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Remembering Natalie Wood


Remembering Natalie Wood

January 06, 2020  |  by Bill Dobbins
By Bill Dobbins
There was no Internet in the 1950s, no cable TV so being on the cover of Life Magazine made you about as famous as you could get.

There is no doubt that things that are memorable to us when we are young tend to remain with us for the rest of your life.  In my youth, one of those things was the lovely, talented and beautiful actress Natalie Wood.  Nowadays, there are a huge number of really striking young female celebrities for teenage boys to fall in love with.  Everyone from Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande to Demi Lavato and Katy Pery – plus Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez and at least a dozen more.

Few child stars go on to have a career as adults as successful as that of Natalie Wood. | Source:

But back in the 1950s, as far as I can remember, there was Natalie Wood – a child actresss who matured into a heartbreakingly and sexy young actress who has an affect on me I never outgrew.  To the point where her untimely death affected me as if she were a member of my family – and it still does.

I bring this up because I happened to see Natalie Wood in a movie on TV recently and seeing her on-screen brought home to me how much I sill grieve over her loss, but also the tremendous power of images.

Rebel Without A Cause was pretty much the classic teen movie as “teenagers” emerged as a distinct consumer class in the early 1950s. | Source:
Natalie Wood with Tab Hunter. | Source:
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Natalie Wood with John Wayne in The Searchers, one of the all-time great westerns. | Source:
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Natalie Wood appeared on stage as well as in the movies. | Source:
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West Side Story was a major success for Natalie Wood. | Source:

Natalie Wood (born Natalia Nikolaevna Zakharenko; July 20, 1938 – November 29, 1981) was an American actress who began her career in film as a child and became a Hollywood star as a young adult. Wood received three Oscar nominations before she was 25. She began acting in films at age 4 and was given a co-starring role at age 8 in Miracle on 34th Street (1947).[2] As a teenager, she earned a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Rebel Without a Cause (1955), followed by a role in John Ford‘s The Searchers (1956). She starred in the musical films West Side Story (1961) and Gypsy (1962), and she received nominations for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performances in Splendor in the Grass (1961) and Love with the Proper Stranger (1963). Her career continued with films such as Sex and the Single Girl (1964), Inside Daisy Clover (1964), and Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969). – Wikipedia

On December 28, 1957, the 27-year-old Robert Wagner married Natalie Wood, who was 19 at the time. They separated in June 1961 and divorced on April 27, 1962.[37]In In early 1972, Wagner reconnected with Wood and remarried her on July 16, 1972[39] after a six-month courtship. Their only child together, Courtney Wagner, was born on March 9, 1974. Wood died in November 1981.

At age 19, Natalie Wood married actor Robert Wagner. They divorced and later remarried. | Source:


