Wagner and Wood


The Picture Show annual for 1961 takes a look at how Robert Wagner and Nathalie Wood love messing about on boats

When Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood married in December 1957, voices of doom prophesied that “it would be all over in six months.” But the prophets were wrong.

“We’re a little bit sick of that ‘wherever she goes he goes, wherever he goes she goes’ bit,” declares Mr. Wagner.

“But what can we do about it? It’s true,” says Mrs. Wagner.

So they do nothing about it, which is as it should be since no pair in Hollywood are obviously as content in each other’s company.

Bob never proposed to Natalie formally.

“We were dining out, celebrating his return from Tokyo,” says Natalie. “I lifted my champagne glass and saw something glistening in the bottom. It was a ring and inside two words were engraved — ‘Marry Me.’ The rest is history.” After their marriage they began housekeeping in a boat. Before their marriage, Bob’s boat was named My Lady. They sold this and bought a larger craft, naming it My Other Lady, which they sold when they finally saw their “dream boat.” Before they could close the deal, however, their “dream ” became another’s — so they decided to buy a house.

Natalie is not sure that she likes living in a house for she feels more at home in a boat.

“When we want to get away for a weekend we just take our house with us,” she says. “ Before R. J. (she always refers to Bob as R. J.) and I were married, my knowledge of boats was confined to the Lurline over and back from Hawaii.”

She took to My Other Lady like a duck to water. “She was a good student,” says Bob with critical pride. “On our first trip out she didn’t make a mistake — until we docked, that is. Then she forgot to let go her hold on a rope and fell overboard. I saw it coming but was too frozen to do anything about it.”

Natalie even got a radio operator’s licence for the ship-to-shore telephone.

“When we would pull into the bay at Catalina I noticed all the other fellows on boats levelling their binoculars on us. That’s when I decided to put Natalie on the bow handling all the ropes. She is so tiny that it made quite a picture — and caused a mild sensation when the other boat-owners’ wives got together and protested. After watching Nat it seems the husbands demanded the same co-operation from them.”

Bob claims that Natalie’s tiny size — a slender 5 ft. 2 in. — is a distinct advantage to a boat-owner, especially when hard-to-get-at parts of the engine need repainting. This was her job on more than one occasion and once while thus engaged she attracted quite a gallery of onlookers all staring into the hold at her in disbelief.

She’s also a good cook at sea — but put her in a kitchen with all modern appliances and she burns herself.

Now they have their own house — a two-storey Colonial house in Beverly Hills, with a salt-water swimming pool — they are still managing to keep it as private as their private lives, only Natalie is willing to talk about it.

“The downstairs, with the exception of a den, is very formal,” she explains. “Marble floor is being installed in the entry hall and dining-room. The living-room has fitted carpet and is done in shades of ice blue with vivid accents. The den is wood panelled with leather furniture. This is our ‘entertainment centre’ with hi-fi, stereophonic sound, television, and a projection machine. There are three bedrooms, one an office, one a guest room, the third our room.”

When you saw them in All the Fine Young Cannibals, you saw something they vowed that they would never do — a film together.

The fact that they took their roles in it was because the film was different from others offered them — sticky comedies about young married couples and their domestic problems. These they turned down. However, they hope to make Seventh Heaven together, for they feel that its special qualities are in direct opposition to the wave of realism sweeping the world.

In addition to R. J. and Nat, the Wagner household includes two pets, both dogs. Chi Chi, Natalie’s, is a toy poodle, silver-grey in colour and small enough to fit into her handbag. Conroy, Bob’s, is a black Labrador retriever, a gift from Bing Crosby.

Natalie prefers to have her husband with her when she shops. When she can’t make up her mind between several choices, he says, “Take them all.” He prefers her in sports clothes.

Both love surprises and gifts prompted by nothing. Chi Chi was a “nothing” gift. So was Bob’s wrist watch engraved “I love you.” Bob has a passion for cars. The Wagners are now a two-Jaguar family — but they prefer to use one at a time — together.

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