Actress Jill St. John, 79, is the longtime wife of actor Robert Wagner, both of will be featured in HBO’s newest documentary about his famous ex-wife, Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind, which premieres on May 5, at 9 p.m. ET
Wood was only 43 when she drowned near Santa Catalina Island on November 28, 1981, and the sudden loss of one of Hollywood’s biggest movie stars continues to mystify the world. What Remains Behind was co-produced by Wood’s daughter, Natasha Gregson Wagner, who also narrates the documentary. In the film, she interviews her stepfather, Wagner, 90, who married her mother in 1957, then again in 1972.
While Wagner was named as a “person of interest” in Wood’s drowning decades after she died, as seen in the documentary, his stepdaughter believes in his innocence.
St. John, was born Jill Arlyn Oppenheimer on August 19, 1940. Like her husband, she was an extremely successful actor who was married several times before finding love with Wagner.
Here’s what you need to know about Jill St John:
1. St. John & Wagner Started Dating Less Than a Year After Wood’s Death
Wagner and St. John started dating in 1982, and were together for 8 years before tying the knot on May 26, 1990. While the couple didn’t have children of their own, St. John is stepmother to Katie Wagner, his daughter with ex-wife Marion Marshall, Courtney Wagner, his daughter with Wood, and Natasha Gregson Wagner, Wood’s daughter from her relationship with producer Richard Gregson.
The couple, who met while they were both contract players at 20th Century Fox, has appeared in a slew of films together including Banning, How I Spent My Summer Vacation, and Around the World in 80 Days. In 2014, they appeared as Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus in the TV movie, Northpole.
St. John and Wagner split time between their homes in Los Angeles and Aspen, Colorado, but on 2007, they sold their 6-bedroom Brentwood estate in California for close $15 million.
2. St. John Started College At Age 15
While St. John became famous as a gorgeous woman on the silver screen, she was also incredibly smart. The actress graduated from Hollywood Professional School at age 14 and went on to study at UCLA’s Extension School where she majored in dramatic arts and minored in psychology. According to Glamour Girls of the Silver Screen, while a student at UCLA, her IQ tested out to be impressively high at 162.
St. John was offered a deal with Universal Pictures at age 16, which is when she left school to pursue her dream of acting. At age 17, she signed with 20th Century Fox.
3. The Golden Globe Nominated Actress Played The Bond Girl In ‘Diamonds Are Forever’
St. John started acting when she was five years old, had her major TV debut at age 9 as Missie Cratchet in A Christmas Carol, and worked consistently ever since. After starring in Summer Love in 1958 alongside John Saxon, however, her career really took off.
St. John starred in numerous films including The Remarkable Mr. Pennypacker, Holiday for Lovers, Tender Is the Night, Who’s Minding the Store? and Honeymoon Hotel. In 1963, she was nominated for a Golden Globe for her role in Come Blow Your Horn, which she starred in alongside Frank Sinatra.
Before taking on the role of Tiffany Case in 1971’s Diamond are Forever alongside Sean Connery, who played 007 at the time, St. John also enjoyed a steady TV career. She guest-starred on Batman, Burke’s Law, and Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In.
4. She Authored ‘The Jill St. John Cookbook’
St. John was born with a love for cooking as bother her parents, Edward and Betty Lou Oppenheim, were restaurateurs. In addition to becoming a food columnist for USA Weekend, in 1987, St. John published an eponymous cookbook, which is now considered a collectible item on Amazon.
The self-taught cook included healthy and trendy recipes such as flower salad, baked apple pancakes, and Jewish pizza, which is similar to the famous lox and cream cheese pie served at Spago.
5. St. John Was Married 3 Times Before Tying the Knot With Wagner
The actress was only 16 when she tied the knot with Neil Dubin, heir to a linen fortune in 1957. However, it was a brief union and they divorced a year later. In 1960, St. John married sports car racer Lance Reventlow, a union that fell apart after three years. Reventlow, the heir to the Woolworth fortune, died in a plane crash at age 36 in 1972.
In 1967, St. John tied the knot for a third time with singer Jack Jones, but they separated two years later.