The daughter of Russian immigrants who changed the family name to Gurdin after becoming U.S. citizens. The stage name Natalie Wood was given to her by a Hollywood producer who thought it was more marketable. She never legally changed her name from Natasha Gurdin.
Began career as a movie extra at age 4. At 8, she captured the hearts of audiences in the Christmas film Miracle on 34th Street.
As a teen actress ready to escape her child-star image, she accepted a role opposite heartthrob James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause, and earned her first Academy Award nomination.
Was associated romantically throughout her career with numerous high-profile men, including Elvis Presley, Warren Beatty and Dennis Hopper.
A publicity-staged date for her 18th birthday with handsome rising star Robert Wagner began a romance that resulted in marriage a year later.
Despite her fear of water and inability to swim, director Elia Kazan manipulated her into performing the reservoir scene in Splendor in the Grass (1961) instead of using a stunt double.
While her songs in West Side Story (1961) were recorded by renowned vocalist Marni Nixon, she did do her own singing the next year in Gypsy (1962).
In 1962, filed for divorce from husband Wagner after a reported infidelity. Married producer Richard Gregson in May 1969.
After learning Gregson was having an affair, she filed for divorce in 1971 and found comfort in the arms of first husband Wagner. They remarried in 1972.
Accidentally drowned at age 43 while spending a weekend on her yacht with husband Wagner and friend Christopher Walken.
Her death came while she'd been filming the sci-fi thriller Brainstorm; a new ending was devised using pre-existing footage.
Following her death, her sister Lana Wood authored a tell-all memoir and later coproduced the 2004 television movie The Mystery of Natalie Wood, directed by Peter Bogdanovich.
1963, BAFTA Film Awards — Best Foreign Actress: Nominee
1961, Oscar — Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role: Nominee
1964, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama: Nominee
1963, Oscar — Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role: Nominee
1957, Golden Globe — New Star of the Year - Actress: Winner
1967, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama: Nominee
1966, Golden Globe — Actress in a Leading Role - Musical or Comedy: Nominee
1980, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Drama: Winner
1963, Golden Globe — Actress in a Leading Role - Musical or Comedy: Nominee
1962, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama: Nominee
1966, Golden Globe — Henrietta Award (World Film Favorites): Winner
1955, Oscar — Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role: Nominee
Robert Wagner — Husband
Courtney Wagner — Daughter
Nikolai Gurdin — Father
Lana Wood — Sister
Natasha Gregson Wagner — Daughter
Olga Gurdin — Sister
Richard Gregson — Ex-husband
Maria Gurdin — Mother
Birth Name: Natalya Nikolaevna Zakharenko
Birth Place: San Fernando, California, United States