Thursday, November 24, 2016

Biographical Documentary: Natalie Wood: Too Young to Die

This documentary was a look at the life of Natalie Wood.  It mentioned the controversy surrounding her death, but did not dwell on this, rather focused on her life.  Wood was an actress who was able to go from child star, to adult super star.  This does not happen very often.
She was born of Russian immigrants, Natasha Zakharenko,, and Natalie Wood was her stage name.  She would later name her daughter Natasha.  As a child star, she portrayed the girl who doubts Santa Clause in the "Miracle on 34th Street."  She was often cast as a daughter in films, and was in more than 20 films as a child.  Her mother also promoted her, and taught her how to get rolls by endearing herself to directors or actors.  The documentary shows several excerpts of a childhood friend, who always stayed close to Wood.  His insights were very good, and told how entering the movie business meant several changes she Wood did not necessarily like, name change, residence change etc.  She grew up on studio food and schooling.
Wood's life had some tragedy.  She was raped at age 16 by someone posing as a producer.
However making the transition to adult films required some manipulation.  She was in a car accident, and got a policeman to call her a juvenile delinquent.  Through this she was cast in the teen film "Rebel Without a Cause" with James Dean.  In this roll she won an academy award for best supporting actress.  This was here coming of age movie.
Wood would continue to have problems with relationships.  It was rumored she had relations with directors.  She married Robert Wagner.  And divorced him when she discovered him in bed with another man.  There was a time she only felt she could talk to her analyst.  She even turned down roles which would take her away.
She then married producer Richard Gregson and had her first daughter.  She married when she overheard an inappropriate conversation he had with his secretary.
She would remarry Robert Wagner and they also had a daughter together.  The remained together until her death in 1981.  She drowned.  From a young age Wood had a fear of water, and did not swim.  Somehow she fell from their boat off Catalina Island.

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