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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.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Tribute To NATALIE WOOD



I thought I'd been through all of the Natalie videos that fans and commentators have created at YouTube, but this was the first I came across this one, coupled with one of my favorite John Lennon songs. This video brought tears to my eyes.

I had watched the Golden Globes and was thinking about Natalie when Annette Bening won a best actress award for her performance in "The Kids are All Right" -- and at the end of her acceptance speech she thanked "the 1962 Golden Globe winner of the award for most promising new actor" -- her husband Warren Beatty.

It made me think of "Splendor in The Grass" and how Natalie's presence in that movie highly contributed to Warren's popularity. I then recalled when Beatty received a special tribute Oscar earlier this decade and in all the films shown in the tribute, not more than a flash of Natalie Wood was shown. I am especially grateful that Natalie was honored the summer of 2009 at the film festival in New York as "Yesterday's Angel" as she deserves recognition to this day.

While watching the Golden Globe's award show, I also thought that Natalie very likely could have been on that stage handing out an award or even accepting another Golden Globe, herself, had her life not been cut short. Natalie was a remarkably healthy woman when she died. She was a remarkable talent, and this is an excellent YouTube video of this remarkable woman.

42 comments:

  1. Really nice video. I think Natalie eventually could have had some great roles. There are many great parts for older actresses today. They don't have to settle for horror films or the parody that Bette Davis and Joan Crawford had to settle for. It was clear that Natalie was going to be beautiful for a long time. I wonder if that would have hindered the parts she would be considered for? It would have been wonderful to have seen the second chapter in her career and what she may have achieved.

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  2. Of course she could have. Look at Jane Fonda - who is older than Natalie would be if she were alive - and she looked absolutely gorgeous at the ceremony tonight.

    Natalie COULD have had a career like that, had she not went into "semi-retirement" when she wasn't yet 30. She had her reasons for doing so, but unfortunately it was during a very crucial time in the industry - the "sexual revolution" or "film renaissance" or whatever - and as a result she didn't have success at trying to revive her career in the early '80s, because she had been absent from the big screen for an entire decade. During the ten-year period between "Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice" and "Meteor", Natalie only did one film that got a very limited release (Peeper) and a few television projects. Those ten years could have, and should have, been the prime of her career. I always think about what could have been.

    AFTER her death, would she have gone on to achieve success in theatrical films? It's hard to say. There are, and have been, many high-profile and meaty film roles for women over 40 - but they usually go to the same group of actresses who have either won a lot of awards (such as Meryl Streep) or have a handful of box-office hits to their credit (such as Sandra Bullock).

    Natalie's case is really a sad one. In death, she doesn't get the proper respect or acknowledgment that she deserves for her talent. And it is a travesty that the truth about her murder hasn't been made official. Both of her daughters are childless, and I can't help but think that this has something to do with the fact that they grew up without a mother.

    I miss Natalie so much. She should still be alive, working, and enjoying her life. Her death was a waste, injustice, and a tremendous loss.

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  3. BCTA was one of the first big hits of the sexual revolution. She has been credited as being one the few actresses of the contract era who took us from the age of innocence to the sexual revolution. She took a long break from films to be with her kids in the years they were discovering life. That was more important to her than making movies. When she took this respite from her career, she knew the deal. She'd been in films and lived in Hollywood long enough to know the deal.

    Before she had her first child, she took a few years off to get to know herself better. She gave many interviews about this at the time. She had not "retired". She worked since she was a child, she wanted to take a break. She had said that she needed to see if she was working out of desire or out of emotional need.

    Jane Fonda is only 8 months older than Natalie. I would hardly classify that as "older".

    I was thrilled to see Bening win that much deserved Globe last night. Classy lady.

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  4. OMG Marti I was pretty much thinking the same thing last night watching the Golden Globes, and it got me thinking all the other times she was at the awards of one kind or another it was always for her work not Wagner or because she was the movie star not Wagner. I believe if she was a live today she would have had won many more awards.
    Thanks, Pam

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  5. Wagner went along for the ride. Since Natalie died, I don't believe he has been invited to present at the Academy Awards. She was invited every year. He presented at awards for television but even that was limited. In the media he is referred to as a "legend" but that is because he is old. He has done nothing in his career that would put him in that category. He's an old celebrity from the classic era who knew many of the true legends of that time and told his little fables in his memoir. Most true legends who live to write books about that era are able to reflect on their careers and the classics they appeared in, Wagner was unable to do that so he made his book a kiss and tell mixed with stories about the true legends that he knew. What choice did he have? Apart from Natalie his life was a bore and his film career was as stale as day old bread so he wrote about others, his "mentors" and all the women who supposedly could not resist his charm. Small potatoes.

