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 Mission: Impossible.Born Walter Herman Wager in the Bronx, NY, he was the son of Russian immigrants, and he attended Columbia College at Columbia University. He graduated in 1944 and later earned a law degree from Harvard; the practice of law interested him less than aviation, however, and Wager subsequently entered a fellowship program at Northwestern University through which he earned a degree in aviation law. He attended the Sorbonne for a year under a Fulbright scholarship at the end of the 1940s, and then turned his attention to earning a living. Wager spent the early '50s working as an aviation law consultant to the government of Israel, and from there moved to an editorial job at the United Nations, where he oversaw the editing of that organization's myriad publications. His interest in writing got him into radio at the tail-end of that medium's era of prominence, authoring scripts, and in his spare time he wrote stories. He was also a writer and producer for CBS Radio, CBS television, and NBC television and was editor-in-chief of Playbill from 1963 to 1966. In addition, Wager worked in public relations for ASCAP and the University of Bridgeport.