Robert Wagner Honored In Great Neck

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The star received an award at the Gold Coast Arts Center gala

Robert Wagner signs the auctioned off graffiti art created on his picture at the gala by artist Diego Garcia (left) as wife Jill St. John looks on. (Photo by Sheri ArbitalJacoby)

Hollywood glitz and glamour made its way to Great Neck on Wednesday, Oct. 24, when the Gold Coasts Arts Center rolled out the red carpet for Robert Wagner and
a host of other stars.

Wagner was honored with the Burton Moss Hollywood Golden Era Award in recognition of his long, illustrious career, and much-needed funds were raised for the arts center’s education, enrichment and outreach programs, as well as the Gold Coast International Film Festival, which starts on Friday, Nov. 2.

After clips of Wagner’s films were shown at the Squire Theater around the corner, the actor sat down with film historian Foster Hirsch. During their conversation, Wagner recounted interesting stories about his childhood and career. When he was 7 or 8 years old, he was picked up from boarding school for an outing with his friend. He recalled sitting in the back seat of a convertible with his friend’s dad, Fred Astaire, at the wheel. Though he had no idea who the famous actor and dancer was at the time, Astaire later played Wagner’s father in the TV series It Takes a Thief.

Also in attendance was Wagner’s wife, actress Jill St. John; his youngest daughter with Natalie Wood, Courtney, who cohosts Boulevard, a new cable program about the movie stars of Hollywood; Cagney and Lacey costar Sharon Gless and her husband, producer Barney Rosenzweig; sculptor Edwina Sandys, the granddaughter of Sir Winston Churchill, who designed the award; W.C, Fields’ granddaughter, Dr. Harriet A. Fields; Princess Yasmin Aga Khan, the daughter of the first Burton Moss award winner Rita Hayworth, who as general chairman for the Alzheimer’s Association’s Rita Hayworth galas raised more than $75 million; and many others.

Guests returned to the Gold Coast Arts Center for cocktails, dinner, music and the award presentation.

During Wagner’s acceptance speech, he revealed that he and the award’s namesake, Budd Burton Moss, who represented some of Hollywood’s top stars, were childhood classmates and friends.

As the guests were celebrating, graffiti artist Diego Garcia transformed a picture of Wagner into a work of art, which was auctioned off and later signed by Wagner.

“Tonight we come together to celebrate an institution that opens doors to the future,” said Michael S. Glickman, president of the Gold Coast Arts Center. “Our extraordinary staff works each day to present our children with opportunities in the arts that speak to today and tomorrow. This gala and the film festival that follows are just a few examples of the richness of the offerings presented by this vital institution.”

Read our exclusive interview with Wagner here, and find out about the 2018 Gold Coast International Film Festival here.

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Sheri ArbitalJacoby brings more than three decades of publishing experience at national magazines to her position as editor of the Great Neck Record. She also writes decorating, travel, food and green articles for Long Island Weekly and Anton Media Group's special sections.

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