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  6. Fonda is older than Natalie? An entire seven month age difference! Ancient for sure! LOL
    You sound like a person from IMDB and other blogs and groups who is fixated on age.
    Please stick to the subject matter on here unlike what you do elsewhere. Natalie Wood!
    Much love,
    Courtney

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  7. Wagner was asked about Natalie's popularity since she died. It seems Natalie is one of the rare celebrities that has gone on to iconic status after death. Wagner seemed perturbed and wondered aloud why it didn't happen for men like Spencer Tracy or Fred Astaire--two of his idols--but it did for Natalie.
    Wagner went on to say that he controls Natalie's image. He controls how her image will be sold in the marketplace.
    He (through lawyers,I guess) controls Natalie's legacy.

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  8. I feel that Natalie could have returned to bigger budget movies in the 1980s, had she lived. I don't feel that her time off in the 1970s would have prevented her from returning to movies, but what roles she chose in the 1980s would have been crucial to her later critical success.

    It's hard to say what she would've chosen to work on. Would she have gone for good-paying, fun, and high exposure TV like a cameo role on Dynasty? (That would have been fun to watch -- glamorous Natalie in a cat fight with Joan Collins...) Would she have moved toward Lifetime movies for the easy paycheck? (I hope not.) Maybe she would have branched out and played wicked villainesses for fun, or done voice work for animated movies. Whatever she would have chosen to do, I can also envision her having cameos in big movies like many other well-known actors have had over the years.

    Maybe in an alternate universe Natalie is enjoying that life right now. :-)

    from KB

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  9. Fact: Wagner only controls what he owns of her image which is what she owned at the time of her death. He does not own it 100%. If he did Marti's book would be without it's dust cover photograph and it would be void of any photographs of her as all publications would be.

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  10. I thought of something else I bet Natalie would've been asked to do... be the "mature" face of a major cosmetics ad campaign. Can't you imagine her plugging Estee Lauder or something?

    from KB

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  11. Of course. We wouldn't have these great videos on YouTube if he could control everything.

    I was pointing that out because I think it is unfair that the man who ended Natalie's life gets to control her estate.

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  12. Natalie did have a commercial running at the time of her death. It was for RainTree, a moisturizer. In it, they showed a clip of Natalie in 'West Side Story," and Natalie would comment that that was herself 20 years ago. The ad campaign was taken off the air after Natalie's death.

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  13. Natalie had been doing Raintree commercials just before her death. She was beautiful in them. I think Natalie would've been exceptionally choosy in her parts after Brainstorm. A solid cast like Brainstorm had didn't guarantee its success, and she would've recognized it. As she always tried to do, she wanted to shoose decent scripts. Dennis said she read script after script sitting in her "perch" in the wheelhouse. She would often comment about the lack of solid characters for women in scripts. She really wanted the lead in Ordinary People. Mary Tyler Moore played a fantasic award-nominating part in the role, but I think Natalie might've won the Oscar had she gotten that part.

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  14. Kevin,

    How astute! I couldn't believe it when Wagner made those comments about Natalie's legacy. It seemed as if he was stumped over why it would happen for her and not his idols, as if they deserved it and Natalie doesn't. How selfish, how demeaning a thing to say about his iconic, late wife. It's the little things like this people fail to recognize about this man who was with Natalie when she went overboard.

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  15. I'm so sorry that Natalie never got to enjoy her old age. I think it would surprise Natalie just how much people love and appreciate her work--in spite of Scott Eyman. I think there would have been more film festivals honoring her had she lived.
    It would have been a privilege to see this young beautiful woman grow old. I think Natalie would have been a graceful older woman.
    Natalie always seemed to genuinely appreciate it when she was honored. She is lovely accepting her Golden Globe for "From Here to Eternity."

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  16. Robert Wagner controls the use of her name and image when used for mass marketing, for instance when Natalie's photo appeared on a Christmas card for Miracle on 34 St., Wagner's permission was sought for that, he gave his permission and received a percentage of the profits. When Tommy Hilfiger used Natalie's image in an ad, he sought Wagner's permission, Wagner agreed and received a cut of the profits. If one of us wanted to make a series of coffee cups with Natalie's photo on them and we wanted to mass market them, we would need Wagner's permission and he would receive a cut of the profits. It goes without saying that his permission is not needed for Natalie's photo to appear on the cover of a book, or magazine. The photographer owns the right to the picture. Robert Wagner owns the rights to her name and her image if they are to be used in any type of mass marketing. That, of course, would not include sites like E-Bay. Books and movies about her are a totally different deal.
    A few years ago Wagner put Natalie's name and image in the hands of Curtis Management Group. If Natalie's name and/or image is to used in any type of marketing, Curtis handles the deal but Wagner would still profit.

