Robert Wagner (Photo credit Greg Gorman) – One of the most popular and successful stars in the entertainment industry, Robert Wagner has had a career highlighted by three hit television series and an impressive portfolio of movies for film and television as well as becoming a best-selling author. While Wagner was still a young man under contract to 20th Century Fox, Darryl F. Zanuck cast him in “With a Song in My Heart. The part was perhaps a minute’s duration, but in that minute, the tears pouring from Wagner’s eyes as he played the role of a crippled soldier responding to the singing of Miss Hayward’s Jane Froman, brought immediate reaction pouring into the studio from the public. That one-minute part established Wagner as a major star, and he has been working every since.
For many Americans the upcoming Labor Day holiday is little more than a chance to relax and enjoy a three-day weekend, but its historical intent is to recognize the creation of the labor movement and the social and economic achievements of American workers. This week's encore essay from News-Press story-teller Amy Bennett Williams recounts her unlikely friendship with a prominent international labor organizer who helped create the United Auto Workers Union back in the 1930s, and who happened to spend part of the year here in Southwest Florida.