Friday, July 24, 2009

Wende Wagner

Another performer who led a more exciting life than most of us ever will, yet remains forgotten today.

Billy Wilder saw her in a swimming pool in a Florida hotel and invited her to a screen test, just like that. Mind-bogglingly, she turned down a chance to be in Wilder's film The Apartment, instead doing bit parts and underwater stunt-double work on shows like Wagon Train, Flipper, Sea Hunt, Perry Mason, Aquanauts, etc. Traveled the world as a fashion model. Became best friends with Sharon Tate and was her roommate for awhile. Married Robert Mitchum's son. Got plum roles as a starring regular in the Green Hornet TV series, and in Rosemary's Baby. Gave up acting after appearing in early 70s TV shows like Mannix and The Rookies. Became active in the Malibu Historical Society. Lost her home and belongings in a fire, then died of cancer in 1997 at the age of 55.

View: Wende Wagner on the What's My Line? game show (1960).

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