Natalie Wood (who is Natalie Wood?)

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Natalie Wood (born Natalia Nikolaevna Zakharenko) was an American actress of Russian descent, born on July 20, 1938, in San Francisco, California. She began her film career as a child and became a successful Hollywood star as a young adult, receiving three Academy Award nominations before she turned 25.

Early Life and Career: - Natalie Wood's parents were Russian immigrants and Wood spoke both English and Russian at home. - Her mother, Maria Stepanovna, nurtured Wood's interest in film, moving the family to Los Angeles to help her pursue an acting career. - Wood landed her first major role at age eight in "Miracle on 34th Street" (1947), which was a critical and commercial success.

Rise to Stardom: - As a teenager, Wood gained acclaim for her performance in "Rebel Without a Cause" (1955), where she starred alongside James Dean and received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. - Throughout the 1960s, she continued to appear in major Hollywood productions, earning Best Actress Oscar nominations for her roles in "Splendor in the Grass" (1961) with Warren Beatty and "Love with the Proper Stranger" (1963) opposite Steve McQueen.

Iconic Roles: - Perhaps her best-remembered role is that of Maria in "West Side Story" (1961), a film adaptation of the Broadway musical of the same name, which won 10 Academy Awards. - Another notable film was "Gypsy" (1962) where she played the role of famed striptease artist Gypsy Rose Lee.

Personal Life: - Wood was known for her high-profile marriages to actor Robert Wagner; they married in 1957, divorced in 1962, then remarried in 1972. - She also had a brief marriage to producer Richard Gregson with whom she had a daughter, Natasha Gregson Wagner.

Tragic Death: - Wood's life came to a mysterious and tragic end on November 29, 1981, when she drowned off the coast of Catalina Island near California at the age of 43. The events surrounding her death have been the subject of speculation and controversy due to the presence of her husband, Robert Wagner, and actor Christopher Walken that evening. The case was reopened in 2011, but no conclusive evidence has altered the original finding of accidental drowning.

Legacy: - Even after her death, Wood's films continue to enjoy a fan following and her work has left a lasting impact on Hollywood. - She has been commemorated in various ways, including documentaries, television specials, and biographies discussing her life and contributions to the film industry.

For more detailed information and insights into her life and career, you may want to consult biographical books such as "Natalie Wood: A Life" by Gavin Lambert or visit comprehensive databases like the IMDb page for Natalie Wood which includes a filmography, biography, and various related media articles: Natalie Wood - IMDb.

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