Birthday: July 20, 1938
Famous: Actresses American Women
Also Known As: Natasha Gurdin, Natalie Wood Wagner
Sun Sign: Cancer
Died At Age: 43
Born In: San Francisco, California, U.S
Spouse/Ex-: Richard Gregson (M. 1969–1972), Robert Wagner (M. 1972–1981)
Father: Nikolai Stepanovich Zakharenko
Mother: Maria Stepanovna
Siblings: Lana Wood
Children: Courtney Brooke Wagner, Natasha Gregson Wagner
Died On: November 29, 1981
Place Of Death: Santa Catalina Island, California, U.S
Cause Of Death: Drowning
Natalia Nikolaevna Zacharenko, popularly known as Natalie Wood, was a famous American film and television actress who appeared in 56 movies in her career. She started out young and started acting at the age of 4. At the age of 8 she acted in one of the most successful films of her life—‘Miracle on 34th Street’. She was also well accepted in the industry as a teen actress with movies like ‘Rebel Without a cause’, ‘West Side Story’, etc. Wood became a successful Hollywood young adult star, receiving three Academy Award nominations before she was 25 years old. The versatility of her acting in these movies paved a smooth way for her to enter into the world of cinema and she won many awards in her acting career, like, National Association of Theatre Owners’ Star of Tomorrow Award, three Golden Globe Awards, Mar del Plata Film Festival Award, etc. Wood always had a troubled personal life, which also affected her professional life from time to time. She was controversially married to her childhood crush and actor Robert Wagner, twice and met her tragically fateful death at the age of 43 in a drowning accident while she was yachting with Wagner and co-star Christopher Walken.
Childhood & Early Life
Natalie Wood was born in San Francisco to Russian immigrant parents--Nikolai Stepanovich Zakharenko and Maria Stepanovna. Her father was a day laborer and carpenter, and her mother was an aspiring actress.
Wood was encouraged to pursue performing arts from young age; she was enrolled into ballet class by her mother and at the age of 4 she got an opportunity to act in the movie titled ‘Happy Land’ in 1943.
In 1947, Wood signed up with 20th Century Fox studio for her first big role, the Christmas classic ‘Miracle on 34th Street’. The film was responsible in making her one of the top child artists of Hollywood.
Wood continued her education with acting as California law required that until the age of 18 actors were supposed to spend at least three hours per day to studies. A teacher was hired to teach her on the sets.
Wood’s first major ingenue role came at the age of 16 with ‘Rebel Without a Cause’ in 1955. She starred along with James Dean and was nominated for an Academy Award for her convincing acting as a mutinous teenager.
In the following year, she acted in ‘The Searchers’ along with John Wayne. Although she only played a small role but it was an important one. She also graduated from Van Nuys High School in the same year.
Her adult acting career, in spite of going through a rough patch because of various flops that she endured, took off with ‘Splendor in the Grass’ in 1961. She was casted in the movie by director Elia Kazan.
That same year, she starred in another distressed love story, ‘West Side Story’, a spin-off of Shakespeare’s Classic ‘Romeo and Juliet’. In the movie, Wood’s character falls in love with a boy from the poor area of the city.
Wood’s other movies from the ‘60s include: ‘Gypsy (1962)’, ‘Love with the Proper Stranger (1963)’, ‘The Great Race (1965)’, ‘Inside Daisy Clover (1965)’, ‘This Property Is Condemned (1966)’, ‘Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969)’, etc.
In 1970, Pregnant with her first child, Wood took semi-retirement as she wanted to pay more attention to her role as a mother.
Later on she made television appearances with ‘The Affair (1973)’, ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1976)’ and ‘Switch (1978)’.
By the late ‘70s, Wood started working more frequently and did movies like: ‘Meteor (1979)’—starring opposite Sean Connery, ‘The Last Married Couple in America (1980)’—a sex comedy, ‘The Cracker Factory (1980)’ and TV series ‘Here to Eternity (1980)’.
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