Movies

Robert Wagner: Women have it harder in Hollywood

  • Elizabeth Taylor and Robert Wagner.

    Elizabeth Taylor and Robert Wagner.  (Getty)

  • Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood.

    Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood.  (Getty)

  • Jill St. John and Robert Wagner

    Jill St. John and Robert Wagner  (Getty)

Robert Wagner has worked with some of the world's most famous actresses, from Marilyn Munroe to Bette Davis to Elizabeth Taylor to his wife Natalie Wood. Wagner's memories of these actresses and more fill his latest tome, "I Loved Her in the Movies: Memories of Hollywood's Legendary Actresses." The 86-year-old star best known for the long running series "Hart to Hart" spoke to FOX411 about his long list of leading ladies.

FOX411: Was it nice to walk down memory lane and remember all these women you've worked with?

Robert Wagner: It was fabulous, it was just a fabulous experience and you know it's a tribute to them and these wonderful ladies who gave us all so very much and particularly me. And what a gift it was to have met all of them and worked with them. I didn't meet all of them, but I worked with most of them.

FOX411: Who was your favorite person to work with?

Wagner: Oh my favorite person to work with, what a question to ask! I very much enjoyed the opportunity to work with Bette Davis, that was a thrill for me. And I loved working with Audrey Hepburn and Sophia Loren and Elizabeth Taylor.

FOX411: Who wasn't so fabulous?

Wagner: Well you know everybody has their moments. Shelley Winters was a bit difficult, that was kind of a known thing. But I didn't have much to do with her. She just created a little bit of problem on the set.

FOX411: You say women have it harder in Hollywood.

Wagner: Yes I think so. I think women have it definitely harder everywhere too. In Hollywood I think a lot of people took advantage of them, it's hard for them to maintain their own direction and own feelings because people wanted them to do what they wanted them to do, and they wanted to do what they wanted to do, so that creates a conflict.

FOX411: You write that your late wife Natalie Wood had a difficult childhood.

Wagner: I think she did. One of the problems is when you're a successful woman, 'Do you love me for what I am or do you love me for my success?' and I think that applies in any profession with anyone, men too.

FOX411: How many of the actresses do you know that came from difficult circumstances?

Wagner: Most of the leading ladies that I write about in the book like Bette and Joan Crawford, they all came from difficult upbringings. Joan Blondell, born in a trunk, raised on the stage. But they gave up so much for us. They made such a tremendous impression on all of us and this is a tribute to all of them. That's the idea of the book.

FOX411: Back then a lot of actresses were forced to choose between career or children.

Wagner: Exactly and those are tremendous decisions and a lot of pull in both directions. That's one of the things we wanted to get across.

FOX411: Tell us about Marilyn Monroe.

Wagner: We knew each other when we were very young. I was under contract at Fox and she was too. I did both of her screen tests with her and she was a very joyous, happy young lady. She wanted to be a star and it was all very exciting for us, it was all new. And it was something we all wanted to do.

FOX411: You write that the rumor around town was that Lana Turner was a nymphomaniac. Do you think she was?

Wagner: I don't know, I wish I could have found out!

FOX411: Any actress you wished you'd had an affair with

Wagner: Many, many!

FOX411: Any you regret?

Wagner: No, I don't regret any of those!

FOX411: You're on "NCIS." Why do you think it's so popular?

Wagner: I think because it's a family and the show is run so well by Mark Harmon and the producers. They satisfy with the writing. They're all dedicated to it. Sometimes they come in even when they're not filming. It's a wonderful atmosphere to be involved in.

FOX411: You must have a whole new generation of fans.

Wagner: Sometimes I forget the power of television. I was in Romania and I was in the V.I.P. lounge before flying back and all these women reacted, 'Oh there's Mr. DiNozzo!'

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