How Natalie Wood found happiness | Film | The Guardian
In one catty corner, Neile McQueen Toffel, former wife of actor Steve Lee Remick and Natalie Wood, his penchant for bimbos and threesomes, the . Then came "The Thomas Crown Affair" in , followed by "Bullitt," and. Natalie Wood, Robert Wagner . Wagner's first real love affair, he says, was with screen legend Barbara Natalie Wood, Steve McQueen. Special 'Photoplay' feature article which speculates about a possible Steve McQueen-Natalie Wood romantic relationship.
It was only after Maria had put her through another 16 movies and three TV shows during the next eight years that Natalie was able to catch her breath, and realise that not only her mother but her directors had always told her what to think and feel, leaving no time to think and feel for herself. In many of those s and early s movies, the Wonder Child, as she quickly became known, played the daughter of ideal parents in an ideal world where all problems and misunderstandings were resolved in the end.
Not surprisingly, she felt happier in a make-believe studio home than in the real world of a drunken father and a mother who replaced warm affection with a cold shoulder when Natalie lost a part. But when she finally began to look back on her life, she had to confront the fact that by escaping into a cunningly fabricated illusion of reality, and posing for publicity photos of growing up in a "normal" family, she'd lost her real self.Natalie Wood and Steve McQueen - I'm Yours
As often happen with actors, a role helped her find it again. Two years later, when Nicholas Ray cast year-old Natalie as Judy in Rebel Without a Cause, she found a mirror image in the character of an adolescent girl alienated from her family, and impatient to rebel.
And after years of being told what to do and think, she was astonished by a director who asked her opinion of a scene and even encouraged criticism, and by James Dean, who insisted on exploring a scene in different ways until he found the approach that felt right.
Creative and sexual liberation went hand in hand when Ray became Natalie's first lover; and shortly afterward she invited Dennis Hopper, who was cast in a supporting role, to become her second. Recalling how she made the first move, and "the cool way she handled two simultaneous affairs", Hopper realised she was "way ahead of her time".
But the price of liberation, her first Academy nomination, and eventual stardom was high. It involved a seven-year contract with Warner Bros, and a frustrating series of mediocre parts in mediocre movies, with the exception of John Ford's The Searchers, in which she rightly felt miscast.
A lost childhood had left Natalie painfully insecure, and her personal life soon foundered: Released from professional bondage inwhen Elia Kazan cast her in Splendour in the Grass, Natalie won a second Oscar nomination in a movie that established her as a star.
Throughout the s she gave a series of outstanding performances, working with directors she admired: It was just there. But win or lose she remained vulnerable, one of the reasons that Natalie particularly appealed to women and gay men.
From the first, Robert Wagner noted, she accepted something generally considered unacceptable at the time, and formed "many friendships with gay men". When I first got to know Natalie during the s, she was at her professional peak. Enjoying stardom while shrewdly aware of its unreality, she was accessible, loyal, generous, with a pungent sense of humour.
But the child-woman's interior demons were still stirring, and only seemed to rest when she remarried Wagner in After several chance encounters - during which they made only small talk, but "the subtext was loaded" as Wagner said - they decided they'd always been in love.
I only hope she was unconscious when she hit the water. There were some fresh bruises on her legs and arms and an abrasion on her left cheek that could be synonymous with a fall. When Natalie died I thought my life was over. It's his fourth marriage, meanwhile, as he and Wood were married twice. She broke his heart three years later. Wagner hails from the old studio system, where you signed a contract and toiled away while they figured out what to do with you.
He had dramatic gravitas to spare, though, and even after his film career stalled in the s, he had a renaissance on TV. The reception was held at the Hotel Valley Ho, which was recently renovated and remains touted as the former playground of some of Hollywood's biggest golden-age stars.
It was myself I didn't know about. She first met Frank Sinatra, whom she dated in the s, when she was The actor resisted because Wagner was a friend, as was Beatty—and his wife closed ranks, visiting the set often.
Inside Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner's Tumultuous, Ultimately Tragic Romance
They lost touch in the later years of her life, but about 10 years ago Redford narrated one of those Turner Classic Movie montages in which one famous actor or relative of a huge star sings the praises of that star. She said, 'no matter how silly it may seem, fans do have this feeling about you that you have to respect—but never let it overwhelm you.
After her stomach had been pumped at a Hollywood hospital, she told her sister Lana Wood that she hadn't wanted to live anymore. Redford served as best man.
Meanwhile, Wagner was married to Marion Marshall from untilwith whom he has a daughter, Kate. The exes saw each other occasionally in passing, but then reconnected at a dinner party that each attended alone in Wood was six months pregnant. Wagner had just separated from Marshall.
Wagner followed Wood home in his car to make sure she got back safely, after which they sat together and she asked if he was happy.
Inside Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner's Tumultuous, Ultimately Tragic Romance | E! News
He sent flowers the next day. In the summer ofWood and Gregson amicably separated. She and Wagner started talking on the phone regularly and then he invited her to his home in Palm Desert, Calif. Marie Osmond and Five Other Stars Who Remarried Their Exes As fate would have it, their passage was delayed a few days due to a violent storm in the Atlantic, one that had both of them thinking that their happy reunion might end up being awfully short.
Because there was no internet then, reporters awaiting the late ship were stunned to see Wagner and Wood debark together. He later recalled that he was broke at the time, shelling out money for his divorce, getting sued over a business deal gone wrong and having issues with the IRS.
But Wood was flush and didn't want to wait. The newly re-wedded spent their honeymoon cruising up and down the coast, also making a visit to Catalina. We deliberately hid our weaknesses from each other. Now we found that we could really talk to each other. We were not afraid to be ourselves. But we realized that we needed those years apart to reach that understanding.
Wagner had also been raising Natasha like his own daughter since she was 1.
I think I'm a fair wife and an exceptional mother. And that's what I want right now," she said.