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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, Maria Stepanovna (Zudilova) and Nikolai Stepanovich Zakharenko, 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 (1943). 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 (1946). 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 (1947), 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 (1955) 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 (1961), West Side Story (1961), Gypsy (1962), and Love with the Proper Stranger (1963). 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 (1966) 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 (1969). 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 (1979). After making The Last Married Couple in America (1980), Natalie began work on Brainstorm (1983) 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 »

Natalie Wood Death Investigation -- Exercise in Futility

Natalie Wood Investigation
Exercise in Futility

Sources in the L.A. County District Attorney's Office are scratching their heads over the Natalie Wood death investigation, because they say there's no way the D.A. is going to prosecute Robert… READ MORE >

Natalie Wood Death -- Detective Never Thought It Was Murder

Natalie Wood Death
Investigating Detective Never Thought It Was Murder

The detective who investigated the death of Natalie Wood back in 1981 says he would have arrested Robert Wagner himself if the evidence pointed in that direction, but instead he "never really got… READ MORE >

- 2409 days ago
Christopher Walken -- Working During Natalie Wood Drama

Christopher Walken
Working During Natalie Wood Drama

As the re-opening of the Natalie Wood death investigation made headlines, Christopher Walken was on the set of his latest project, "Seven Psychopaths."Walken was on board the boat the night… READ MORE >

- 2409 days ago
Natalie Wood Death Boat -- Inside the Splendour

Natalie Wood Death Boat
Inside the Splendour

The guy who bought the boat Natalie Wood was on the night she drowned from Robert Wagner has spent the last 10 years restoring it ... as you can see from these photos from inside the boat. Ron… READ MORE >

- 2409 days ago
Natalie Wood -- Forget Her Not

Natalie Wood
Flowers at Her Grave

With news the investigation into her death had been re-opened, a few fresh flowers and pennies were left yesterday at Natalie Wood's gravestone at Westwood Village Cemetery in Los Angeles.The… READ MORE >

- 2409 days ago
Captain Dennis Davern of Natalie Wood Boat -- I Was REALLY Drunk

Natalie Wood Death Investigation
Captain Says I Was REALLY Drunk

The captain of the boat where Natalie Wood spent the last moments of her life was extremely drunk during the critical moments before and after she went missing ... this according to the Captain… READ MORE >

- 2410 days ago
Christopher Walken -- NOT a Suspect in Natalie Wood Death

Christopher Walken
NOT a Suspect In Natalie Wood Death

Sources familiar with the L.A. County Sheriff's Dept. investigation into the death of Natalie Wood tell TMZ ... Christopher Walken is NOT a suspect in Wood's death and he is in no way being… READ MORE >

- 2410 days ago
Lana Wood -- Captain Says Robert Wagner Left Natalie Wood to 'Teach Her a Lesson'

Lana Wood
Cpt. Says Wagner Left Wood 'To Teach Her a Lesson'

Lana Wood is telling a chilling story about the night her sister died -- that Robert Wagner knew Natalie Wood was in the water ... but instructed the captain of the yacht to "leave her there,… READ MORE >

- 2410 days ago
Natalie Wood Death Investigation -- Robert Wagner NOT a Suspect

Natalie Wood Investigation
Robert Wagner NOT a Suspect

Robert Wagner is not a suspect in Natalie Wood's death -- this according to the L.A. County Sheriff's Department -- but a spokesperson says they've received new information that was "substantial… READ MORE >

- 2410 days ago
Natalie Wood May Have Struggled for Hours Before She Died

Natalie Wood
May Have Struggled for Hours Before She Died

Natalie Wood was wearing a red down jacket when authorities discovered her body 30 years ago ... and her wardrobe could prove she floated alive in dark water for hours while Robert Wagner… READ MORE >

- 2410 days ago
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