Natasha: The Biography of Natalie Wood

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9780099431855: Natasha: The Biography of Natalie Wood

Born Natasha Zakharenko, Natalie Wood continues to haunt us 20 years after her tragic and mysterious death. Her dark hypnotic beauty and passionate performances made her a movie star legend, appearing in over fifty films including West Side Story and Rebel Without a Cause for which she was Oscar nominated. The story of her life is tinged with tragedy and drama. Pushed by her domineering, frustrated mother - an alcoholic determined to make her child a star at whatever cost, Natalie grew up fast - lonely and a misfit, uncertain of her identity. At fifteen she had embarked on an affair with a director 30 years her senior, she was brutally raped by a leading Hollywood star when she was sixteen -an attack which her mother forbade her to report. Her leading men frequently became her lovers including Elvis Presley, James Dean , Warren Beatty and the real love of her life, Robert Wagner whom she eventually married twice. Her fear of being alone and the years of exploitation and abuse led to an addiction to sleeping pills and several suicide attempts and for the first time, this book looks at evidence, yet to be published, surrounding her premature and controversial death - drowning at the age of 43. Suzanne Finstad has spent 3 years researching this, the first substantive biography of Natalie Wood, conducting over 400 interviews with friends, family, lovers, co-stars and the police officials who investigated her death.

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Natalie Wood (1938-81) came from the last generation of movie stars shaped by the Hollywood studio system, and Suzanne Finstad gives her life the all-out showbiz celebrity bio treatment in this compulsively readable book. As Finstad sees it, Wood was tortured by the conflict between her real self, born Natasha Zakharenko to Russian immigrants, and the glamorous "Natalie Wood" persona created by her ambitious mother. Wood admired rebellious actors like James Dean, her co-star in Rebel Without a Cause, but she wanted the mink coats, sexy cars, and huge salaries Warner Brothers doled out for appearances in forgettable pictures like Sex and the Single Girl. Working in films from age 6, she learned early that the way to get ahead was to please the grownups, a lesson she never really unlearned, even in her wild teens. She ditched a fiancé‚ deemed unsuitable by the studio, to marry suave rising star Robert Wagner, despite warnings from friends that he was bisexual; their first marriage ended when she found him "in a compromising position with another man," but they reunited in 1972 to become Hollywood's golden couple once more. But her attraction to more challenging artists remained; her friendship with Brainstorm co-star Christopher Walken sparked the drunken quarrel that in Finstad's account led to Wood's drowning off Wagner's boat. (Chillingly, she had a lifelong fear of water.) Numerous quotes from practically everyone who ever knew Wood evoke Tinseltown's gossipy atmosphere, and Finstad's overwrought prose (she describes Wood as "bound to her mother, as if Maria were a snake coiled around her neck") sustains an appropriately high-pitched mood. Suicide attempts, reckless driving, excessive drinking, rape by an unnamed Hollywood star are all chronicled in detail that might be distasteful if the author weren't so sympathetic towards her vulnerable heroine. --Wendy Smith

From the Inside Flap:

Natalie Wood was always a star; her mother made sure this was true. A superstitious Russian immigrant who claimed to be royalty, Maria had been told by a gypsy, long before little Natasha Zakharenko's birth, that her second child would be famous throughout the world. When the beautiful child with the hypnotic eyes was first placed in Maria's arms, she knew the prophecy would become true and proceeded to do everything in her power -- everything -- to make sure of it.
Natasha is the haunting story of a vulnerable and talented actress whom many of us felt we knew. We watched her mature on the movie screen before our eyes -- in Miracle on 34th Street, Rebel Without a Cause, West Side Story, Splendor in the Grass, and on and on. She has been hailed -- along with Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor -- as one of the top three female movie stars in the history of film, making her a legend in her own lifetime and beyond. But the story of what Natalie endured, of what her life was like when the doors of the soundstages closed, has long been obscured.
Natasha is based on years of exhaustive research into Natalie's turbulent life and mysterious drowning in the dark water that was her greatest fear. Author Suzanne Finstad, a former lawyer, conducted nearly four hundred interviews with Natalie's family, close friends, legendary costars, lovers, film crews, and virtually everyone connected with the investigation of her strange death. Through these firsthand accounts from many who have never spoken publicly before, Finstad has reconstructed a life of emotional abuse and exploitation, of almost unprecedented fame, great loneliness, poignancy, and loss. She sheds an unwavering light on Natalie'scomplex relationships with James Dean, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Raymond Burr, Warren Beatty, and Robert Wagner and reveals the two lost loves of Natalie's life, whom her controlling mother prevented her from marrying. Finstad tells this beauty's heartbreaking story with sensitivity and grace, revealing a complex and conflicting mix of fragility and strength in a woman who was swept along by forces few could have resisted. Natasha is impossible to put down -- it is the definitive biography of Natalie Wood that we've long been waiting for.

