December 7, 1941, said FDR, was “a date that would live in infamy.” This probably doesn’t say anything about Wende Wagner, who was born the day before. With both parents sports-minded Mom was a champion skier, Dad a swimming/diving coach turned career Navy officer she gravitated toward doing those things herself, and it’s said that Billy Wilder, then filming Some Like It Hot at Coronado, California, saw Wagner swimming and invited her to take a screen test. “Not while you’re still in high school,” declared the parental units. (Later, she did the test, but turned down a role in Wilder’s The Apartment.)
And so she became an underwater stunt player on Sea Hunt and The Aquanauts:
After her first marriage broke up, she decided that maybe standing in front of a camera might not be such a bad thing after all, and signed with 20th Century-Fox, where she had small roles in Rio Conchos and Rosemary’s Baby (on loan to Paramount), and a larger one in the TV series The Green Hornet.
She retired in the early Seventies, and was seldom heard from thereafter, until her death from cancer in 1997.