But even in that assemblage of Hollywood royalty, all eyes were on the ghostly and wasted figure of Wagner as he stooped to give his wife a farewell kiss.
He would eventually rebuild his career, marry again and learn once more how to flash that endearingly dazzling smile, but, for all the suspicion and innuendo that swirled around him, he preferred, for the next quarter century, to say nothing of the night of Natalie's death.
Even in the early days of his career, Robert Wagner, the well-raised son of a company executive, styled himself as an old-fashioned Hollywood gentleman, who sent flowers to his dates and remembered his co-stars' birthdays.
It was a great time in my life, to be a young actor in the motion picture business. And I think they might have, I think it came out a little bit.
After refusing to talk about the death of his wife for so long, his written explanation was, Wagner said, 'case closed' on the subject.
But for one woman, his account served only to reopen a painful wound that has festered for years. With her green eyes, pale skin and dark hair she is, even today at 63, a striking-looking woman who causes heads to turn as she enters a restaurant near the home that she shares with her daughter and family in the upmarket Los Angeles suburb of Thousand Oaks.
Miramax has been trying to promote the idea of "tadpoling" as this summer's trend.
But back in 1953, Wagner was way ahead of the game.