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Natalie Wood
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Natalie Wood

Natalie Wood
Natalia Nikolaevna Zakharenko (July 20, 1938 - November 29, 1981), better known as Natalie Wood, was an American film actress. She was the sister of the also famous actress Lana Wood.

She was born in San Francisco, California as the daughter of Russian immigrants. Soon her parents changed their surname to Gurdin, and at the age of 4 she was billed as Natasha Gurdin. A well-known child star, she was one of the relatively few who made the transition to adult stardom. By the time she was 28, she was already a three-time Oscar nominee, winning Academy Award nominations for Rebel Without a Cause, Splendor in the Grass and Love With the Proper Stranger. Another of her great films was the musical by Leonard Bernstein, West Side Story, in which she played the leading character Maria. Having a nice voice, she was supposed to sing all her songs; however, in the end she was dubbed by a professional singer, which was to her a great disappointment. During these years, which were the best of her career as an adult actress, she was a real Hollywood star, and was compared favorably with Elizabeth Taylor.

Her two marriages to actor Robert Wagner, conducted in the public eye, were stormy; but they were once more reconciled at the time of her death. She was in the middle of filming of the movie Brainstorm and preparing to make her stage debut in a Los Angeles production of Anastasia, opposite Dame Wendy Hiller, when she drowned in a 1981 overnight accident while their yacht was anchored at Catalina Island, off the coast near Los Angeles.

She is buried in Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery.


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