and earnings. He has never sought to profit from Natalie or her death. He could have done - he could have made a fortune from it if he'd wanted to - but he didn't! He was too busy grieving for his wife and raising their daughters (who, incidentally, all adore him and have grown into delightful young women).

I really don't understand the nastiness in this blog and some of the comments. If Mr Dykes doesn't have an agenda, why write this blog in the first place? Everyone writes blogs for a reason.
Tzse said…
Steph, We all know who you are and where you come from. Your negative posts about RJ follow you wherever you go, you are a joke. Quit pretending you know about RJ when all you spew is tabloid crap. Dykes is an idiot who has an agenda and you fell right into it feeding his homosexual ego.

Joanne, you go girl, you go and we all know you have the knowledge.
Fred said…
I have lived in Palm Springs for 32years. I have had the pleasure of seeing both Natalie and Robert but I have never spoken to either of them. I have never heard a bad word spoken about Robert throughout out community. While Robert lived here he was very active and generous to the community of Palm Springs. The comments made by Mr. Dykes are dubious in fact.
beth said…
Oh please, Robert Wagner is one of the most artificial actors ever to come out of the studio system and as a human being he maintains that same artificiality.
Those of you who met him, must have met him in a situation in which he was "on", where it was showtime! You who defend him and speak so highly of him should realize that he could care less about any of you.
Perhaps you should see him in a situation in which he is not being called upon to be Mr. Charm. I know people who have seen the same side of Wagner as Mr. Dykes has.
As for Wagner being admired, he has been kissing the ass of old Hollywood since he was a young man.
From what I have seen here, Mr Wagner's fans see what they want to see. Pure fantasy.
and Joanne, perhaps you should double check your facts. Mr. Wagner was in serious financial shape when he re-united with Miss Wood. She paid all of his bills, erased all of his debt. He was broke. She was loaded. She made it possible for him to begin working again. He was enjoined from working, then she waved her checkbook and took care of everything for him. Robert Wagner was never a big money star who could be called on to carry a picture. He's second rate, as a man and as an actor.
And before you place judgement on Mr. Dykes sexuality and condemn him for it, you should take a peak at Mr. Wagner's history. Do you honestly think he is straight? He is as BI as can be.
Maggydill said…
Me, Myself and I: that's what Wagner's book is about! He is shallow and self-absorbed and it truly IS sickening to watch the interviewers drool all over the legend in his own mind. I praise Jim Dykes for his perceptiveness. The only good thing Wagner ever had in his life was his marriages to Natalie Wood, of which he helped to destroy both. Nothing Wagner says adds up. Notice the passage in his book about his golfing buddy? He says, after 15 years, they're still "doing it." He's nothing but "hidden messages" in everything he says and does. His book was billed as the "final word" on Wood's death -- should've been billed as "another lie about Wood's death." Wagner is a two-bit actor who bluffed (and what else?) his way to fame and shame, for some people still find his 4 hour delay in calling for help for his drowning wife SHAMEFUL. For those of you who don't, shame on you, too! Natalie will find her way. Legends always do.
Maria said…
I can't believe the kind of people you are. There where Mr. Wagner is there you are, talking in a dirty way.If you don't like him why are you always talking about him, following him wherever he is? It seems a little bit insane to me. If you make this defending Natalie, you could find another way to do it, she was not perfect either. Are youn all perfect?
She loved him very much, he loved her very much, that's what count. Trying to destroy his image (Something you won't do) what you get is just hate and bad feelings . Actors, a lot of them, have just wonderful words about him. And women... I haven't heard anyone of them complaining about him as a man. Al contrario! hehe
You don't like him as a person and as an actor. So what? A lot of us do.
Tzse said…
Natalie Wood died adoring and loving Robert Wagner. His three girls and grandson love him. The public loves him,the press loves him, Hollywood loves him, there is a reason for this, he is one heck of a great guy. Robert Wagner broke when he remarried Natalie? far from it. Natalie Wood did not die a wealthy woman in todays standards. Sure she had a few million and some investments but today that would be lunch money for a Hollywood celeb. Obviously whatever Natalie left RJ he didn't spend on himself, he had a family to raise, and Natalie wanted the lavish lifestyle to continue if something should happen to her. So don't blame RJ if Natalie's money is gone , it is what she wanted. Believe me, none of the Wagners will have to stand in a soup line, they have been and will be taken very well care of.
beth said…
He is a horrendous actor.

and tzse, you need to read up on old RJ, he admitted that Natalie bailed him out financially when they got back together. He was broke. He stated it in his book.
You people are so blind that you won't accept the truth when HE tells you.
ron oliver said…
Wow. Not sure what happened to you, Mr. Dykes - one assumes your career as a Hollywood actor tanked? Is this why you're so bitter?

Having worked with, and known, RJ for several years, I can vouch for the fact he is one of the most genuine and delightful men I've ever known in what is often a vile business.

He is a gentleman, which is certainly more than can be said for the spiteful - and obviously angry - Mr. Dykes.

The Internet is truly an interesting invention - it brings the world together but at the same time it seems to allow the most horrendous people a platform to spew all manner of hatred.
socsteph said…
Johartuk: If the message left after yours was supposedly me, Steph, who was once on the RJ was not my message. Someone is using Steph and people think that it is me, from Indiana. I was treated unfairly by that group and now I know why. I cannot stop people from using my name as an alias. I just wanted to set the record straight.
ADNAN said…
johartuk knows best. If you have known someone for 100 years, her opinion will over-ride yours.

Johartuk is the scourge of blogs and internet forums the world over.

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