Natalie Wood Biography Current News Death Profile Childhood.

NAME: Natalie Wood
OCCUPATION: Film Actress
BIRTH DATE: July 20, 1938
DEATH DATE: November 29, 1981
EDUCATION: Van Nuys High School
PLACE OF BIRTH: San Francisco, California
PLACE OF DEATH: Santa Catalina Island, California
Originally: Natalia Nikolaevna Zakharenko

Natalie Wood's drowning 30-plus years ago has been changed from "accidental" to "undetermined" on her death certificate, members of her family say.The entertainment news Web site TMZ   reported Friday its law enforcement sources say the Los Angeles County coroner filed documents making the change late last month and members of Wood's family told it county sheriff's deputies paid them a visit to inform them of the change.

  
Sheriff's investigators have reopened the investigation into the death of Wood  , who was 43 and married to actor Robert Wagner when she fell off a boat anchored off Catalina Island in November 1981 and drowned, TMZ said. There had been a party aboard the boat earlier. Actor Christopher Walken also was on the boat that night.
   
Natalie Wood was an American film actress. She won acclaim for her role in Miracle on 34th Street when she was only 9. A dark-haired beauty of Russian-French extraction, she successfully transitioned to teenage and adult roles in Rebel Without a Cause, Splendor in the Grass, West Side Story, Love with the Proper Stranger and Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice. She drowned in a boating accident.

A Child Actress  
The daughter of Russian immigrants, Natalie Wood started performing an early age. Her mother Maria enrolled her ballet classes as a small child. At the age of 4, Wood landed her first film role, a bit part in Happy Land, which happened to be filming in Santa Rosa, California, where she was living at the time. She had won over director Irving Pichel after her mother orchestrated their introduction. Later Wood said that her mother told her to "make Mr. Pichel love you."
   
The dark-haired, doe-eyed girl soon made other film appearances. Wood   tugged on the heart strings of audiences with her small role as an orphan in the 1946 drama Tomorrow Is Forever with Claudette Colbert and Orson Welles. In 1947, she again won over move-goers with her first starring role, in Miracle on 34th Street. This movie, about a girl who questions the existence of Santa Claus, made Wood as a star.
Major Film Roles
   
At the age of 16, Wood began filming one of her most famous films. She co-starred with James Dean and Sal Mineo in the 1955 groundbreaking depiction of teenage rebellion and angst, Rebel Without a Cause. In the film, Wood played the girlfriend of a troubled outsider, played by James Dean. She earned an Academy Award nomination for her work.
   
As an actress under contract, Wood sometimes had to make movies that she didn't want to. Her mother also pressured her at times, too. One of her least favorite projects was The Searchers, a 1956 western starring John Wayne. Wood felt she had been miscast as a white girl who was abducted and then raised by Native Americans.
   
Wood struggled to get good acting parts, but in the 1960s she landed some of her most famous roles. In 1961, she starred opposite Warren Beatty in Splendor in the Grass, playing the part of young girl torn by desire and social conventions. In this role, Wood showed great range as an emotionally fragile young woman driven to madness. That same year, she starred in another troubled romance, West Side Story, in which she falls for a boy from the wrong side of the tracks. This urban retelling of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet proved to be a hit. Wood did all her own dancing in this popular musical, but her singing was done by Marni Nixon, a Broadway performer.

Mirroring her own life story in a way, Wood played the title character in 1962's Gypsy, the musical about stripper Gypsy Rose Lee. Rosalind Russell co-starred as her domineering stage mother who drove her daughter to perform.

Off-screen Drama  
Wood earned a lot of press not just for her acting roles, but for her personal life. She enjoyed great popularity, becoming a hit with movie star fan magazines. Wood had numerous relationships—both public and secret—with her co-stars, colleagues and other stars. She dated actor Dennis Hopper, hotel dynasty heir Nicky Hilton, and even singer Elvis Presley.

Her first marriage in the 1950s also attracted much media coverage. The 18-year-old star wed actor Robert Wagner, eight years her senior, in 1957. The couple became a favorite subject in fan magazines. The union, unfortunately, did not last, with the pair splitting up in 1962. Around this time, Wood became involved with Warren Beatty.

Even after years of therapy, Wood reached a point of deep despair in 1966. She attempted to kill herself by drug overdose that year. As part of her recovery, Wood took a break from making movies. In 1969, she married Richard Gregson, a writer and producer. The couple had a daughter, Natasha, the following year.
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