Friday, November 14, 2008
autobiography #2 - robert wagner

Reading Robert Wagner's book was, for me, like taking a trip down memory lane....Not so much because I know him----I have actually only met him a few times. But because he talks about so very many people I did and do know---Some of these people he speaks of just in a passing sort of way, and others, he speaks of very much 'in depth'. Particularly, Natalie Wood, of course...In fact more than half of the book is devoted to his long and deep relationship with her....their two marriages to each other, interrupted by their separation and divorce and each of them re-marrying and each having a child in those marriages and subsequently, each of them divorcing and then, finding one another again---remarrying and having a child together, and then, unfortunately, her eventual and untimely and tragic death, and the aftermath of this horrific loss to him and to their children.Reading his book brought back so very many memories for me of all the different people he talks about that I knew, and of course, particularly Natalie Wood. I met Natalie around 1969 through my dear friend, Norma Crane. Norma was a wonderful actress and a terrific human being, and Norma and Natalie were very very close friends. And at some point, Norma wanted me to meet Natalie. The first time we got together was for lunch, at a very popular restaurant in Beverly Hills 'back in the day' called The Bistro, now gone completely, unfortunately, and in it's place Wolfgang Puck's Spago Restaurant. It was a "Ladies Who Lunch" type of get-together. Another good good friend of Norma's and Natalie's was there, too....Lenny Dunne, the then wife of writer/producer Dominick Dunne, and the mother of his children, one of whom was murdered, many years later, their daughter, Dominique. Both of these women were terrific! (Lenny was diagnosed in the 1970's with Multiple Sclerosis....And died, unfortunately, in 1997.) And as I recall, that lunch was a great deal of fun. I liked both of these really bright interesting women a whole lot! I believe Natalie was still married to Richard Gregson, at this point, though they were having problems and would soon divorce. Fade out.....Fade in.....I had done a "collage" of Natalie, and Norma wanted her to see it, and also to see my Art Collection. So, I had them both to lunch, here in my house....That was a fun afternoon, too....Natalie Wood was as personable and beautiful as you would have expected....Sweet and fun and, as already stated, bright, too. She seemed quite flattered that I had created this collage of her which pleased me no end. It was part of a whole series I had done on movies and movie stars. This whole series had been shown, along with the Civil Rights series I had done, as well, at Ankrum Gallery. About half of the collages sold at that show, but for whatever reason, that particular one of Natalie Wood did not sell, though subsequently many years later, it did. I am so sorry I just didn't give her that collage that day at our lunch, but I didn't.....Over the next years I saw her a few more times. Norma had been cast as 'Golda' in "Fiddler On The Roof" and other friends of hers gave her a big huge going away party....The picture was to be filmed in Zagreb, and this was a sort of 'Bon Voyage Norma' evening. It was a great evening with all of Norma's friends participating. Everyone was so thrilled and happy that she got this important part---The Lead---in this Big Big Movie Musical. This going away party was another great gathering of good friends, all of whom were brought together by Norma, because of their love for her..... Somewhere along the way, if memory serves---and it certainly may not---I believe Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood were 'dating' once again, or soon after. And I remember Norma telling me that Natalie had fallen madly in love and was so very very happy. She also told me with whom she had fallen in love, but said that it was a secret so I should not say anything to anyone because they had not gone 'public' yet......I remember how romantic I thought this was.....Two people who obviously were always supposed to be together were back together, once again.Dear Norma went to Zabgreb to make the picture and when she went, she knew that she was possibly struggling with breast cancer. A lump had been found in her breast. But this film was so important to her that she waited until the filming was over and returned home to Los Angeles before she was completely sure and then began treatment. I remember visiting her at her home one day during her heavy-duty chemo period.....She had lost all her hair and was struggling with all of the awful side effects of the chemo, but as always, her sense of humor was totally in tact....On that particular day when I arrived, Natalie and RJ were there but were just getting ready to leave. That particular day was the last time I saw Norma alive. And then, the very last time I saw Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner, sad to say, was at Norma Crane's funeral. Norma died on September 28th, 1973, just two months shy of her turning 45 years old. Natalie and RJ had arranged this very sweet intimate ceremony that was held right there at her grave site in Westwood Memorial....Natalie handed out these very beautiful perfect lavender roses to each of us as we arrived, which was such a lovely and special touch. In fact, the whole ceremony was beautiful and very very touching...many of Norma's long time friends spoke, and it was quite an emotional afternoon. And Natalie and R.J. did that. They made it happen. They honored their friend in the sweetest possible way....Ironically, just a little over 8 years later, Natalie Wood herself, was buried right there in that same area, very close to her great friend in this beautiful little cemetery in Westwood, CaliforniaI will have to do at least one other post sparked by this tome, because I can see that reading Robert Wagner's book has really stirred up lots of my own memories and the connections that one has in life, and in particular, in the world of entertainment. These connections overlap so often in so many ways.....So, though I certainly will say more about this book...it feels like I need to write about some other things that Robert Wagner's book reminded me of.....like more about Norma Crane, for instance, and some other people, too.....And I will, as time goes on.One of the things I liked so very much about this book is that Wagner writes about a number of his films and things that happened to him as an actor on these films, and the friendships made, among other things. It is obvious he cares about 'the work' and being as good as he can be at his job. And of course, he came up in the film business during the later part of The Studio System before it died, and that is all very interesting too. His relationship with Daryl Zanuck, who was head of 2oth Century Fox Studio during those years is fascinating. His revelation of his rather secret four year affair with the great great Babara Stanwyck, of whom he speaks with such great love and affection, and, in fact, he says that she was the very first women he was truly in love with.....Their age difference did not seem to matter and I have to say, I really liked that a lot----speaking as 'an older woman' (lol).....

