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The gorgeous Natalie Wood from a child star to a Hollywood diva

Neil Patrick

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Natalie Wood was an American film and television actress. She is known for her screen roles in Miracle on 34th Street,Splendor in the Grass, Rebel Without a Cause, The Searchers, and West Side Story. She first worked in films as a child, then became a successful Hollywood star as a young adult, receiving three Academy Award nominations before she was 25 years old.

 

Wood in a press photo taken in 1947 Source

Wood in a press photo was taken in 1947 Source

 

Wood with her Mexican Chihuahua in 1947 Source

Wood with her Mexican Chihuahua in 1947 Source

Wood began acting in movies at the age of four and, at age eight, was given a co-starring role with Maureen O’Hara in the classic Christmas film Miracle on 34th Street. As a teenager, her performance in Rebel Without a Cause (1955) earned her a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. She starred in the musical films West Side Story (1961) and Gypsy (1963) and received Academy Award for Best Actress nominations for her performances in Splendor in the Grass (1961) and Love with the Proper Stranger (1963). Her career continued with films such as Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969).

 

Wood in the film The Great Run (1966) Source

Wood in the film The Great Run (1966) Source

 

Wood in the film Penelope (1966) Source

Wood in the film Penelope (1966) Source

After this, she took a break from acting and had two children, appearing in only three theatrical films during the 1970’s. She was married to actor Robert Wagner twice, and to producer Richard Gregson. She had one daughter by each husband: actress Natasha Gregson Wagner and Courtney Wagner. Her younger sister Lana Wood is also an actress.

Wood starred in several television productions, including a remake of the film From Here to Eternity (1979) for which she won a Golden Globe Award. During her career from child actress to adult star, her films represented a “coming of age” for both her and Hollywood films in general.

 

Wood in the film Penelope (1966) Source

Wood in the film Penelope (1966) Source

 

Wood in The Jack Benny Show (1959) Source

Wood in The Jack Benny Show (1959) Source

 

Wood with Tom Bernard in Pride of the Family (1954).Source

Wood with Tom Bernard in Pride of the Family (1954).Source

 

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Wood in the film Gypsy (1962) Source

 

 

Wood in the film Gypsy (1963). Source

Wood in 1963. Source

 

Wood in a publicity photo c.1960 Source

Wood in a publicity photo c.1960 Source

 

Wood in the film Penelope (5) (1966) Source

Wood in the film Penelope (5) (1966) Source

 

Wood in the film Penelope (4) (1966) Source

Wood in the film Penelope (4) (1966) Source

 

Wood with her sister Lana in 1956 Source

Wood with her sister Lana in 1956 Source

 

Wood with Bob Hope in the Bob Hope Chevy Show (1957) Source

Wood with Bob Hope in the Bob Hope Chevy Show (1957) Source

 

Wood in the film The Last Married Couple in America Source

Wood in the film The Last Married Couple in America Source

 

Wood in the film Penelope (3) (1966) Source

Wood in the film Penelope (3) (1966) Source

 

Wood in the film Penelope (2) (1966) Source

Wood in the film Penelope (2) (1966) Source

 

Wood in a publicity photo taken in 1958 Source

Wood in a publicity photo taken in 1958 Source

 

Wood in 1964 Source

Wood in 1964 Source

 

Wood at her London home in 1973 Source

Wood at her London home in 1973 Source

 

Wood in 1981 Source

Wood in 1981 Source

During the making of her last film, Brainstorm Wood drowned while on a weekend boat trip to Santa Catalina Island, California. She was with her husband Robert Wagner, Brainstorm co-star Christopher Walken, and the boat’s captain, Dennis Davern, at the time. Many facts surrounding her drowning are unknown because no one admitted seeing how she entered the water. Wood’s body was discovered by authorities at 8:00 am on November 29th, 1981, one mile away from the boat, with a small inflatable dinghy, found beached nearby. According to Wagner, when he went to bed, Wood was not there. The autopsy report revealed that Wood had bruises on her body and arms as well as an abrasion on her left cheek.