Natalie Wood

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Natalie Wood

Natalia Nikolaevna Zakharenko (July 20, 1938November 29, 1981), better known as Natalie Wood, was an American film actress. She was the sister of the also famous actress Lana Wood.

She was born in San Francisco, California to Russian immigrants. Her parents changed their surname to Gurdin, and at the age of 4 she was billed as Natasha Gurdin. A well-known child actor, she was one of the relative few who made a successful transition to adult stardom. By the time she was 28, she was already a three-time Oscar nominee, winning nominations for Rebel Without a Cause, Splendor in the Grass and Love With the Proper Stranger. Another of her great films was the Leonard Bernstein musical West Side Story, in which she played Maria. She was supposed to have done her own singing; however, in the end she was dubbed by professional singer Marni Nixon, which was to her a great disappointment. During these years, which were the best of her career as an adult actress, she was a real Hollywood star, and was compared favorably with Elizabeth Taylor.

Natalie Wood was also in close contact with several gay men in Hollywood circles including Nick Adams, Raymond Burr, James Dean, Tab Hunter, Scott Marlowe, and Nicholas Ray. She supported Mart Crowley in a manner that made it possible for him to write his play, The Boys in the Band (1968). According to reviewer Clive Barnes, this play was the "finest treatment of homosexuality I have ever seen on stage."

Her two marriages to actor Robert Wagner, conducted in the public eye, were stormy, but they were once more reconciled at the time of her death. In 1981 at the age of 43, Wood drowned while their yacht, The Splendor, was anchored at Catalina Island. The exact circumstances of her death remain the subject of much speculation. Los Angeles coroner Thomas Noguchi pressed for a deeper investigation into Wood's death, as there were many unanswered questions. Wood was on board the yacht with Wagner and actor Christopher Walken. There were reports that Wagner and Walken had a violent argument; Wood tried to leave the yacht and accidentally fell overboard. A woman on shore later said she heard cries for help in the water that night and heard other voices saying they were coming. Strangely, Wagner, Walken and the captain of the Splendor all denied this. Noguchi pointed out that Wood was legally intoxicated at the time of her death and there were unexplained marks and bruises on her body.

At the time of her death she was in the middle of filming Brainstorm and preparing to make her stage debut in a Los Angeles production of Anastasia, opposite Dame Wendy Hiller,

She is buried in Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery.


Awards and Nominations




  • Golden Laurel Awards - Marjorie Morningstar (1958) - Top Female Dramatic Performance (nominated)
  • Golden Laurel Awards - Top Female Star (nominated: 13th place)


  • Golden Laurel Awards - Top Female Star (nominated: 7th place)


  • Golden Laurel Awards - Top Female Star (nominated: 9th place)


  • Golden Apple Awards: Sour Apple - Least Cooperative Actress (won!)
  • Golden Laurel Awards - Top Female Star (nominated: 14th place)



  • British Academy of Film and Television Arts - Splendor in the Grass (1961) - Best Foreign Actress (nominated)
  • Golden Globes Awards - Gypsy (1962) - Best Motion Picture Actress: Musical/Comedy (nominated)
  • Golden Laurel Awards - Gypsy (1962) - Top Female Musical Performance (2nd place)



  • Golden Laurel Awards - Female Star (nominated: 6th place)
  • Golden Laurel Awards - Sex and the Single Girl (1964) - Comedy Performance (nominated: 5th place)


  • Golden Apple Awards: Sour Apple - Least Cooperative Actress (won!)
  • Golden Globe Award - Inside Daisy Clover (1965) - Best Motion Picture Actress: Musical/Comedy (nominated)
  • Golden Globe Award - World Film Favorite: Female (won!)
  • Golden Laurel Awards - Female Star (nominated: 8th place)



  • Golden Laurel Awards - Female Star (nominated: 12th place)


  • Golden Laurel Awards - Female Star (nominated: 9th place)


  • Golden Laurel Awards - Female Star (nominated: 9th place)




External links

de:Natalie Wood es:Natalie Wood eo:Natalie WOOD fr:Natalie Wood nl:Natalie Wood pl:Natalie Wood sv:Natalie Wood


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