This may sound strange, but when I read about his long intimate relationship with Stanwyck, it made me like him even more!

He was, from everything one reads in this book, a rather serious young man, and always liked being around older people.....Spencer Tracy was a good friend, and Fred Astaire, too, as well as David Niven. These were all older male stars from that special time of films, all of whom took their work very seriously. They were like wonderful mentors to a young man who it appears from reading this book, did not have a very good relationship with his father....And these were all great great "stars" from the Golden Age of Movies....These men were all Giants of the film business. And obviously, they liked him too....Which means to me that he was and is, a person of substance. Then, there was the aftermath of Natalie Wood's death, which was really horrific for him and for their children. Besides the terrible terrible loss of someone who was his true soul mate, he felt a lot of guilt about her death in the waters off of Catalina Island. To have not heard anything there on the boat and then find that she was gone, was quite shocking in itself. And then when they found her body, his grief at her loss and the fact that neither he nor Christopher Walken who was on the boat at that time had not even realized that she was no longer on the boat and that something terrible had happened to her....Well, he was inconsolable. And on top of that, there were all these rumors and lies that flew around in the tabloids that somehow he was responsible, and of course, that just added more unbearable pain to an already broken man and a devastated family. He did recover and so did his children, though I read somewhere where their middle daughter Natasha feels that her mothers death has defined her whole life. And I must say that makes perfect sense to me---she was only ten years old when her mother died---a terrible traumatic loss, to be sure....Anyway, I recommend this book to all of you who are interested in films and television and have any fascination for a Hollywood that used to be, yet, a Hollywood that has changed quite a bit since those days, but then again, a Hollywood that hasn't really changed at all. And as to my further personal remembrances of those days gone by stirred up by this very interesting book...Well....there will be.....






More To Come......






