Book of the Week: You Must Remember This by Robert J. Wagner

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With the passage of time, icons fade, or pass, or disappear. Robert Wagner — star of Hart to Hart, The Pink Panther, and to later generations henchman Number 2 in the Austin Powers films — is one of the last remaining icons of Hollywood’s Golden Age of the 1940s and 50s. With his new memoir You Must Remember This, Wagner takes readers back to those hallowed days with an account that is at once glamourous and intimate, celebrity-driven and personal.

Unlike the revelations of his 2008 memoir Pieces of My Heart, in which Wagner recounted his affairs with the likes of Joan Crawford, Elizabeth Taylor and Barbara Stanwyck, among others, You Must Remember This focuses less on Wagner’s personal life and more on the world around him, the Hollywood he made home as a young man. Wagner offers off-screen, intimate connections with stars like Judy Garland and Charlie Chaplin, peeling back their iconic statures to reveal the people behind the images. But this isn’t just a scrapbook of memories; Wagner also analyzes the changes he has witnessed in Hollywood over more than half a century, and looks at the career arcs of his friends and peers, trying to figure out why some thrived and others disappeared.

You Must Remember This is essential reading for anyone with an interest in Hollywood, past and present, anyone with a taste for glamour and a curiousity about what some of the biggest stars in the world were really like. Which, honestly, is just about every reader, isn’t it?