Actress (74 credits)
 1983Brainstorm Karen Brace
 1980Willie & Phil Natalie Wood
 1980The Memory of Eva Ryker (TV Movie) Eva Ryker / Claire Ryker
 1979Meteor Tatiana Donskaya
 1979Hart to Hart (TV Series) Movie Star
– Hart to Hart (1979) … Movie Star (as Natasha Gurdin)
 1979The Cracker Factory (TV Movie) Cassie Barrett
 1979From Here to Eternity (TV Mini-Series) Karen Holmes
– Part III (1979) … Karen Holmes
– Part II (1979) … Karen Holmes
– Part I (1979) … Karen Holmes
 1975-1978Switch (TV Series) Girl in the Bubble Bath / Cruise Ship Passenger
– The Cage (1978) … Girl in the Bubble Bath
– The Cruise Ship Murders (1975) … Cruise Ship Passenger (uncredited)
 1976Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (TV Movie) Margaret
 1975Peeper Ellen Prendergast
 1973The Affair (TV Movie) Courtney Patterson
 1972The Candidate Natalie Wood
 1969Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice Carol Sanders
 1966Penelope Penelope
 1965Inside Daisy Clover Daisy Clover
 1965The Great Race Maggie Dubois
 1964Sex and the Single Girl Helen Brown
 1963Love with the Proper Stranger Angie Rossini
 1962Gypsy Louise Hovick
 1961West Side Story Maria
 1961Splendor in the Grass Wilma Dean Loomis
 1960All the Fine Young Cannibals Sarah ‘Salome’ Davis
 1960Cash McCall Lory Austen
 1958Kings Go Forth Monique Blair
 1958Marjorie Morningstar Marjorie Morgenstern
 1957Bombers B-52 Lois Brennan
 1954-1957Studio 57 (TV Series) Sheila Mason
– Little Miss Bedford (1957)
– The Plot Against Miss Pomeroy (1954) … Sheila Mason
 1957Conflict (TV Series) Patsy
– Girl on the Subway (1957) … Patsy
 1956The Girl He Left Behind Susan Daniels
 1956The Kaiser Aluminum Hour (TV Series) Kathy Jo
– Carnival (1956) … Kathy Jo
 1956The Burning Hills Maria-Christina Colton
 1956A Cry in the Night Elizabeth
 1956Warner Brothers Presents (TV Series)
– The Deadly Riddle (1956)
 1956The Searchers Debbie Edwards – Age 15
 1955-1956Kings Row (TV Series) Renee Gyllinson
– Carnival (1956) … Renee Gyllinson
– Wedding Gift (1955)
 1955Camera Three (TV Series)
 1955Studio One in Hollywood (TV Series) Jen Potter
– Miracle at Potter’s Farm (1955) … Jen Potter
 1954-1955General Electric Theater (TV Series) Polly Gookin / Lucy
– Feathertop (1955) … Polly Gookin
– I’m a Fool (1954) … Lucy
 1955Max Liebman Spectaculars (TV Series) Klara Sesseman
– Heidi (1955) … Klara Sesseman
 1955One Desire Seely Dowder
 1955The Ford Television Theatre (TV Series) Polly Ramsay
– Too Old for Dolls (1955) … Polly Ramsay
 1955Four Star Playhouse (TV Series) Louise
– The Wild Bunch (1955) … Louise
 1954Mayor of the Town (TV Series) June / Mayor’s Niece
– The Old Triangle (1954) … June
– Papa Dear (1954) … June
– Junior Voters (1954) … June
– Mayor of the Town (1954) … Mayor’s Niece
 1954The Silver Chalice Helena as a Girl
 1954The Reluctant Redeemer (TV Movie)
 1954Public Defender (TV Series) Renee Marchand
– Return of the Dead (1954) … Renee Marchand
 1954The Pepsi-Cola Playhouse (TV Series) Monica
– Playmates (1954) … Monica
 1953-1954The Pride of the Family (TV Series) Ann Morrison
– Albie’s Train Trip (1954) … Ann Morrison
– Albie Baby Sits (1954) … Ann Morrison
– Albie’s Discipline Campaign (1954) … Ann Morrison
– Albie and the New Catherine (1954) … Ann Morrison
– Bringing Back Romance (1954) … Ann Morrison
 1952The Star Gretchen
 1952Just for You Barbara Blake
 1952The Rose Bowl Story Sally Burke
 1952The Schaefer Century Theatre (TV Series)
– Playmates (1952)
 1952Chevron Theatre (TV Series)
– Playmates (1952)
 1951The Blue Veil Stephanie Rawlins
 1951Kraft Theatre (TV Series) Becky Thatcher
– The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1951) … Becky Thatcher
 1951Dear Brat Pauline
 1950The Jackpot Phyllis Lawrence
 1950Our Very Own Penny Macaulay
 1950No Sad Songs for Me Polly Scott
 1949Father Was a Fullback Ellen Cooper
 1949The Green Promise Susan Matthews
 1949Chicken Every Sunday Ruthie Hefferan
 1948Scudda Hoo! Scudda Hay! Eufraznee ‘Bean’ McGill
 1947Driftwood Jenny Hollingsworth
 1947Miracle on 34th Street Susan Walker
 1947The Ghost and Mrs. Muir Anna Muir as a Child
 1946The Bride Wore Boots Carol Warren
 1946Tomorrow Is Forever Margaret Ludwig
 1943Happy Land Little Girl Who Drops Ice Cream Cone (uncredited)
 1943The Moon Is Down Carrie (uncredited)

Few child stars continue to have successful careers as they mature, much less go on to earn multiple Oscar nominations.  But Natalie Wood was extremely talented as well as beautiful and continued to create significant performances throughout her career. She was only 43 at the time of her accidental death by drowning, which in this age of stars knowing how to take care of themselves and stay fit and youthful, means she still had a long career ahead of her.

Natalie Wood’s last movie. She didn’t live to see it completed. | Source:

After making The Last Married Couple in America (1980), Natalie began work on Brainstorm (1983) in the fall of 1981 with Christopher Walken. She did not live to see it released. On November 29, 1981, she was sailing on the yacht she shared with her husband, Robert Wagner, their friend Walken, and the yacht’s skipper Dennis Davern, when Natalie fell in the ocean while trying to board the dinghy tied up alongside the yacht and drowned. She was 43 years old. Natalie had made 56 films for TV and the silver screen and it’s hard to say what she could have done while making her comeback. “Brainstorm” was finally released in 1983.     IMDb Mini Biography ByDenny Jackson

Natalie Wood in a very daring movie for the time. | Source:
Natalie Wood in Gypsy, portraying stripper Gypsy Rose Lee. | Source:
Prior to the 1950s, the media liked to present stars as highly glamorized. After, it was more common to see photos of the that were more informal, such a barbecuing in the back yard. | Source:
Natalie Wood – absolutely gorgeous. | Source:
January 06, 2020

About the Author

Bill Dobbins

Bill Dobbins

Bill Dobbins THE BODY PHOTOGAPHER became well known for his male and female physique photos - images of the aesthetic, athletic body. Using the same distinctive personal style, characterized by strong graphics and a classic look in both color and BW, Bill Dobbins has also developed a body of work featuring fashion, beauty and glamor photos In a world in which so many images create a level of "noise" that makes it hard for advertisers to be noticed, Bill's work cuts right through the confusion and grabs the eye. Bill has created two art photos books: The Women: Photographs of the Top Female Bodybuilders (Artisan) and Modern Amazons (Taschen) and his fine art work has appeared in two museums and several galleries. WEBSITES BILL DOBBINS PHOTOGRAPHY BILL DOBBINS ART THE FEMALE PHYSIQUE WEBZINE/GALLERY EMAIL:

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