Note: November 12th, 1970, I smoked my last cigarette after having smoked for 24 years.....So, yesterday marked the beginning of my 39th smoke-free year. A Happy Milestone Anniversary, if there ever was one. And trust me, if I had not stopped when I did, you would not be reading this blog right now----cause when I stopped I was smoking 4 packs of cigarettes, a day. Yes! 4--count them--4 packs each and every day. And from where I am now after all these years, it seems totally surreal to me that I ever ever smoked at all.....! But indeed I did. And, believe me, if I could stop, anyone can stop. And, lastly, I want to say, if you smoke, I urge you with all my heart to stop. I know it is not easy. Believe me, I do know. But, I urge you anyway. (End of Lecture).

Note2: I so wish Norma Crane were alive to read all the wonderful comments about "Fiddler" and particularly about her performance....It touches me, and I had nothing to do with the film except that Norma was a great great friend....It would mean so very much to her to know that something she created, so very long ago----the part of "Golda"---- effected so very many people, and still does, now, 37 years later......And, also that one can own a DVD of this film and be able to watch it in the comfort of one's home, any time one wants to....How GREAT is that? And though it is very hard to believe, Norma would have turned 80 years old four days ago, having been born on November 10th........(Friday Night, 9:20pm)









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44 Comments:
Anonymous Anonymous
had this to say:

congrats on ditching "the feelthy weed"!

Friday, November 14, 2008 at 1:19:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I ditched that weed many years ago, after smoking for 23 years, 2-3 packs per day. I wouldn't be here either, if I hadn't ditched it! Hurray for us, Naomi.

I always wanted to be Natalie Wood, especially when she was with Robert Wagner. He was gorgeous and is still handsome!

Friday, November 14, 2008 at 4:36:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

What a wonderful "book review" within a life review! As more and more "stars" write their autobiographies, I am sure you will "see" many instances of six degrees of separation.

And what a marvelous life you have to look back on! Well written post with lovely memories of not only days gone by but friends gone but not forgotten.

Anne

PS I quit smoking on 8/5/83, after 16 years of a pack a and a half a day. It was the last thing I had to ditch and the most stubborn thing on my road to getting and keeping healthy. Praise to you on your "anniversary" .

Friday, November 14, 2008 at 5:36:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Naomi, I'm so glad that you quit smoking so many years ago. I have never smoked but I watched my dad trying to quit and decided that if it was that hard, that I never wanted to start...It was a good decision. My husband used to smoke over thirty years ago, but he had a collapsed lung and his doctor told him to quit and he did, cold turkey.....I am so proud of him.

I have always liked Robert Wagner and his lovely wife, Natalie Wood. I was so disheartened when she died and couldn't believe all of the rumors that were going around about her and Christopher Walkin. I know that they were doing a movie together at the time, but I knew that they were only rumors. Rober Wagner grieved so much after her death that I knew that he loved her deeply. I am glad that you showed a picture of his current wife, Jill St. John. I know that he married her several years after Natalie died. Both ladies were very beautiful.

PS: I loved Fiddler on the Roof, it is one of my all time favorite movies. OK, hum now, "Do you love Me?" "Yes, I love you."........ She was awesome in that part..

Friday, November 14, 2008 at 7:13:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Fascinating set of recollections and review of the book. I have always liked Robert Wagner, have seen many of his photos from when he was so young to the latter years and always like what he brings to the parts. When I heard about Natalie Wood's drowning, it was hard to believe and still is. So sad.

Congratulations on quitting smoking when you did. I have never smoked but my dad did and he quit but much later and it was very difficult for him to do.

Friday, November 14, 2008 at 7:29:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I really love reading your posts. I always thought Natalie Wood was such a beautiful lady...and my husband's favorite movie is "Fiddler on the Roof", so we liked the part about your friend, Norma. thanks so much for sharing.

Kendra Lynn

Friday, November 14, 2008 at 7:33:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Natalie Wood was georgeous!

I'm 17 months without a cigarette. Hypnotism did it!

