The talented actress was born 80 years ago
Remembering the Hollywood symbol Natalie Wood
She remains one of the most memorable Hollywood actresses of all time, a symbol in one of the most appreciated movie history eras with several timeless classics. Natalie Wood, born Natalia Nikolaevna Zakharenko on July 20, 1938, began her career as a child actress at age four and by age eight, she got her first relevant movie role with Maureen O’Hara in the 1947 classic Christmas film “Miracle on 34th Street”. It was during the 1950’s that she became a worldwide famous actress, specially after co-starring with James Dean in the 1955 Nicholas Ray classic “Rebel Without A Cause”, portraying an anguished teenager in a timeless image still that is still associated to her today. The role, earned her a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Wood reached the pinnacle of success in her movie career during the 1960’s, starring in several important movies including “West Side Story” in 1961 and “Gypsy” in 1962.
And again, received Academy Award for Best Actress nominations for her performances in two other classics “Splendor in the Grass” in 1961 and “Love with the Proper Stranger” in 1963. But during that period, at the height of her success, she took a break from acting and only starred in three movies during the 1970’s. In between she married actor Richard Wagner and producer Richard Gregson, divorcing him to marry Wagner again. Wood had two children including actress Natasha Gregson Wagner, with producer Richard Gregson, that was born during her second marriage to Wagner. Towards the late 1970’s, reportedly, Wood’s private life was being affected by her increasing drug and alcohol abuse.
During a break on the making of the movie “Brainstorm”, on November 29, 1981, aged only 43, Natalie Wood drowned while on a weekend boat trip to Santa Catalina Island on board the Splendour. On board were also husband Robert Wagner, “Brainstorm” co-star Christopher Walken, and the Splendour’s captain, Dennis Davern Many of the circumstances surrounding her drowning are unknown. The events surrounding her death have been controversial due to conflicting witness statement prompting the LASD to declare the cause of her death as “drowning and other undetermined factors.” To this day, her death remains one of Hollywood’s biggest mysteries and is still under ongoing investigation.
In 2012, Los Angeles County Chief Coroner Dr. Lakshmanan Sathyavagiswaran amended Wood’s death certificate and changed the cause of her death from accidental drowning to “drowning and other undetermined factors.” The amended document included a statement that the circumstances of how Wood ended up in the water are “not clearly established”. The coroner’s office had been instructed by detectives not to discuss or comment on the case. Most recently, Robert Wagner who has always denied any involvement in Wood’s death, was named a person of interest in the investigation in February 2018. Natalie Wood left a legacy of talent and beauty of one of Hollywood’s favorite era for Pop culture. Her untimely death hasn’t ended her popularity and today, she would had turned 80. Curiously, just like her two “Rebel Without A Cause” co-stars James Dean and Sal Mineo, she too died young and under mysterious circumstances.
Remember the talent of Natalie Wood watching a famous scene of her and James Dean from the 1955 movie “Rebel Without A Cause”
Also watch an intense and emotive scene from “Splendor In The Grass”, 1961
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