Natalie Wood – Russian Hollywood star
Natalie Wood was an American actress. She was one of the most beautiful Hollywood stars of the twentieth century. Natalie was called Russian queen of Hollywood and Russian Elizabeth Taylor. During her lifetime she entered the history of cinema and became one of Hollywood legends.
Natalie Zakharenko (her real name, then Gurdin) was born on July 20, 1938. She was the daughter of Russian immigrants Nikolai Stepanovich Zakharenko from Vladivostok, and Maria Stepanovna Zudilova from Barnaul, who became US citizens and changed their surname to Gurdin. Natalie was fluent in both English and Russian (with an American accent) and considered herself “very Russian”.
Her acting career began at the age of four and soon Wood became a successful child actress starring in such films as Miracle on 34th Street (1947), The Ghost & Mrs. Muir (1947) and The Star (1952).
The role of Judy in the film Rebel Without a Cause with James Dean in the title role brought her a nomination for Oscar in 1955.
Natalie became world famous after her roles in the films West Side Story (1961), Gypsy (1962) and The Great Race (1965).
And her roles in Splendor in the Grass (1961) and Love with the Proper Stranger (1963) brought her two more nominations for an Academy award. Natalie became one of the sex symbols of the 50s and 60s.
Her career continued during the 1960s and at the beginning of a new decade, then Wood devoted herself to the family. One of the last major roles she played in the TV movie From Here to Eternity in 1979 and was awarded Golden Globe.
Natalie Wood drowned on November 29, 1981 under mysterious circumstances during the voyage on a yacht. Wood was sailing with her husband and actor Christopher Walken, with whom she was making a film.
Her younger sister, Lana Wood, released two books-biographies about the life of the actress after the death of Natalie.
During her short life (43 years) the actress played in 38 films.
In 1957, Natalie married actor Robert Wagner. The couple lived together until 1961 and officially divorced in 1962.
In her search for love and stability, she engaged in a number of high-profile romances with such stars as James Dean, king of rock’n’roll Elvis Presley, Dennis Hopper, and most notably, Warren Beatty.
After a failed marriage and a number of failed romances, she decided to end her life. Fortunately, her attempt failed.
In 1969, Wood married British producer Richard Gregson. They divorced in 1972.
In 1972, Wood reunited with Robert Wagner and they were re-married in 1974 and lived together until her death.
The actress died when her older daughter was 11 and her younger was 7 years old.