Posted on January 15, 2015
Natalie Wood was a child star who grew up to be a successful actress. Here life was fraught with relationship drama and her mysterious death was one of the most widely discussed of the 20th century. Here’s our Natalie Wood timeline.
July 20, 1938
Natalia Nikolaevna Zakharenko is born in San Francisco, California to Nikolai and Maria Zakharenko. Her parents are Russian Orthodox immigrants. Her sister is Lana Wood. Her parents change their last name to Gurdin.
Appears in Happy Land at the age of four.
Appears in Miracle on 34th Street with Maureen O’Hara.
Appears in The Ghost and Mrs. Muir starring Gene Tierney, Edna Best, and Rex Harrison.
Appears in The Jackpot starring Jimmy Stewart.
Appears in The Blue Veil with Jane Wyman, Charles Laughton, Joan Blondell, Richard Carlson, Agnes Moorehead, Audrey Totter, Cyril Cusack, Vivian Vance, Dan O’Herlihy and Harry Morgan.
Appears in Just for You.
Appears in The Star with Bette Davis and Sterling Hayden.
Appears in The Silver Chalice. This is Paul Newman’s first film.
Appears in One Desire.
Stars in Rebel Without a Cause with James Dean and Sal Mineo.
Stars in the John Ford film, The Searchers, with John Wayne, Jeffrey Hunter, Vera Miles, and Ward Bond.
Stars in A Cry in the Night.
Stars in The Burning Hills.
Stars in The Girl He Left Behind.
Stars in Bombers B-52.
Dec. 28, 1957
Natalie marries Robert Wagner.
Stars in Marjorie Morningstar.
Stars in Kings Go Forth.
Stars in Cash McCall.
Stars in All the Fine Young Cannibals.
Stars in Splendor in the Grass with Warren Beatty.
Stars in West Side Story.
Stars in Gypsy.
Natalie files for divorce from Wagner and tells reporters: “Everyone searches for happiness. I guess I haven’t found it yet.”
Stars in Love with the Proper Stranger.
Stars in Sex and the Single Girl.
Stars in The Great Race.
Stars in Inside Daisy Clover.
Natalie, depressed, takes an overdose of sleeping pills and is taken to the hospital. She tells her sister: “I didn’t want to live.”
Stars in This Property Is Condemned and Penelope.
Stars in Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice.
May 30, 1969
She marries Richard Gregson.
She gives birth to her first daughter, Natasha.
Wood discovers Gregson having an affair with her secretary and divorces him.
Stars in The Candidate.
July 16, 1972
Wood remarries Robert Wagner on a friend’s yacht in Malibu.
March 9, 1974
Wood gives birth to her second daughter, Courtney.
Stars in Peeper.
Stars in Meteor.
Stars in The Last Married Couple in America and Willie and Phil.
She begins shooting Brainstorm with Christopher Walken. There are rumors that the two are having an affair.
Nov. 28, 1981
Natalie and Wagner throw a holiday party and afterwards invite Christopher Walken out for a weekend on their yacht, The Splendor. They anchor at Catalina Island, California. The three consume a lot of alcohol that night. Wagner realizes at one point that Wood is missing. He alerts the Coast Guard.
November 29, 1981
After an all night search, Natalie’s body is found floating less than two hundred yards from shore. Her death is ruled accident by drowning and hypothermia. She is 43.
Dec. 2, 1981
Natalie is buried at Westwood Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles.
The film Natalie was filming when she died, Brainstorm, is released.
The case is reopened after Dennis Davern, the captain of the boat, tells NBC News that he lied to police during the initial investigation. He claims that Wagner and Wood had fought the night of her death and he says he believes Wagner is responsible for her death.
Jan. 14, 2013
The Los Angeles County coroner’s office releases a 10-page addendum to her autopsy report which states that some of the bruises on her body might have been sustained before she fell into the water and drowned but that it was impossible to know for sure.