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Website Title

Natalie Wood
Date of Birth 20 July 1938, San Francisco, California, USA
Date of Death 29 November 1981, Santa Catalina Island, California, USA (drowning and other undetermined factors)
Birth Name Natalia Nikolaevna Zakharenko
Nicknames Natalia
Natasha
Height 5' (1.52 m)
Mini Bio (1)
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 Guardians 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.
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).

Spouse (3)
Robert Wagner (16 July 1972 - 29 November 1981) (her death) (1 child)
Richard Gregson (30 May 1969 - 12 April 1972) (divorced) (1 child)
Robert Wagner (28 December 1957 - 27 April 1962) (divorced)


She suffered from a deep fear of drowning after having barely survived an accident when she was a little girl, during the filming of The Green Promise (1949). Her fear was so great that Elia Kazan had to lie - promising a double - and trick her into doing the scenes at the water reservoir in Splendor in the Grass (1961).
Following her untimely death, she was interred at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles, California. On her grave, marked Natalie Wood Wagner: Beloved daughter, sister, wife, mother & friend "more than love".



Attended ballet classes as a child with Jill St. John and Stefanie Powers. All three women would go on to have long-term relationships with Robert Wagner.
Pallbearers at her funeral were Rock Hudson, Frank Sinatra, Laurence Olivier, Elia Kazan, Gregory Peck, David Niven and Fred Astaire.
Gave birth to a daughter, Courtney Wagner, on March 9, 1974. Child's father is Robert Wagner.
Gave birth to a daughter, Natasha Gregson Wagner, on September 29, 1970. Child's father is Richard Gregson.
Her death was kismet, as she always cited a fear of water.
Her and co-star Richard Beymer's singing voices were both dubbed in West Side Story (1961). The woman who dubbed Natalie, Marni Nixon, also dubbed Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady (1964) and Deborah Kerr in The King and I (1956). It was later reported that Wood was disappointed that her singing voice was not used in the movie.
Her paternal grandparents were Stephan Zakharenko and Eudoxie Pachinko, and her maternal grandparents were Stepan Ilich Zudilov and Maria Andreevna Kaleva. She was of Russian and Ukrainian ancestry. Her father was an architect, and her mother was a ballerina. She could do a proper plié before she could barely walk.
Her mother, Maria, claimed that the family was closely related to the Romanov dynasty.
Spoke Russian and English.
Though some people cite her mother as being French, her mother is Russian. The source of this misconception comes from the studio that Natalie worked at when she was a child -- people noticed her mother's accent, and when asked if she was French, Maria replied: "Oh yes", a white lie that would contribute to this confusion.
Younger sister Lana Wood made an ABC TV special on Natalie's life, The Mystery of Natalie Wood (2004).
Was offered the role of Daisy Buchanan in The Great Gatsby (1974) under the condition that she screen test for the role. Wood refused to do the screen test, and Mia Farrow was cast instead.
Turned down the role that went to Ali MacGraw in Goodbye, Columbus (1969).

Voted one of the top sex stars of the 1970s in Playboy magazine.
Called "The Most Beautiful Teenager in the World" by Life magazine in 1956.

She started smoking at age 16.
Godmother of her daughter Natasha Gregson Wagner was Ruth Gordon, who played Natalie's mother in the film Inside Daisy Clover (1965).
She starred in over 40 theatrical films between ages 4 and 27. She went into semi-retirement afterward, only appearing in five movies between age 28 and her death at 43