Friday, November 14, 2008 at 8:09:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I just love these glimpses and back stories into the lives of stars. I always loved Natalie Wood and think Robert Wagner looks like the Rob Lowe of his time, but more classy. I recently watched him in a reoccurring role on Two and a Half Men. As someone who is older than her husband, I too found the affair with Stanwick made me like Wagner even more.

Friday, November 14, 2008 at 8:20:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Your memories are so interesting to read - a truly unique perspective.

Friday, November 14, 2008 at 10:06:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

First of all, congrats on not smoking for so many years! I am working on year 3 or 4 - can't remember! But, I sometimes stop and think that I used to smoke - when i see someone with a cigarette.

Loved this glimpse into two of my favorite actors _ I loved Natalie Wood - I thought she was the most beautiful woman!!! And, he wasn't too bad! :)

Have this book on reserve at my library...

Friday, November 14, 2008 at 10:57:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I quit smoking August 16, 1994 - at7:00 p.m. Not easy, but I am so glad I did! I was up to about 3 packs a day

Friday, November 14, 2008 at 12:11:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

What a wonderful tribute and story Naomi. I want to grab hold of the autobiography now. Natalie Wood was the epitome of beautiful in my mind along with Audrey Hepburn. It was so tragic how her life was cut short. I think it hit me more than other tragic deaths because it is probably my biggest fear...drowning. It makes me shudder even thinking about it.

There is a little friend of my son's named Sanziana. She and her family moved here from Romania a couple of years ago. Whenever i see her, i am completely struck by how much she looks like Natalie Wood did in Miracle of 34th Street. She exudes beauty this young one and walks with such poise and confidence that my observations gravitate to her.

great post Naomi, and I look forward to your next ones that have been stirred by Wagner's book.

Friday, November 14, 2008 at 1:45:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

"So tell me Golda, do you love me?" I cry just thinking of that line...that is one of my favorite movies. I think because Tevya reminds me so much of the way my husband and dad react to things.
AND "It doesn't change a thing, but after 25 years, it's nice to know".
Just love it. Thanks so much for the memory!

Friday, November 14, 2008 at 3:06:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Thank goodness I never tried smoking!
Kudos to you for quitting.
Thanks for an interesting look at another part of your life, Naomi.

Friday, November 14, 2008 at 5:09:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Oh, I always thought Robert Wagner was SOOO gorgeous. I did not know about him and Barbara Stanwyck, wow!
And Natalie Wood, I always thought she was one of the most beautiful women ever.

And Norma Crane! I LOVED Fiddler on the Roof. I think my mom and I saw it 2 or 3 times in the movie theatre when it came out, before it disappeared forever, you know, in those days when we didn't have DVD's to purchase.

Friday, November 14, 2008 at 7:55:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

That was so fun. I love going on the "memoradventures" with you!

Friday, November 14, 2008 at 11:55:00 PM PST 

Blogger PI
had this to say:

What a great post Naomi - it had everything and had me spell bound.
I was always a fan of Natalie Wood, was happy when they were reunited and very sad at her untimely death. RW did quite a bit of work over here and was very popular. He always seemed such an amiable person.
It was tragic to lose your friend at such an early age.
One thing about smoking: I always noticed that Americans never smoked quite so desperately as we did - in other words stubbed them out a good inch before we did. so hopefully you weren't so damaged as we would have been smoking so much. Like you I'm sure I would be having lots more problems if I hadn't stopped in 1977.

Saturday, November 15, 2008 at 4:57:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Naomi- I did not see RJ's book, I need to pick it up this week, it sounds like a good read. I've always thought Natalie was so beautiful. Photographer Michael Childers has a stunning photo of her in his Hollywood exhibit here in Palm Springs.

Lovely tribute to Norma.
-Rick

Saturday, November 15, 2008 at 8:25:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

ARGH! *sigh* I recently purchased a group of biographies for my PILE of books and now you make me want still another one!!!

I just got "Jack, the great seducer" (jack nicholson), "Niv" (david niven) , "ME" (katharin hepburn, and "American Prince" (tony curtis) plus I still have Mary Pickford and Clara Bow!

