"I always liked spy stories.""I keep working under the delusion that someday a library will ask for my manuscripts.""I met an American woman and got married so I had to get a job.""I use the city because it saves time, I don't have to do a lot of research on the setting.""In France, I learned about wine and cheese."
He grew up in the East Tremont section of The Bronx, the son of Russian Jewish immigrants; his father, Max, was a doctor, and his mother, Jessie, was a nurse. A graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School, he received a master's degree in aviation law from Northwestern University in 1949.
Wager was best known as an author of mystery and spy fiction; his works included 58 Minutes (1987), whose story was used as the basis of the action film Die Hard 2 in 1990. Two of his other novels became major motion pictures in 1977: Viper Three (1972), which was released as Twilight's Last Gleaming, and Telefon (1975). Wager wrote a number of original novels in the 1960s under the pseudonym "John Tiger" that were based on the TV series I Spy and Impossible.
Prior to making his reputation as a novelist, Wager was a Fulbright Fellow at the Sorbonne in Paris and diplomatic adviser to Israel's Director of Civil Aviation. He was also a writer and producer for CBS Radio, CBS television, and NBC television and was editor-in-chief at Playbill from 1963 to 1966. In addition, Wager worked in public relations for ASCAP and the University of Bridgeport.