Getty Images/Duffy-Marie Arnoult(NEW YORK) — Screen legend Robert Wagner has worked with some of the greatest female screen personalities of all time, from Marilyn Monroe to Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor to his former wife, Natalie Wood, and more.
Wagner’s new memoir, I Loved Her in the Movies, pays tribute to his talented female counterparts over his 60 year career. He sat down for a candid interview with Michael Strahan of Good Morning America about some of his favorite memories with these leading ladies.
“It really is a tribute to all of these wonderful women. They all gave us so much over the years. I was so fortunate to be able to work with so many of them…and know a lot of them,” Wagner told Strahan.
Famously known for his character Johnathan Hart on the TV series Hart to Hart — one of Strahan’s favorite shows — Wagner starred alongside Stefanie Powers, his on-screen wife, and the two had an undeniable chemistry.
“The chemistry worked with Stefanie and myself,” Wagner said. “And the audiences picked up on it. It was a great time for us. We all had a wonderful time.”
In his new book, Wagner describes the love he felt for the many talented women with whom he worked. One notable experience came at the start of his blossoming career with none other than Marilyn Monroe.
“Marilyn — I mean, we were all kids together. You know, I was the test boy at Twentieth Century Fox. I had the opportunity of testing with her twice,” Wagner recalled. “She was a terrific lady. I mean, she was wonderful and lots of fun. Joyous person. Had a great sense of humor. I liked her a lot.”
Wagner was known in Hollywood for his professional and social acquaintances. He went on to marry actress Natalie Wood, who starred in Miracle on 34th Street and West Side Story.
The actor tragically lost Wood when she drowned in a boating accident on Nov. 29, 1981. The official cause of death at that time was determined to be accidental drowning, but her sudden death remains one of Hollywood’s longest-running mysteries. Authorities have said Wagner is not considered a suspect in the case.
“It’s always with you,” he told Strahan of the loss. “It’s always — was a tremendous loss for all of us. And … we have our memories. And that’s the most important.”
Strahan challenged Wagner to a rapid fire word association game about his former female co-stars.
First up, Elizabeth Taylor. “You looked in those eyes and, I mean, it took — takes a lot of concentration, you know, to keep — keep going,” Wagner said laughing.
Both Wagner and Strahan had the pleasure of meeting Sophia Loren. Wagner said, “She’s got that wonderful warmth about her. You just feel it, you know?”
And finally, when asked about Audrey Hepburn, he said, “I just adored her. She was a very, very special lady.”
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