Natalie Wood (born Natalia Nikolaevna Zacharenko; Russian: Наталья Николаевна Захаренко; July 20, 1938 – November 29, 1981) was anAmerican film and television actress best known for her screen roles in Miracle on 34th Street, Splendor in the Grass, Rebel Without a Cause, andWest Side Story. After first working in films as a child, Wood became a successful Hollywood star as a young adult, receiving three Academy Award nominations before she was 25 years old.
Wood began acting in movies at the age of four and at age eight was given a co-starring role in the classic Christmas film Miracle on 34th Street. As a teenager, her performance in Rebel Without a Cause (1955) earned her a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. She starred in the musical films West Side Story (1961) and Gypsy (1962), and received Academy Award for Best Actress nominations for her performances in Splendor in the Grass (1961) and Love with the Proper Stranger (1963).
Her career continued with films such as Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969). After this she took a break from acting and had two children, appearing in only two theatrical films during the 1970s. She was married to actor Robert Wagner twice, and to producer Richard Gregson in between the marriages to Wagner. She had one daughter by each: Natasha Gregson and Courtney Wagner. Her younger sister, Lana Wood, is also an actress.
Wood starred in several television productions, including a remake of the film From Here to Eternity (1979) for which she won a Golden Globe Award. During her career, from child actress to adult star, her films represented a "coming of age" for both her and Hollywood films in general.
At age 43, Wood drowned near Santa Catalina Island, California at the time her last film, Brainstorm (1983), was in production with co-star Christopher Walken. Her death was declared an accident for 31 years; in 2012 after a new investigation the cause was reclassified as "undetermined".