I have just finished reading Robert Wagner’s biography “Pieces of My Heart” and I don’t think I have ever read a more touching story of love and devotion. Natalie and RJ (as he is affectionately known) had a bond that even divorce couldn’t break. First married in 1957 for almost 4 years, and then again in 1972 until Natalie’s tragic and untimely death at 43 in 1981.
RJ never stopped loving her, even when they were apart, he was consumed by his love for her.
I love this comment he makes about their enduring love:
“Over the years, we would run into each other a number of times… These moments were always intense – it was as if everybody else in the room froze and the sound died away and we were the only two people still moving, talking and breathing.”
Natalie was a child star, making her screen debut at age 4 and soon starring in 1947 at age 9 in Miracle on 34th Street. Her mother was probably one of the worst stage mothers I’ve ever heard of, even trying to impart her paranoia onto her grandchildren any chance she had.
Some of my favourite films of Natalie’s are: Rebel Without A Cause(1955), Splendor in the Grass (1961), Gypsy (1962), West Side Story (1961), Love With the Proper Stranger (1963), Inside Daisy Clover (1965), The Great Race (1965), Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice (1969).
Natalie’s favourite role was motherhood. She had two daughters, Natasha, born in 1970 (with her second husband Richard Gregson) and Courtney, who was born in 1974 after Natalie and Robert Wagner remarried.
Natalie gave up her career for many years to allow herself to be a mother to her girls. She reveled in motherhood, giving her girls a normal upbringing because she had missed out on of her own.
I’m off now to rent Gypsy, I just love her in that film and the costumes, boy oh boy!