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Natalie Wood

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Natalie Wood was born on July 20, 1938, in San Francisco, California, as Natalia Nikolaevna Zakharenko. Her parents were Russian-born émigrés, of Ukrainian and Russian descent, who spoke barely comprehensible English; they changed the family name to Gurdin after becoming US citizens. When she was just four years old, Natalie appeared in her first film, Happy Land. A production company had come to Santa Rosa, California, where the Gurdins were living and Natalie won a bit part of a crying little girl who had just dropped her ice cream cone. With stars in her eyes for her daughter, Mrs. Gurdin packed the family and moved south to Los Angeles in the hopes that more films would come her daughter's way. Unfortunately they did not, at least not at first, and the family continued to scrape by much as they had done in Santa Rosa. In 1946 Natalie tested for a role in Tomorrow Is Forever. She was only seven at the time, and flunked the screen test. Natalie's mother convinced the studio heads to give her another test, and this time she was convincing enough that they gave Natalie the role. In 1947's Miracle on 34th Street, she won the hearts of movie patrons around the country as Susan Walker in a film that is considered a Christmas classic to this day.Natalie stayed very busy as a child actress, appearing in no less than 18 films in the late 1940s and early 1950s. When she was 16 Natalie appeared in Rebel Without a Cause with James Dean, Sal Mineo and Dennis Hopper. She played Judy, a rebellious high school student who was more concerned with hanging out with the wrong crowd than being a sweet teenager like her contemporaries. The result was her first Academy Award nomination and a defining moment in her development as an adult actress. She appeared in Splendor in the Grass, West Side Story, Gypsy, and Love with the Proper Stranger.While Natalie was reported to be unhappy making "West Side Story", the film did win Oscars for Best Picture, Best Direction, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Supporting Actress. In short, it was a smash hit. Although she wasn't nominated for an Academy Award in that one, she did receive nominations for her roles in "Splendor in the Grass" and "Love with the Proper Stranger". After This Property Is Condemned in 1966, Natalie stayed away from Hollywood for three years to have time for herself and to consider where she was going. When she did return her star quality had not diminished a bit, as evidenced by her playing Carol Sanders in the hit Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice. From that point on Natalie didn't work as much. She made a few television appearances, but nothing of substance with the exception of the TV mini-series From Here to Eternity.After making The Last Married Couple in America, Natalie began work on Brainstorm in the fall of 1981 with Christopher Walken. She did not live to see it released. On November 29, 1981, she was sailing on the yacht she shared with her husband, Robert Wagner, and their friend Walken, when Natalie fell in the ocean while trying to board the dinghy tied up alongside the yacht and drowned. She was 43 years old. Natalie had made 56 films for TV and the silver screen and it's hard to say what she could have done while making her comeback. "Brainstorm" was finally released in 1983.  See full bio on IMDb »

LATEST STORIES
  
Natalie Wood Death -- Robert Wagner Not a Suspect Because of Death Certificate Change

Natalie Wood
Wagner NOT a Suspect Because of Death Change

Robert Wagner is NOT a suspect in Natalie Wood's death, TMZ has learned ... this in the wake of a change in her death certificate.We broke the story ... the L.A. County Coroner has changed Wood's… READ MORE >

Natalie Wood Death Certificate Changed -- Cause of Death Now "Undetermined"

Natalie Wood
Death Certificate Changed "Undetermined"

Natalie Wood's death certificate has been changed from "Accident" to "Undetermined" ... TMZ has learned.Law enforcement sources tell TMZ ... the L.A. County Coroner filed documents making the… READ MORE >

- 803 days ago
Natalie Wood's Daughter -- Arrested for Coke, Heroin After Blowout Fight

Natalie Wood's Daughter
Busted for Coke, Heroin After Blowout Fight

Natalie Wood's daughter with Robert Wagner was arrested this week for coke and heroin possession -- after a nasty fight with someone in her house ... a fight that led to a gunshot.Law enforcement… READ MORE >

- 871 days ago
Christopher Walken -- If I Won the Lottery, I'd Buy a Yacht!

Christopher Walken
If I Won the Lottery, I'd Buy a YACHT!

Christopher Walken either has a dark sense of humor ... or a bad memory ... 'cause the guy says his Lotto dream is to buy a yacht. Sounds great ... until you remember he was on board Robert… READ MORE >

- 901 days ago
Natalie Wood Case -- Boat Captain Suggests Cops Could Be Withholding Info

Natalie Woods Case
Boat Captain Suggests Cops Could Be WITHHOLDING Info

Cops might not have been 100% honest when they said they turned up goose eggs in the Natalie Wood homicide investigation -- this according to a rep for the boat captain.As we previously reported,… READ MORE >

- 981 days ago
Natalie Wood Investigators -- We Ain't Found Squat!!!

Natalie Wood Investigators
We Ain't Found Squat!!!

The re-opened investigation into Natalie Wood's death turned up goose eggs ... as in nada, zilch, zero, zip ... this according to cops. The L.A. County Sheriff's Department says investigators have… READ MORE >

- 981 days ago
Robert Wagner -- Signs Off on Natalie Wood Photo

Robert Wagner
Signs Off on Natalie Wood Photo

Robert Wagner refuses to ignore his history with Natalie Wood -- despite the fact he's a person of interest in a renewed investigation into her death. Wagner made an appearance at a movie theater… READ MORE >

- 1009 days ago
Robert Wagner -- Going Public After Natalie Wood Death Investigation Re-Opened

Robert Wagner [VIDEO]
Going Public After Natalie Wood Death Investigation Re-Opened

For the first time since cops reopened the Natalie Wood case as a homicide investigation -- the dead actress' former husband Robert Wagner showed his face in public.Wagner remained tight-lipped… READ MORE >

- 1010 days ago
Natalie Wood Investigation -- Expert Says Captain's Polygraph May be Worthless

Natalie Wood Investigation
Captain's Polygraph Test May be Worthless

Captain Dennis Davern passed a lie detector test on the details he remembers about Natalie Wood's death -- only problem is ... Davern was wasted the night she died ... so the results may be… READ MORE >

- 1030 days ago
Robert Wagner -- I'm a Murder Suspect ... On TV

Robert Wagner
I'm a Murder Suspect ... On TV

File this under bad timing ... actor Robert Wagner -- currently the target in the Natalie Wood death probe -- will play a murder suspect on "NCIS" tonight.In the episode, 81-year-old Wagner -- who… READ MORE >

- 1031 days ago

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