Saturday, November 15, 2008 at 9:33:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I really enjoyed your summary on the wonderful RW. Thanks for sharing.

Saturday, November 15, 2008 at 9:49:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

First of all, congrats on being smoke-free all these years. It's a nasty habit and that is such an awesome accomplishment!

I have been meeting to look for RJ's book and now I definitely want to. I caught a few minutes of the really bad John Candy (I LOVE John Candy!) movie called "Delirious" the other day. RJ plays the suave RJ in it as a cameo. One of the funniest parts of the movie.

Saturday, November 15, 2008 at 9:54:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

The Bistro was a fabulous restaurant for the ladies who lunch, as was Jimmy's in Cnetury City !

THat was very interesting about Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood.

To be wrongly accused would be a nightmare. And I will still always wonder how and why - it just makes no logical sense, but I do not know nor have all the facts...

Either way, it devastated the people who loved her and her children and of course defined their lives with its impact, as well as affected her friends and the people she worked with who appreciated and admired her.

Fiddler on the Roof with Zero Mostel was wonderful. I loved watching that, and still enjoy so many of the songs...

You have known and still know so many fascinating people and their stories, Naomi. Thank you for sharing them !

Congratulations on your 39th smoke free year as well Naomi.

Saturday, November 15, 2008 at 1:04:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

So much I could say about this post !! I always thought Natalie Wood was one of the most beautiful actresses and I was only a little girl when I thought that lol.
I am soooooooooo glad you gave up smoking too, as you know my mother didn't and died at 49 as a result of it :(
I am going to email you right after this, we leave soon and I feel a tad disorganised haha.
BTW I hope you are far away from the fires !

Saturday, November 15, 2008 at 2:56:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Hello Naomi! Another wonderful post. I recognised Robert Wagner on TV and dare I say that he looks hot when he is younger and still is!

I tried smoking for like 2 months and quit after since I find it meaningless and it doesnt do a thing for me. I just tried it since my ex-bf coaxed me to and also to look cool. But i realised it is just foolish.

Saturday, November 15, 2008 at 5:30:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

It sounds as if the book you reference is a good account of Robert Wagner and Natalie Woods. It makes such a difference if these books are properly written by their subject rather than ghosted.

It sounds as if you can also directly cross reference the authenticity from this particular one, which must make it all the more fascinating.

A recent UK autobiography is one by Roger Moore, which he seems to have written himself and describes his relatively humble beginnings. Again, the person comes through in the text rather than a sub-editor changing the content.

The years without cigarettes sounds impressive; and to know as so many ex smokers do, the time of the last cigarette!

Best, rashbre

Saturday, November 15, 2008 at 5:38:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Thank you for taking us down memory lane with you.

Saturday, November 15, 2008 at 6:38:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

As always, I love reading your reminisces Naomi. Thanks for sharing!

Saturday, November 15, 2008 at 7:33:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

I'm probably one of the very few people who's never seen "Fiddler on the Roof." I should rent it.

As for the memories that Robert Wagner's book is bringing back to you, they're wonderful. I especially love the Natalie Wood collage. What a beautiful woman.

Saturday, November 15, 2008 at 8:20:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Well done on ehtering your 39th cigarette free year - I'm in my 9th and feel so much better for it. He was such a gorgeous young man wasn't he ~ a truly beautiful face. As was hers ~ truly beautiful.

Saturday, November 15, 2008 at 10:37:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Congrats on breaking your habit. I stopped many times before finally making it work. Strangely, that successful time was just cold turkey and I told myself I would not buy any more cigs and I didn't. I don't track the time since I quit as didn't want to give it that much significance in my life (though it is significant.) We all have to find what works for us.

You give a delightful personal touch to your writings about those individuals with whom you've had contact. You present them as the real people they are while respecting their talent.

