Natalie Wood – very Russian American actress
Natalie Wood was an American actress, three-time Oscar nominee.
She was born on July 20, 1938. Her real name was Natalia Zakharenko, then Gurdina. Natalie was a daughter of Russian immigrants Nikolai Zakharenko from Vladivostok, and Maria Zudilova from Barnaul. They changed the name to Gurdin when became U.S. citizens. Natalie was fluent in English and Russian. According to her she was “very Russian”. During her stay in Los Angeles, Natalie was a parishioner of Holy Transfiguration Cathedral.
Her acting career began when the girl was only four years old. She became a very successful child actress. She played in films such as Miracle on 34th Street (1947), The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947) and Star (1952). For the role of Judy in the movie Rebel Without a Cause with James Dean she was an Oscar nominee in 1955.
Roles in West Side Story (1961), Gypsy (1962) and The Great Race (1965) brought Natalie world fame. And roles in Splendor in the Grass (1961) and Love with the Proper Stranger (1963) brought her two more nominations for an Academy Award.
Her career continued successfully during the 1960s and at the beginning of the new decade Wood decided to devote herself to her family. One of the last major roles she played in the movie Now and Forever in 1979, for which she was awarded the Golden Globe.
She was recognized as the most talented actress and played with such stars as Rex Harrison, James Dean, Gene Kelly, John Wayne, Frank Sinatra, and even with her idol Robert Wagner.
10-year-old Natalie fell in love at first sight with handsome Wagner. The girl came to her mother and said that she would marry him. And her dream came true. On December 28, 1957 Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner became husband and wife. However, the marriage of star couple was short-lived. After living together for only four years, Natalie and Robert divorced. According to rumors the reason was Natalie’s affair with the famous Hollywood heartthrob Warren Beatty. But it was not so, according to Suzanne Finsted, the actress caught her husband “in a compromising position with another man…”
After the divorce Natalie began changing partners, like flowers in a vase. But no man could compare with Robert.
In 1969, the actress married British producer Richard Gregson. They divorced in 1972 and Natalie returned to Wagner. The two remarried in 1974 and lived together until Natalie’s death.
“I’m in the black water and I know it is my death…” – it was her night dream, which she saw very often in recent years.
Wood drowned on November 29, 1981 under mysterious circumstances while sailing on a yacht. She was together with her husband Robert Wagner, actor Christopher Walken and yacht captain Dennis Davern. Many facts surrounding her drowning are unknown. The death of the Hollywood actress of Russian origin remained a mystery for 30 years, but now, new details of the accident have been unveiled. According to Radaronline.com, the captain of the luxury yacht told police that Wood’s husband told him what to say when the accident happened, instructing him “to never offer any details in reference to the circumstances surrounding Natalie Wood’s disappearance from the yacht on the night of November 28, 1981.”
One day Natalie told her close friends that someday she would write memoirs and entitle them “I have achieved everything I wanted!”
Her younger sister, Lana Wood released two books about the life of the actress after Natalie’s death.