It was 30 years ago today that Natalie Wood's corpse was found floating off the coast of Southern California's Catalina Island. The 43-year old star of films such as West Side Story, Rebel Without a Cause, The Searchers, Sex and the Single Girl and many other classics had been aboard the Splendour, with her husband Robert Wagner and their friend, actor Christopher Walken.
She left behind two young daughters, Natasha Gregson and Courtney Wagner. Natasha became an actress by the early '90s on the big and small screens, doing time on ER, House and Ally McBeal. Us nerds know her best from High Fidelity as the last girl that Rob flirts with before going all in with Laura.
Details of her tragic death and the circumstances of that evening have always been sketchy for some, and this past week the case was reopened. New facts continue to surface, even three decades after the fact. A report today states that she hung on to the yacht's dinghy before drowning in the water, and could have been saved.
Obviously Wood was one of the last, great Hollywood beauties. Film audiences watched her grow from the frowny Susan Walker in 1947's Miracle on 34th Street into the smoldering Maria in West Side by 1961. She wasn't your generic pin-up, but more like the girl next door, with her brunette wiles and those eyes. Today she would have been an Emma Stone or Alison Brie. She was a hottie, even at 43.
Here are a few of her best pictures from her career, from her teenybopper-friendly days up until her mature early '40s. The investigation into her sad death is ongoing.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.