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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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Finstad (Child Bride: The Untold Story of Priscilla Beaulieu Presley) also served as producer of Natasha, an ABC-TV film that aired in January.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
One of the saddest stories I have read. I would give it 5 star but sometimes the author repeated the same event from different people's points of view and I would get a bit... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
So negative and so many assumptions. I adored Natalie Wood or I never would have finished this book. I didn't enjoy it.Published 2 months ago by Atheneowl
As a huge fan of Natalie Wood, I began reading this book with a pretty open mind, but it soon became obvious that the so called research this woman did comprises a great deal of... Read morePublished 3 months ago by rosieS
The book felt long to me but it covered in great detail a lot time, a lot of films and a very busy but too short a life. Read morePublished 5 months ago by jackie farry
I did not follow Natalie Wood closely growing up. Probably the first time I saw Natalie Wood was in "West Side Story". Read morePublished 6 months ago by s, richard
Fascinating story but with plenty of predictable Hollywood crap that all starlets endured back in the day. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Dancewriter
Very good bio of Natalie Wood. After recently reading Lana Wood's book about her famous older sister, I was curious to know more about the lovely film star. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Sylvia Path
Repetitive to the point of distraction. Many of the author's facts turned out to be incorrect and were corrected years after this book was published. Read morePublished 9 months ago by ladygodiving