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  17. That was exactly how I felt, Marti. Wagner never talks in a loving way about Natalie. Never.

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  18. Natalie would be thrilled with the way she is remembered, how much her fans truly love her. She appreciated her fans. There was a kid who followed her around, went to take her picture at airports. That type of behavior may have pissed off a lot of people in Natalie's position. Natalie went along with it and posed for pictures. After Natalie died this person told of how sweet Natalie was to her, how she crossed the boundaries to talk to her fans.
    No one in her family went out of their way to keep her memory alive, certainly Wagner did not, but here we are close to 30 years after her death, talking about her, remembering her. I think she'd be proud of that.

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  19. It just doesn't seem right that Wagner got all of Natalie's money--including future earnings after her death. I hope most of it goes to her daughters--her own flesh and blood.

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  20. During his book promos he spoke of her. I recall when interviewers brought up her name, he went out of his way to make it clear that she was not the reason he wrote the book. He said he wrote it to thank his "mentors". How odd that he made a point of saying that she was not the reason he wrote the book but she comprised about 80% of it. He is such a freakin phony!

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  21. Yet, the publisher used Natalie as a selling point. We were supposed to finally hear Wagner's version and get the facts. However, there was less revealed in his book than in a magazine article. That was frustrating to discover. He did write that he takes resposibility for Natalie's death. Very clever, Mr Wager.

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  22. Kevin, he got most of it and that stinks! The houses, cars, jewelry, properties that she owned, it all went to him outright. Natalie was a wealthy woman. She invested wisely. She owned some prime real estate properties in Los Angeles, office buildings, strip malls. She made these investments before they remarried but he got it all. He even got half of HER Charlie's Angels profits and her children got the other half. So he ended up with 75% of the Charlie's Angels deal and her kids got 25%. He also owns half of any other film properties that Natalie owned, her kids owning the other half.
    If she knew then, what she knows now, perhaps her Will would have been written differently. Not only what went on the night she died but the fact that he was involved with another woman a mere 11 weeks after her death.

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  23. Natalie seemed to me to be a fighter. I think that was part of the reason she survived for so long as she drifted helplessly in the ocean--I believe Smith when he says that Natalie survived for many hours.

    I can't understand her daughters. I can't understand how they could not be interested to learn what Dennis has to say about that night. I understand it is a sticky situation with their father, but if there is doubt about the way your mother met her death, wouldn't you want to know that.

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  24. Yes, Kevin, Natalie was a major selling point of the book and Wagner knew she would be. What else was there? There was the Stanwyck romance which was another topic that he embellished about and she's dead so it's his word which is worth zero to me because his book was filled with lies.
    That bit about blaming himself for Natalie's death was another example of "poor me".

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  25. I don't mean just reading the book, I mean contacting Dennis to learn more. At the ages they are, they should have a natural curiosity to know more.

    They owe it to the memory of their mother.

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  26. I couldn't agree with you more, Kevin, but we don't know what Wagner has been feeding Natalie's daughters. Also, no child, no matter what age, wants to believe that their father killed their mother. IMO, Courtney's suicide attempt was a signal that she was uncertain about the circumstances of her mother's death.
    One of Courtney's guidance counselors from high school gave an interview about some of the children of celebs with whom he dealt. He said that Courtney did not do well in school, that she was lost, that not KNOWING what happened to her mother was very difficult for her. He advised to take a vacation, to get away from it all. He quoted her as saying that she couldn't be away from her psychiatrist for that long.

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  27. I can only imagine what went through Natalie's mind as her life slipped away. I'm sure she thought that someone was going to come and rescue her. I'm sure she thought that Wagner would not let her die--that is normal. But at some point she must have realized that no one was coming.
    I hope she was semiconscious. If not, it must have been a tough death.
    To think that she may have had a lot of time to think about never seeing her daughters again. To think about Wagner getting away with killing her. The feeling of helplessness must have been overwhelming.

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  28. I would think that her final lucid thoughts were of her children and that she would never see them again. I can't even imagine what she endured! and we have Wagner boasting about his "charmed life" and how "lucky" he has been.