I was told RW and NW used to visit family in the general area out here, but because of insurance reasons could not ride together. The story was they each had to travel in their own limo and communicated by phone between the two vehicles on those drives.

I've read that a number of actors who became stars themselves have been mentored when young by older women Hollywood stars with whom they established sincere romantic attachments. Same can be said for numerous starlets, but the stereotypical stories told are usually about young women. You probably know much better than I and perhaps I'm misinformed.

Sunday, November 16, 2008 at 2:56:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

You present a whole new perspective on the lives of these people who are so 'distant' to people like me. Your connection to the events in the book must make reading so much more personal for you.

Congratulations on the anniversary of quitting smoking. This demonstartes that sometimes giving up is the best course of action :) I am so glad you are still here with us to share these memories.

Sunday, November 16, 2008 at 3:54:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

i enjoyed that post so much ... i love to listen to stories like the ones you shared ...

God certainly has blessed you with a remarkable life! lived without that publicity glare, yet still within seeing & knowing what all that is about ...

i'll come back to read more ...

:o)

Sunday, November 16, 2008 at 6:48:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I loved reading your review of this book. I have always liked Robert Wagner. He is quite a handsome man too!! I can see how reading this would bring back so many memories for you.

I'm so glad you gave up smoking Naomi! It would truly be sad not knowing you! Four packs a day was ....so many!! Good for you for kicking that nasty habit!! XXXX

Sunday, November 16, 2008 at 1:47:00 PM PST 

Anonymous Randy - Las Vegas
had this to say:

Again -- you never cease to amaze with your wonderful stories.

You should write book and movie revues for the public at large because you have such a wonderful personal touch to the commentary.

Always fun when I click on your blog - always something so interesting !!! Hugs

Sunday, November 16, 2008 at 5:31:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Naomi - when are you going to write YOUR book of amazing memories???

Sunday, November 16, 2008 at 5:38:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Dear Naomi, Congratulations for giving up the smoking habit..

I enjoyed your 'book review' I have been reading his book and am about half way through. Reading your review only makes me want to read faster...He was my favorite movie star when I was a teen-ager and I loved the "Hart to Hart" series on TV. I still watch reruns if I find them once in a while.

Thanks for sharing your wonderful memories with us. BTW, last week I bought the DVD of "Fiddler on the Roof" believe it or not I have never watched it. After reading your review I think I will be watching it one evening this week.

Sunday, November 16, 2008 at 7:05:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

What wonderful memories. I always thought Natalie Wood was the most beautiful woman ever.

I gave up smoking 7 months ago on the 14th. I didn't want to, but after a lifetime of smoking, the damage had been done and I had to. I have to say, I have never felt better in my life and wish I would have done it a long long time ago.

Sunday, November 16, 2008 at 8:03:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Congratulations on your
39th smoke-free year. Just great!

I would love to read this book, it looks wonderful!

Thanks for your kind words on my grandparents's post. I would like to write more about them, but my English is not so good to tell their stories... I have many, many amazing stories about them, because both live longer! Maybe someday I write another post.

Have a nice week ahead!
Many hugs!

Monday, November 17, 2008 at 8:28:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Congratulations on being smoke free for so long! I think I am at 3 years and 3 months. I couldn't imagine going back but it took me an awfully long time to feel that way. They smell so horrible!

I enjoyed your post. I remember when Natlie died and the rumors were flying. She was so lovely and I remember being shocked when I grew up and found out that Natalie Wood was not the squeaky clean girl Hollywood portrayed her to be in my childhood. I think people's personal lives were much much privater in those days. Now anyone who drinks at all has it plastered all over every magazine and Celeb show.

I would like to read Robert's book. I find all the Hollywood stories fascinating.