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Book Description Cornerstone, United Kingdom, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Born Natasha Zakharenko, Natalie Wood continues to haunt us 20 years after her tragic and mysterious death. Her dark hypnotic beauty and passionate performances made her a movie star legend, appearing in over fifty films including West Side Story and Rebel Without a Cause for which she was Oscar nominated. The story of her life is tinged with tragedy and drama. Pushed by her domineering, frustrated mother - an alcoholic determined to make her child a star at whatever cost, Natalie grew up fast - lonely and a misfit, uncertain of her identity. At fifteen she had embarked on an affair with a director 30 years her senior, she was brutally raped by a leading Hollywood star when she was sixteen -an attack which her mother forbade her to report. Her leading men frequently became her lovers including Elvis Presley, James Dean , Warren Beatty and the real love of her life, Robert Wagner whom she eventually married twice.Her fear of being alone and the years of exploitation and abuse led to an addiction to sleeping pills and several suicide attempts and for the first time, this book looks at evidence, yet to be published, surrounding her premature and controversial death - drowning at the age of 43. Suzanne Finstad has spent 3 years researching this, the first substantive biography of Natalie Wood, conducting over 400 interviews with friends, family, lovers, co-stars and the police officials who investigated her death. Bookseller Inventory # AAZ9780099431855

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Book Description Cornerstone, United Kingdom, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Born Natasha Zakharenko, Natalie Wood continues to haunt us 20 years after her tragic and mysterious death. Her dark hypnotic beauty and passionate performances made her a movie star legend, appearing in over fifty films including West Side Story and Rebel Without a Cause for which she was Oscar nominated. The story of her life is tinged with tragedy and drama. Pushed by her domineering, frustrated mother - an alcoholic determined to make her child a star at whatever cost, Natalie grew up fast - lonely and a misfit, uncertain of her identity. At fifteen she had embarked on an affair with a director 30 years her senior, she was brutally raped by a leading Hollywood star when she was sixteen -an attack which her mother forbade her to report. Her leading men frequently became her lovers including Elvis Presley, James Dean , Warren Beatty and the real love of her life, Robert Wagner whom she eventually married twice.Her fear of being alone and the years of exploitation and abuse led to an addiction to sleeping pills and several suicide attempts and for the first time, this book looks at evidence, yet to be published, surrounding her premature and controversial death - drowning at the age of 43. Suzanne Finstad has spent 3 years researching this, the first substantive biography of Natalie Wood, conducting over 400 interviews with friends, family, lovers, co-stars and the police officials who investigated her death. Bookseller Inventory # AAZ9780099431855

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Book Description Cornerstone. Book Condition: New. 2002. New Ed. Paperback. Beyond her beauty and her unbroken success as a child star and mature actor, Natalie Wood possessed a star quality that entranced both women and men. This book presents her story, from exploited child star to troubled teen, through her years as a top international movie star and concludes with the revelations about her long unsolved drowning. Num Pages: 720 pages, illustrations. BIC Classification: APF; BGF. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 161 x 178 x 46. Weight in Grams: 402. . . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory # V9780099431855

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Book Description Cornerstone, 2002. Book Condition: New. 2002. New Ed. Paperback. Beyond her beauty and her unbroken success as a child star and mature actor, Natalie Wood possessed a star quality that entranced both women and men. This book presents her story, from exploited child star to troubled teen, through her years as a top international movie star and concludes with the revelations about her long unsolved drowning. Num Pages: 720 pages, illustrations. BIC Classification: APF; BGF. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 161 x 178 x 46. Weight in Grams: 402. . . . . . . Bookseller Inventory # V9780099431855

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