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Natalie Wood: 1938-1981
Take a look back at the actress' life in Hollywood.

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Natalie Wood

Actress Natalie Wood captivated fans with her onscreen talent and off screen beauty. She mysteriously died in 1981. 

Here, she is seen with husband Robert Wagner. 

(AP)

Miracle

Child Star

Wood began her acting career at the age of four and gained success in films such as 1947's "Miracle on 34th Street," alongside Maureen O'Hara, John Payne and Edmund Gwenn.

Audiences fell in love with Wood's performance as a little girl who believes that the man playing Santa Clause at New York City's 34th Street Macy's store was the real deal in the classic family film.

 

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"Rebel Without a Cause"

In 1955, Wood starred alongside James Dean in the cult classic, "Rebel Without a Cause," about a group of emotionally distraught teenagers.

The performance earned Wood an Oscar nomination for the Best Supporting Actress. It also helped her transition from child star to a respected actress.

(AP)

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Movie Star

Oct. 28, 1955: Wood poses with her pet poodle Fifi at a Hollywood studio, Calif. At just 16 years old, she became Hollywood's top ingenue, all before graduating high school in 1956.

Wood would stay busy working over the remainder of the decade, fulfilling her contract with Warner Bros. 

She would appear in films such as "Kings Go Forth" Marjorie Morningstar" in 1958. 

 

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Romance

At 18 years old, Wood and 26-year-old Robert Wagner were set up on a studio-arranged date. Wood had previously confessed that she had a crush on Wagner since she was a child.

A year later, despite protests from Wood's mother, the couple wed.

(AP)

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Natalie and Robert

The couple's relationship was highly publicized. 

Wagner recalled in 2009,

"I remember the instant I fell in love with her. One night on board a small boat I owned, she looked at me with love, her dark brown eyes lit by a table lantern. That moment changed my life."

The couple separated in 1961 and ultimately divorced in 1962.

WestSideStory

"West Side Story."

In 1961, Wood starred in the musical film "West Side Story." Much to her disappointment, she was not allowed to sing in the film and the musical numbers were dubbed with the voice of Marni Nixon.

The film was a huge commercial and critical success.

(AP)

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Natalie and Robert Reunite

Boats seemed to play a central role in Wagner and Wood's relationship, despite the actress' well-documented fear of water.

Here, on board the Queen Elizabeth II in April of 1972, following a hectic storm at sea, the couple announced that they would remarry.

(AP)

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Hollywood Mom

Aug. 17, 1979: Wood holds her two children, Natasha, left, and Courtney at a studio party in Los Angeles.

Natasha was a child from Wood's relationship with British producer Richard Gregson, whom she married in 1969 and divorced in 1972.

In 1972, Wood resumed her relationship with Wagner and the couple remarried in July of that year. Two years later, the couple welcomed Courtney, in 1974. 

(AP)

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Wood at the Oscars

In this April 9, 1979 file photo, Wood is shown at the 51st Annual Academy Awards in Los Angeles.

(AP)

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An Enduring Mystery

Of his wife's death, Wagner wrote in a 2008 autobiography that he blamed himself.

He recounted the night of Wood's disappearance, during which the couple and Walken drank at a restaurant and on the boat. Wood went to the master cabin during an argument between her husband and Walken. The last time Wagner saw his wife, she was fixing her hair in a bathroom mirror and she shut the door.
Wagner wrote that despite various theories about what led Wood to the water, which she feared, it was impossible to know what exactly happened.

"Nobody knows," he wrote. "There are only two possibilities; either she was trying to get away from the argument, or she was trying to tie the dinghy. But the bottom line is that nobody knows exactly what happened."

Later in the book, Wagner wrote, "Did I blame myself? If I had been there, I could have done something. But I wasn't there. I didn't see her."

(AP)

Natalie Wood: 1938-1981

Take a look back at the actress' life in Hollywood.

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