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A place to update and discuss facts surrounding the controversial, tragic death of legendary Hollywood film actress, wife and mother, Natalie Wood who drowned mysteriously Nov. 29, 1981 off Catalina Island. Thank you for visiting.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Parts cut from an edited chapter of Goodbye Natalie Goodbye Splendour

Following is copy that the editor cut from the book. I fought to keep it because it is about Natalie Wood but there simply was not room enough for everything I had written over the years.

Chapter Copy:

Since 1983, what I learned about Natalie Wood had grown from a fan magazine portrait to a deep comprehension of a woman who tried to juggle it all.

She is legend.

I recently learned that a teacher needed a copy of a Natalie film entitled A Cry in the Night because she will be teaching a course examining the sexual revolution and is using Natalie’s life and career to teach the course.
Natalie is in the Encyclopedia Britannica. True legends are used in classrooms and make it to encyclopedias.

Natalie once said (Filmbug.com: On Being a Child Actor): “I spent practically all my time in the company of adults. I was very withdrawn, very shy, I did what I was told and I tried not to disappoint anybody. I knew I had a duty to perform, and I was trained to follow orders.”

On screen you often saw a fragile woman, but nothing was further from the truth. George Segal worked with her on The Last Married Couple in America in 1979. After her death, he said that everyone on the set had felt the need to protect her, but in reality she was stronger than all of them put together.

Yet nothing in Natalie’s accomplished career supersedes what she had perfected for her private life. When someone makes everyone around them happy and comfortable, a lot of work goes into the effort. Natalie always cared unconditionally for her family and friends, and she helped virtually every single person in that circle, continually. But even when Natalie drew away, it was an act of love and concern. She had learned when to stop enabling but still remained everyone’s rock of security to the day she died.

There is a song Natalie liked to sing as a young adult called When the World Was Young (artist Peggy Lee). You can picture Natalie with her cigarette holder tilted away, sitting at a night club table, a wine glass with lipstick imprint in front of her, smiling as she felt these words:

They call me coquette and mademoiselle
And I must admit I like it quite well
It’s something to be the darling of all
Le grande femme fatale
The Belle of the Ball

There’s nothing as gay as life in “Paree”
There’s no other person I’d rather be
I like what I do, I like what I see.
But where is the schoolgirl that used to be me?

You’ll see me in Cape D’Antibes, or in Spain,
I follow the sun by boat or by plane
It’s any old millionaire in a storm
For I’ve got my mink to keep my heart warm

And sometimes I drink too much with the crowd
And sometimes I laugh a little too loud
My head may be aching but it’s unbowed
And sometimes I see it all through a cloud.

Motherhood served as the catalyst that took Natalie to her decisive moment in life. When she held her daughter Natasha in her arms, she cradled her own lost childhood simultaneously. What she had missed, she now had returned. Her recaptured love with R.J. Wagner only intensified her desire to maintain the steadiness of her maturity.

Natalie Wood, the actress, was a consummate professional. Her personal favorite performance was in This Property Is Condemned. Her favorite film was West Side Story. As a woman, she was a vivacious blend of everything fun, sexy, chic, and beautiful—on and off the studio set. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, unless rules change, will never offer Natalie a lifetime achievement Oscar, as The Academy does not offer posthumous special awards, and lifetime achievement awards fall into that category. But, of all the things Natalie would have wanted since 1981 would be for her daughters to find contentment in life. Natalie’s daughters have grown into beautiful women. They were raised and cared for with love.

Natalie’s daughters always provided her with a complete sense of satisfaction that no studio job or award would ever be able to match. True contentment in life almost always comes down to loving and being loved. Natalie Wood cherished her Natasha and Courtney, her two daughters who filled her with pride.

Natalie knew exactly what she wanted in life. She wanted a normal life for her children, and she wanted contentment for her parents, her sisters and their children. She wanted to act. She valued her career. She wanted to continue loving. Natalie embraced life. She was a happy woman trying to work out some problems and emotions at the time of her death, but she deserves better than what she has since been dealt.

She was thought of in the industry as a survivor. Personally and professionally, she was a survivor. She still survives.  That's what legends do.


  1. Marti, Lovely words you have written.
    When I see the clips you posted here, or the new videos of Natalie on the "Mike Douglas Show" I find it is at once wonderful and disturbing. Disturbing, because I realize what a loss it was. She was such an intelligent and extremely articulate woman. I've never heard a woman speak as eloquently as Natalie did.

    I think I felt proud of her because she was accepting her age with such grace and dignity. She wasn't going to hide in some Hollywood home and live off of her past, and what a past it was --she was one of the biggest female stars in the world during the 1960's. Natalie loved life too much, and she was too smart to waste her life. There were still so many things she wanted to do.

    Natalie had problems like everyone else, but she never seemed to expect special privileges because she was Natalie Wood. She dealt with her problems head on.
    Ginger Blymer wrote me that Natalie never discussed her problems on the set...never. Ginger learned those things about Natalie from books. I love that about Ms Wood.
    I guess that's why it is important for me that the truth of how she died is revealed. The people that have loved her so much have had to deal with the story of a drunken Natalie falling off of a boat, in her nightgown.
    Thanks to you and Dennis, the truth has finally been told.