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  29. It's when you imagine what Natalie must have thought or suffered through, that renews the anger of this injustice and the urgency to see something done about it. If Wagner isn't exposed for his monstrous act while he is still alive justice will not feel complete for me. I know that sounds bloodthirsty but Natalie died for his narcissism, jealousy, rage and his all important image. It is that image that needs to be deconstructed in a public forum for Wagner to get the justice he deserves. He won't go to jail, his lawyers are too good, but his daughters and the public will know the truth about this beautiful woman. I think we'll have to settle for that. Wagner's pariah status will be the final resting point in this case and Natalie's reputation will be vindicated. On another point, I can't imagine Natalie in Ordinary People. She was a wonderful actress but there was an inherent coldness to the character that I don't see Natalie pulling off. Those beautiful, liquid eyes just scream compassion, emotion and warmth. I think her look would have betrayed the frostiness of the character no matter how superb her acting was.

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  30. As for Natalie in Ordinary People, I appreciate what you are saying about the role for her. I think because of all you say, her eyes might've brought a compassion to the character who was seemingly void of human/maternal emotion. I think it's why Moore lost the Oscar, maybe she was too cold. Natalie could've pulled it off with more dimension to the character. If I recall, at least the book offered the mother character understanding.

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  31. Natalie would have brought her trademark vulnerability to the role.

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  32. It would have been nice to see Natalie in such a film.
    But I'm glad Natalie had those years having children. I think that having children was important to Natalie. She put aside films because she wanted a family, and I'm glad she got to experience that.
    Even though I would have loved to have another 10 films with Natalie in them, I'm happy that she got what she wanted.
    Natalie never got to choose whether she wanted to be in the film industry or not. She was such a good kid--always doing what she was told.

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  33. Almost all of our best actresses have children and maintain their careers while raising their family. Natalie must have had some other reasons for not acting. I bet if her husband was supportive of her career, instead of discouraging her from her craft, things would have been different.

    "Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice" was a huge box office hit. Prior to making that film, Natalie hadn't acted in three years, and hadn't had a major hit in six years. But that was a special movie for her, because it was made in a new era. She could have capitalized on the success of the film by accepting some of the offers that came her way during the next five years. Instead, she did not act at all all for almost five years, until she did a TV film called The Affair.

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  34. Natalie had been doing it nonstop since the age of 5. Not many actresses can say that.
    40 years ago it was quite a different story and the movie business was a different business.
    I really think she just wanted to get away from the film industry. She was very lonely because she didn't have a family of her own.
    Then, after she had her children, she wanted to come back. But she had been away for a long time. I've heard actors say that not making a film for 2 or three years can be disastrous for a career.
    I

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  35. You are right, Kevin. Working from age 5 to age 28 without a break is different than working from age 21 to 28 without a break. When Natalie took her self imposed sabbatical she wanted to get to know herself better, she wanted to be away from the Hollywood thing for a while.
    After she had her kids, she wanted to be with them. Let's not forget, she grew up on film sets. She saw the actresses she worked with and their, in most cases, distant relationships with their kids. She did not want to be on the set when one of her kids lost their first tooth, she didn't want the Nanny to call her to tell her that one of her kids had a bad dream. She wanted to be a mother more than anything.
    She had been in the business long enough to know that taking a long break could mean the end but in reality, in didn't. She remained a name above the title star, a household word. At the time of her death, she was a legend in her own time and she was only 43.

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  36. Exactly. Natalie wanted to experience all of those firsts. You can't do that when a nanny is there to experience them for you.
    Like I said, I would love to have many more movies with Natalie starring, but I'm really glad--being her life was so short--that she had her family.
    Her star never diminished in my eyes.

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  37. "Her star never diminished in my eyes." ---Same with me,, Kevin.

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  38. That being said, I forgot to mention I was also thrilled to see Annette Bening win. What a remarkable actress. And she has 4 children, so more power to her.

    I wonder if Lana has had any recent contact with Warren? In her book she mentioned staying acquainted with him after her own romantic involvement with him ended.

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  39. SO. An actress can have 8 children whats the point.

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  40. Don't start this game.

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  41. I think the point is that acting is hard work, but most importantly it's time-consuming work. Dennis worked as only a genreal-extra actor for over two years and he said sometimes it could take up to 12 hours to finish a 5-minute scene.

    It's a profession very demanding of an actor's concentration skills and time. That's extra hard work for a mother of four.

    I am politely asking for the nit-picking to stop.

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  42. This is an old blog but whatever.

    Warren and Annette make a nice couple

    BUT.....


    I wish Natalie married him. Robert Wagner sucks. I would even rather she married Christopher Walken than Wagner. I hate Robert Wagner so much. It sucks that he was in her life.

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