Natalie Wood was born Natalia Nikolaevna Zakharenko on July 20th 1938 in San Francisco. Her parents were Russian and spoke little English, but did get US citizenship. When Natalie was four, a production company came to her town, and she managed to get the part of a little crying child in the movie ‘Happy Land’. Natalie’s mother saw this is the start of a great career for her daughter and moved them to Los Angeles.
For the first few years in Los Angeles, Natalie had no success in her acting. Then, aged seven, she did a screen test for the 1946 movie ‘Tomorrow is Forever’. However, she failed the screen test and had to be persuaded to go back and try again by her mother. This time she fared better and was awarded the role. The movie was one of today’s all-time classics, the 1947 ‘Miracle on 34 th Street’.
Natalie’s childhood acting career really took off then, and she continued to enjoy big roles in the 1940s and 1950s, including the 1955 movie ‘Rebel Without a Cause’ in 1955. This won her an Academy Award nomination. Other movies included ‘West Side Story’, ‘Love with the Proper Stranger’, and ‘This Property is Condemned’. This was her last movie for several years, and she made a comeback in the 1969 film ‘Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice’.Married to actor Robert Wagner, Natalie’s last movie was ‘Brain Storm’ with Christopher Walken. On 29 th November 1981, the 43-year-old Natalie drowned in a yachting accident.
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