He’s one of the most recognized, durable actors of all time; he’s also a footnote in one of the most infamous Hollywood death mysteries of all time, that of his late wife Natalie Wood.

He’s Robert Wagner, born in Detroit in 1930. Unlike so many celebrities who hailed from Detroit, Wagner did not grow up in a hovel, or shack, or live in poverty. On the contrary – he lived in a palatial home located on Fairway Drive next to a golf course.

The impressive house was built in 1934 when Bob was four years old. His father Robert John Wagner Sr., who grew up in Kalamazoo, was well-to-do, being an executive in a steel company (other sites say he was a traveling salesman who worked for the Ford Company). His friends called him “Bob”, so to avoid confusion Robert Jr. inherited the nickname “R.J.” which stuck with him throughout his life.

98.7 The Grand logo
Get our free mobile app

The Wagner family was financially secure – enough so they could afford to leave Michigan in 1937 and move to California; the ‘veddy’ upscale Bel-Air, to be exact, leaving behind their expensive Detroit home. Living close to a golf course, Bob Jr. wound up caddying for famous actors such as Fred Astaire, Clark Gable, and Alan Ladd.

Out in California, it seemed that it was fate that brought them out, as Robert Jr. had his first movie role (uncredited) in the 1950 film The Happy Years. From there, his career kept gaining momentum and he became one of the country’s most recognizable movie & TV actors of all time. Who knows what would’ve happened if his father hadn’t dragged the family out to California?

The gallery below has photos of the inside of the former Wagner home on Detroit’s Fairview Drive.....very impressive.

The Childhood Home of Robert Wagner, Detroit


Inside (& Outside) of the W.K. Kellogg Mansion

The Former Mansion of Motown's Berry Gordy Jr.

Inside Aretha Franklin's Former Detroit Mansion

More From 98.7 The Grand