Natalie Wood (born Natalia Nikolaevna Zakharenko; July 20, 1938 – November 29, 1981) was an American actress.
Born in San Francisco to Russian immigrant parents, Wood began her career in film as a child and became a successful Hollywood star as a young adult, receiving three Academy Award nominations before she turned 25 years of age. She began acting in films at the age of four and, at age eight, was given a co-starring role in Miracle on 34th Street (1947). As a teenager, she earned a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Rebel Without a Cause (1955). She starred in the musical films West Side Story (1961) and Gypsy (1962), and received nominations for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performances in Splendor in the Grass (1961) and Love with the Proper Stranger (1963). Her career continued with films such as Sex and the Single Girl (1964), Inside Daisy Clover (1964), and Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969).
During the 1970s, Wood began a hiatus from film and had two children with husband Robert Wagner, whom she married twice. She appeared in only three films throughout the decade, but did act in several television productions; her television work including a remake of the film From Here to Eternity (1979) for which she received a Golden Globe Award. Woods films represented a coming of age for her and Hollywood films in general. Critics and scholars have suggested that Woods cinematic career, one of the few to include both child roles and roles playing middle-aged characters, represents a portrait of modern American womanhood in transition.Wood drowned on November 29, 1981, at the age of 43. The events surrounding her death have been controversial due to conflicting witness statements, prompting the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department in 2012 to list her cause of death as drowning and other undetermined factors.