Photo of Natalie Wood Natalie Wood

Born Natalia Nikolaevna Zakharenko on July 20, 1938, in San Francisco, Natalie Wood moved to Los Angeles shortly after appearing as an extra in 1943's Happy Land. In 1947, pushed by her starstruck mother, Wood landed the role that would win the hearts of moviegoers: Susan Walker in Miracle on 34th Street.

During the 1940s and '50s, Wood found steady work as a child actress, playing the teenage daughter on the 1953 sitcom "The Pride of the Family" before making a spectacular segue into mature roles with her Oscar-nominated performance in Rebel Without a Cause (1955). Two more Oscar nominations followed -- for Splendor in the Grass and Love with the Proper Stranger -- as did marriage to actor Robert Wagner, all before Wood turned 30.

Wood gave memorable performances in movies such as West Side Story, Gypsy and Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice before her drowning death on Nov. 20, 1981.

Natalie Wood in Rebel Without a Cause: Special Edition

Rebel Without a Cause: Special Edition

1955 NR

When Jim Stark (James Dean) arrives in a new town with his troubled past firmly in tow, he quickly falls for the girl next door (Natalie Wood) and befriends the vulnerable Plato (Sal Mineo), forming a surrogate family fueled by alienation. From a deadly game of chicken to the spectacular climax at Los Angeles's Griffith Park Observatory, director Nicholas Ray's Oscar-nominated portrait of teen angst provided a jolt to 1950s America.

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