  2. Turner Classic Movies has made Natalie the Star of the Month for June. They will be showing some of her movies. It shows what a beautiful and talented actress we lost as well.

  3. In the end, Natalie has to be remembered for her life, and not for her death. She accomplished so much, and the wonderful thing is, that everything she accomplished is still here, still available to us. We can continue to see her performances, to hear her beautiful laugh and to see her beautiful smile, forever. It is important that history be corrected to reflect what really happened to her, to bring her justice. But history should reflect foremost the pleasure she gave to the world.

  4. I always loved hearing about Natalie as a person from Dennis. He always emphasized what a professional woman she was, that she knew how to handle everything, from hosting a small boat outing with poise and flair to knowing every drop of how a big work production should be handled. Her work ethic was impeccable, and she was smart with her business and craft.

    She made everyone feel special, but no one ever got the feeling her interest was idle interest. She genuinely cared about everything and everyone.
    Maybe because Dennis worked for her she took a special interest in him, but she was always concerned about how he was doing with his personal life as well as his work life. Sometimes their little side "therapy sessions" became about serious things and Dennis said she always gave the most helpful advice. Sometimes they just laughed their way through her playing his therapist...they'd be silly and joke with each other. Her eyes sparkled when she laughed.

    Natalie once told Dennis that she appreciated how he genuinely cared about her and her family and that she appreciated his loyalty. She trusted him completely. She allowed him to babysit her daughters and to be their "Uncle Dennis." Dennis never took those responsibilities lightly.

    I asked Dennis once, "If there is one moment you could change in your life what would it be?"
    He answered, "I would've trusted my gut instead of my boss when I was told she was missing."
    I recall once hearing a caller on the Larry King show ask Wagner that same question: He answered, "You're talking career right?" Larry picked up for him and said, "Well of course you'd change that night, right?"

    Yes, Natalie was a special woman, on and OFF the big screen. I wish I had taken the many opportunities I had to meet her, but it was the trip I always put off "until next summer."
    Through "my work" for Natalie, I do feel as if I've "met her." She will always be missed, even by people who still haven't "met her" because when they do, they will recognize what a great loss Hollywood and the world suffered.

  5. Actually, It's Sophia Loren that is slated as the Star of The Month in June on TCM...I wish it were Natalie though.

  6. Does anyone know when Natalie will be featured? I read and heard it was going to be Natalie for June. I wonder why it changed. Does anyone know?

  7. Anonymous 2:01 pm is mistaken; Natalie Wood IS the Star of the Month for June. I just checked the schedule and it did not change. Monday evenings in June are showing Natalie films.


  8. By Anonymous 2:01. Yipes, I was wrong and I'm so happy I was. Thanks to (whoever you are) I appreciate you setting this straight for me and everyone else and sorry about my mistake.

  9. Natalie semi-retired at the young age of 28 after working consistently in the business since age four. She only completed 4 theatrical films during the next fifteen years before her death at 43. I wish she had done more, and likely she would have if not for the personal issues caused by her mother and robert wagner.

  10. To Anonymous 10:26 PM,,
    Natalie Wood semi-retired from films because she wanted to raise a family...it was as simple as that.
    To Anonmymous 10:17 AM,
    It is too important--too important--to the memory of Natalie Wood that the truth about the way she met her death be revealed to the public. The public has lived with a false story of a drunken Ms Wood falling off the back of her boat in the middle of the night. The story goes on to say that she was intoxicated and dressed in her nightgown. I'm sorry, but I have a major problem with that fairy tale.

  11. Yes I know. But what did you mean when you said "she wasn't going to hide and live off her past" she didn't need too. She left the business at an age when most actresses were just starting out...she wasn't forced to leave, it was a choice. Good for her that she got to spend time with her kids instead of making movies - considering she would die when her daughters were only seven and eleven.

  12. Many, many actresses leave the business once they hit the 40 y/o mark. I've read about this many times. You would be amazed at how many popular names just disappeared.
    I love that Natalie did a movie like "The Cracker Factory" which showed a middle-aged woman trying to cope with middle age. She didn't have to do this. She had a great run during her youth and could have left it there. But, Natalie was so much more than just a pretty face. She wasn't afraid to show herself not looking at her best.
    I believe it was Natalie's intelligence that informed her to keep working and to explore these roles. I don't think it was a case of just wanting to keep her name out there.
    That is why I said it was such a great loss. You just don't come by a Natalie Wood very often in a lifetime.
    She wasn't a perfect woman, and she certainly made her share of mistakes--like most of us d0--but Natalie owned up to them. She wasn't a snob.

  13. Oh I see what you mean. That was courageous of Natalie to do that role. What I was referring to is how she semi-retired after making this property is condemned during 1965-66 when she was 27 years old

  14. Some people are out there on the internet telling us all kinds of fictional information about Natalie. Thank you for having this accurate blog.