Monday, November 17, 2008 at 9:37:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

So much to write about!! This post was marvelous.
Norma Crane died WAY too young. What a loss of a friend to those who knew her, and a loss to us who would have loved to see her act in many more films. Her performance in Fiddler was wonderful.
Natalie and Robert were such an attractive couple.
Her death was such a tragedy. I'm sure the effects on her family were lifelong, even if most of them did get somewhat past it over the years. Those kinds of tragedies really do take their toll.
Congrats on being smoke free for so many years!!!!

Monday, November 17, 2008 at 3:43:00 PM PST 

Anonymous Anonymous
had this to say:

What a great review and once again, thanks for sharing all those "inside" details with us. I have always loved Natalie Wood...ever since I saw her in Splendor in the Grass, when I was a teen-ager. They made such a great couple. And it was very interesting to read about Norma Crane as well. Both of them gone way too soon!
Terri
http://www.islandwriter.net

Monday, November 24, 2008 at 6:59:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Very interesting take on Robert Wagner's autobiography. Haven't read it yet, I may read it soon. I do like hearing about how successful people got their start.

Visit my blog

Monday, May 17, 2010 at 11:10:00 AM PDT 

Anonymous Kevin R.
had this to say:

I loved Natalie Wood. I still love Natalie Wood. I understood Natalie from the first time I saw her in a film...I was about eleven at the time.

I had always dreamed of meeting her, and that Sunday when she died, I felt a loss I had never experienced up until that time.

Did you notice, Naomi, that Wagner did not include Natalie in his dedication? He dedicated the book to six (I think six) women, but did not include Natalie.


I love the part where he writes that he thought he bought two plots (one for himself) when Natalie died. He says that it turns out he didn't, so he won't be buried next to her.

I have since read "Goodbye Natalie, Goodbye Splendour," and according to the captain of the Splendour, Dennis Davern, Wagner was in a terrible fight with Natalie up until the moment she disappeared from the boat. Davern writes that Wagner refused to call for help. He opened a bottle of scotch and proceeded to get Davern and himself drunk.

Going over many of Wagner's interviews since Natalie died, I noticed that he has very little good to say about her.

He sanctioned the book "Natalie Wood, A Life" by Gavin Lambert. The book paints Natalie as some half-baked actress who caused her own death.

Natalie was getting ready for bed when Wagner entered their stateroom and they started arguing. This was just after Wagner had smashed a wine bottle over a coffee table while shouting to Christopher Walken, "You want to **** my wife." Walken's hand started to shake and he rose and went to his room. Natalie went to her room. (Wagner has finally confirmed the bottle smashing incident after Dennis Davern let it be known, but he leaves out the part about what he shouted to Walken). Wagner never told this to the police. He never told the police he was fighting with Natalie.

Natalie had a pathological fear of deep, dark water and would never have taken the dinghy out alone...she didn't even know how to operate it.

Wagner would not identify Natalie's body after she died. He made Dennis Davern do it. Davern started drinking heavily in the years after Natalie's death. He was haunted by the fact that he covered up for Wagner.

The man that wrote Wagner's book, Scott Eyman, wrote a review of Natalie a few years before. In it, he says that she is an icon who dosen't deserve the title. He cuts down every one of her performances. For "Splendour in the Grass," he writes that Kazan could get a good performance out of anyone. For "This Property Is Condemned," he says that Redford would make any actress look good.

That is the man who Wagner chose to write his autobiography--can you see what I'm saying?

I have lost all respect for Mr Wagner.

However, I enjoyed reading your memories of Natalie. This was a real treat.
Thanx, Kevin

Monday, April 11, 2011 at 5:03:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

here we have all these emotions and memories written by the author about norma crane, natalie wood, etc....and then's there is a little postscript about the author quitting smoking and then what....you see all these comments about people and smoking! it's ridiculous. people are so self-absorbed, so egocentric, it is pathetic... so stupid.
people are like...'duh, i get to talk about myself' and the article IS NOT ABOUT YOUR DUMB SMOKING HABIT. narcissistic idiots.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 7:48:00 PM PDT 

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Name: OldOldLady Of The Hills
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