Date of Birth : Feb 10th 1930
Born in Detroit, Michigan, the son of a steel executive, Wagner moved with his family to Los Angeles, California, when he was seven. At an early age, Wagner became an aspiring actor and was successfully employed in a variety of jobs, most prominently as a caddy for actor Clark Gable. However, it wasn’t until he was dining with his family at a Beverly Hills restaurant that he was “discovered” by a talent scout. Making his debut in The Happy Years (1950), he would play minor characters in several military themed films until his performance in With a Song in My Heart (1952) starring Susan Hayward, which would lead to a contract with 20th Century Fox.
In 1956 Wagner found the love of his life, teenage actress Natalie Wood. They married on December 28, 1957, in Scottsdale, Arizona. Hollywood trumpeted their marriage as the most “glittering union of the 20th century”. Robert (RJ to his friends) and Natalie quickly moved into a $150,000 mansion on Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills. He and Natalie were deeply in love and appeared to be the perfect couple, but were actually living on the edge and were strapped for cash. RJ was being overshadowed by new male leads like Marlon Brando and Paul Newman. Natalie Wood was placed on a 14-month suspension with Warner Bros. for refusing to do a movie in England.
Wagner was a loyal friend to Eddie Albert for over 40 years and said Albert was a true blessing to him. Wagner was only 8 when he first watched his future mentor in the 1938 movie, Brother Rat, and was impressed. He first worked with the seasoned actor in the 1962 movie, The Longest Day.