Natalie Wood Cause of Death: The American actress Natalie Wood (July 20, 1938 – November 29, 1981) made her film debut on the big screen when she was just a child and went on to star in a number of successful teen and young adult films. Wood began acting at the age of four and made her film debut in Miracle on 34th Street as a co-star at the age of eight (1947). Her early career included a role in John Ford’s The Searchers (1956) and a nomination for Best Supporting Actress in the Academy Awards for her work in Rebel Without a Cause (1955) when she was just a teenager (1956).
Wood took a break from acting in the 1970s to raise her two daughters with former husbands Richard Gregson and Robert Wagner, whom she remarried after divorcing Gregson. She only participated in two films throughout the decade, but she was in several TV shows, notably 1979 From Here to Eternity adaptation for which she received a Golden Globe.
Both Wood and the Hollywood cinema industry might be said to have “come of age” with the release of her films. As one of the rare actresses to play both child and middle-aged parts, her filmography has been interpreted as a portrayal of the modern American woman in transition. Let’s move below and find out all information about Natalie Wood Cause of Death.
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Natalie Wood Early Life
Natalie Zacharenko Wood was born in San Francisco to Maria Zudilova (1908 – 1998), also known as Mary, Marie, and Musia, and her second husband, carpenter Nicholas Zacharenko (1912–1980). Mom came from Barnaul, southern Siberia. Her grandpa on her mother’s side managed a soap and candle manufacturing business and had a country estate.
His family fled Russia at the outbreak of the Civil War and eventually settled as refugees in the Chinese city of Harbin. Maria wed her Armenian mechanic husband Alexander Tatuloff in 1925. A daughter, Olga, was born to them (1928–2015). In 1930, the Tatuloffs boarded a ship for America, and by 1936, they were no longer together.
The paternal Wood family hails from Ussuriysk (then referred to as Nikolskoye). Her maternal grandfather was murdered in a street battle between the Red Army and White Russian soldiers in Vladivostok. He was a chocolate factory worker who had joined the anti-Bolshevik civilian forces during the conflict. After that, his wife and three kids took off for Shanghai, where they stayed until 1927 when Wood’s paternal grandmother remarried and the family moved to Vancouver.
They left for the United States in 1933. Even though Maria Tatuloff was four years older than Nicholas, they met when she was still married to her first husband. Five months before Wood was born, in August 1938, her parents tied the knot. They moved to Santa Rosa, California, in 1942, and it was there that Natalie was discovered by the film crew.
Studio executives David Lewis and William Goetz at RKO Radio Pictures changed Natalie’s last name to Wood after she began acting as a kid. They did it in honor of the late director Sam Wood. Svetlana Gurdin (the family had changed their surname by this time) was born in Santa Monica in 1946; she is Wood’s sole full sibling. She started performing under the name Lana Wood.
Natalie Wood Cause of Death
Natalie Wood Cause of Death: The filming of Brainstorm was cut short when Wood, 43, died under strange circumstances on November 29, 1981. She and her husband Robert Wagner had taken their 58-foot (18 m) motoryacht Splendour on a weekend excursion to Santa Catalina Island. The specifics of her death, beyond the fact that she drowned, are largely unresolved mysteries. For instance, no one has ever figured out how she got into the lake.
On the evening of November 28th, Wood was with Wagner, Christopher Walken (his co-star in Brainstorm), and Splendour’s captain Dennis Davern. At 8 a.m. on November 29, her body was discovered one mile (1.6 km) from the yacht, with a tiny Valiant brand inflatable dinghy beached close. Wagner stated that he went to bed without her. She had bruises all over her torso and limbs, and an abrasion on her left cheek, according to the autopsy report, but it did not specify how or when she was hurt.
Wagner first refuted Davern’s claim that he and Wood had a fight that night. Wagner writes in his autobiography Pieces of My Heart that he and Wood got into an argument shortly before she vanished. At the time of her death, Wood’s blood alcohol content was measured at 0.14%, and the autopsy revealed that she was also taking painkillers and a motion sickness medication, both of which are known to amplify the intoxicating effects of alcohol.
Coroner Thomas Noguchi of Los Angeles County concluded that she died of accidental drowning and hypothermia. Noguchi claims that Wood was intoxicated when she fell down the dinghy’s side while trying to get back on. Wood’s sister, Lana, cast doubt on the story, saying that her sibling was “terrified of water” their whole lives and never would have left the yacht alone in a dinghy if she could have helped it. Two people on a nearby boat reported hearing a woman’s cries for aid sometime in the night.
Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles is where Wood was laid to rest. Media from across the world, as well as photographers and curious onlookers, wanted to attend her funeral but were all told to stay outside the cemetery gates. Stars including Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor, Fred Astaire, Rock Hudson, David Niven, Gregory Peck, Gene Kelly, Elia Kazan, and Laurence Olivier were all there. Olivier made the trip all the way from London to be there for the funeral.
What Really Happened to Natalie Wood?
Natalie Wood and her husband Robert Wagner sailed to Catalina for the weekend on November 28, 1981, aboard Wagner’s 55-foot yacht, Splendour. Dennis Davern, the ship’s captain, and Christopher Walken, who was co-starring in Brainstorm with Wood, were also on set.
Wood, who started acting when she was four years old, was a child prodigy who matured into a respected actress with three Oscar nominations under her belt before she turned twenty-five. Wagner and her second marriage was their second try at wedlock. Their five-year marriage ended in divorce in 1962. Later, in 1972, Wood and Wagner reconnected and were married again after Wood had a brief marriage to British producer Richard Gregson.
Wood had been partying with Wagner and Walken the night she was killed. After an altercation, Wood decided to leave the two men. According to Wagner, she wasn’t there when he went to sleep that night. Wagner’s representative told the L.A. Times that he initially thought his wife had taken a small dinghy out on the water as she had done before, but after 10 to 15 minutes passed and she still hadn’t returned, he phoned Harbor Patrol. At 8 a.m. the following morning, authorities located her body floating in the ocean a mile from the Splendour, with a small dinghy beached close.
Wood had bruises all over her body and limbs, as well as an abrasion on her left cheek, according to the autopsy report. A coroner concluded after two weeks that the actress probably fell into the water while trying to enter the dinghy of the yacht because she had been drinking. At the time, many of Wood’s admirers and acquaintances were dissatisfied with this outcome, and stories began to circulate as a result. An eyewitness on a neighboring boat told authorities she heard a lady crying the night of Wood’s death, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times from December 3, 1981.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department reopened Wood’s case in November 2011, 30 years after her death. “Recently, someone who claimed to have further information concerning the drowning death of Natalie Wood Wagner approached sheriff’s homicide investigators. Sherriff’s homicide division will re-examine the case in light of new facts, the agency said in a statement.
Around the same time, Davern told the Today show that he blames Wagner for Wood’s death, without going into detail. Davern claimed that Wagner and Walken had a nasty dispute that night and that after Wood fled the room in shame following Wagner’s breaking of a wine bottle, Wagner followed her and began arguing with her. He claims Wood vanished shortly afterward.
We didn’t do anything to try to find her,” Davern said. “We’re not going to search too hard,” I believe was the deciding factor. Not going to activate the searchlight at this time. At this time, we have no plans to alert anyone.
Wagner’s publicist sent a statement in which the actor expressed support for the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department and expressed confidence that the agency would exercise caution when considering information from anyone “seeking to profit from the 30-year anniversary of her awful death.”