Warner's talent and creativity have led to her success in many careers: as a prominent free-lance fashion model, an award-winning television journalist, as an actress on stage and in film, as a writer, as a publisher, as a speaker and primarily a wife, mother and grandmother.
Her modeling career started as a “happy accident,” according to Warner. One day while standing by the elevator in Neiman Marcus a man approached her and asked if she was the model. She thought “no, but I should be.” That day she began to make a plan to become a real model. She set about to find a good fashion photographer, had a composite set of photographs made and began to call on all the fashion directors. Soon she was working for all the fashion stores in Houston – Neiman’s, Sakowitz, Battelstein’s, Isabell Gerhart, Joske’s, which is now Dillards, and Foley’s, which is now Macy’s. She became one of the most popular models to work in Houston. During the height of her modeling career, Warner auditioned for and won the role of Lorelei Lee in Gentlemen Prefer Blonds, one of Theatre, Inc.’s longest running productions. She continued singing and acting while modeling, performing excerpts from Hello, Dolly, Mame, Stop the World and The Unsinkable Molly Brown.
Her marriage to Bob W. Roberts produced the loves of her life, sons Bob, Jr. and Cliff Lee Roberts, who she credits with “teaching me everything I know about love.” Her favorite sayings to them throughout their lives: “God sits on your head and protects you in a White Light; careful is your middle name; teach those people how to live, which means – shine your light, set an example and do something good for somebody every day. Life is an adventure!”
Warner hosted a long-running daily television show, The Warner Roberts Show, and television specials, such as Texas Heritage with Famous Texans, and others for PBS and CBS. She has interviewed many of America's most celebrated personalities and luminaries, such as Nancy Reagan, First Lady Barbara Bush, First Lady Rosalynn Carter, Rev. Billy Graham, Charlton Heston and Frank Sinatra; there are hundreds on the list. Ann Hodges, long-time television critic of the Houston Chronicle said, “Warner's innate warmth, charisma, wisdom and understanding have made her infinitely qualified as a television host. Her one-of-a-kind personality transcends the aura of a star – Warner has class.” Famed photographer, Scavullo called her a “great beauty.” Joan Rivers calls her a “great interviewer.” Joyce Brothers called her “a great person.” And, artist Leroy Neiman said she has “great legs” and drew a portrait of her. She’s been instructed in self-defense by Arnold Schwarzennegger and Chuck Norris; she’s made Nancy Reagan cry, Queen Elizabeth laugh and Billy Graham pray.
Warner’s television career spans forty years, including a daily talk show, television commercials and television specials. She has hosted 15 telethons and Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo parades and emceed hundreds of events.
Her lifelong love of hearts prompted her to produce a red, heart-shaped cookbook to honor her Supermom, Ophelia Warner, inSupermom’s Country Cookin’ Cookbook . Ophelia was everyone’s favorite guest on The Warner Roberts Show. Warner created “A Celebration of Hearts” museum in the lobby of the Dr. Denton Cooley Texas Heart Institute in the Houston medical center, collecting 150 hearts from celebrities nationally and locally for the permanent exhibit. Her vision was “to provide a creative and aesthetically beautiful repose for patients and visitors to the medical center that will last for years to come.”
Warner believes in giving back to the city that has been so good to her. She has spearheaded events and served on many boards. Her history of volunteerism has been well documented and rewarded with awards that include the following: Crohn's and Colitis “Women of Distinction,” The Savvy Award,” The Cancer League “Pacesetter of the Year” and “Entertainer of the Year,” the American Heart Association “Heart of Houston” Award, the Shrine Hospital Award, Silver Grace Hope award, Wellsprings award, Houston Delta Gamma Foundation “Women of Vision” award, the Cancer League “Heart of Houston” award, Houston Children's Charity “Heart of Houston” award, The Mission of Yahweh “Leaders and Legends” award and the Lady Washington Chapter NSDAR “ Excellence in Community Service” award. She was the honoree of the first American Heart Ball Houston, the National Kidney of America Gala Honoree and the American ORT Gala Honoree. The Houston Chronicle named her one of the “Most Beautiful Houstonians.” In 2016, she was honored by the I Am Waters foundation. Mayor Jim McConn proclaimed Warner Roberts Day in 1980. She received a Social Book Day (for creating the book) proclamation from Bill White on January 20, 2005 and a Warner Roberts day proclamation from Sylvester Turner on May 31, 2017.
Warner has been profiled in three books: Texas Woman by Richard Pruitt and David Woo; The Evin Thayer Mayor's Millennium Celebrity Series, a book including photographs of 100 prominent Houstonians, and in a book placed in HISD libraries – Wind for New Wings ..a Message from the Leaders of Today to the Leaders of the New Millennium.
Warner has had roles in four feature films, a role on Unsolved Mysteries and a co-starring role with Shelly Duval in a movie made for television, Dreams in the Attic. Her love of writing started in high school when she worked on the high school newspaper. She took English and journalism classes at night school at the University of Houston. She has written hundreds of commercials, as well as scripts for her television shows and specials. She is a contributing editor for the national publication, Cowboys and Indians and for H Texas magazine.
In 1996 Warner created The Houston Calendar of Social Events (See The Social Book) to provide a comprehensive calendar of non-profit events along with an ultimate resource guide to assist anyone creating events in the city. In 2004, she added “Houston Treasures” to the book in order to honor 12 outstanding Houstonians who have demonstrated an exemplary dedication to serving the community. Mayor Bill White proclaimed Social Book Day, with Warner Roberts, founder, on the book’s 10th anniversary.
In 2010, Warner created an event that is held each year on Valentine’s Day to honor “Houston Sweethearts.” The award is given to honor those who are serving the Houston community.
In 1981, when Warner realized that Sister Helen Gay was providing shelter for homeless women and children in two shotgun shacks, she raised the money necessary to build the first Mission of Yahweh dormitory. Warner has worked as a special advisor to the Mission of Yahweh since a fund raising event was started in 2007. Since that time, approximately $3,000,000 has been raised for The Mission. On May 31, 2017, the first Mission dorm for which she raised the funds was named THE WARNER ROBERTS BUILDING and Mayor Sylvester Turner proclaimed Warner Roberts Day.
In her new book, Life is an Adventure – Eight Steps to a Happy Life – what I learned walking (modeling) talking (talk show host) and managing (marriage, motherhood and miracles) - Warner outlines what she has learned from her life’s journey which started with a “Miracle Adventure” when she was 12 years old. These steps have led her to a successful life; and she defines “successful” as how happy you are every day.
Warner lives in Houston with her husband, Bob W. Roberts, son Cliff Lee and his wife, Angie and twin sons Lee and Cliff; son Bob Jr. and his wife Kristin and sons Bob III, Ryan and John Luke live in Austin.