- By Suzanne Finstad

Natasha: The Biography of Natalie Wood

  • Title: Natasha: The Biography of Natalie Wood
  • Author: Suzanne Finstad
  • ISBN: 9780099431855
  • Page: 436
  • Format: Paperback
  • Natasha The Biography of Natalie Wood Born Natasha Zakharenko Natalie Wood continues to haunt us years after her tragic and mysterious death Her dark hypnotic beauty and passionate performances made her a movie star legend appearing

    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 hBorn 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.

    1 thought on “Natasha: The Biography of Natalie Wood

    1. I didn't know who the hell I was. I was whoever they wanted me to be.An amazing biography of Natalie Wood's fascinating, yet tragic life. She is truly one of my favorite actresses and Hollywood legends of all time.

    2. Probably one of the best bios of Natalie Wood I have ever come across, despite the uneven handling of parts of her life (too much emphasis on her early and teen years) and repetitive style. I appreciated Suzanne Finstad's attempts to get to know the real woman behind the star image. Natalie is presented as an unfailingly kind, loving, and ambitious person who was pushed into acting by a stage mother and was left with psychological issues that she began to overcome by the end of her life, but one [...]

    3. The best Natalie Wood biography money can buy, honest and never boring. Her unrequited romance with (gay)actor Raymond Burr, her dalliance with director Nicholas Ray and attempts at dating Warren Beatty were amusing. The amusement of course, ends towards the final chapter where her bisexual husband Robert Wagner may or may not have had an affair with creepy Christopher Walken. The last hours of her life will creep you out.

    4. Probably the best biography I've ever read. I couldn't put it down! Suzanne Finstad gave a fascinating, vivid, informative account of Natalie's life. Finstad did so much research for this book, interviewing hundreds of people except for RJ Wagner because he declined because she told the truth about him and he couldn't handle that. It's a very sympathetic biography and you really feel for Natalie. Whether or not you're a Natalie fan, you will love this. Pick this up for an interesting read.

    5. Why does Natalie Wood’s gaudy life inspire mediocre bios? Because they never mention the “I’m pretty, mama! I’m a pretty girl!” scene in “Gypsy,” maybe the most brutal scene in any Hollywood movie? Because she spent her whole life in LA? Because nobody parts with a story they don’t own a piece of? Because she didn’t make more enemies? Because writers can’t resist schlocking up her stage mom or her horrible death? But “Mr. S,” the book by Sinatra’s valet, has two pages o [...]

    6. One certainly can't say this is a benign account of the star's life! If it is to be believed, it lays bare a pretty active early sex life of its subject and outs one of Hollywood's most enduring stars as a conflicted bisexual (something that said star denies vehemently.) It is, without question, a page turner but begins in tragedy, with Natalie enduring the oppression of a smothering, demanding stage mother and ends even worse, so it's not for the butterflies and candy cane set.

    7. An in-depth, well-researched biography, which left me feeling both sad and angry. Sad because Natasha (Natalie) never had the chance to live a normal life but was manipulated, used and abused from childhood; angry because it seems to me that someone was allowed to get away with murder.

    8. Anyone who even only saw 'Gypsy' (1962) would have been taken by this seemingly fresh, stunning talent. But this child veteran screen legend had already long since cemented her place in the Hollywood history with great films like 'Miracle on 34th Street' (1947).Born in San Francisco to Russian immigrant parents, Wood also spoke Russian and was proud of her heritage. She was pushed as a toddler, by her mother, into films. At nine she was named the 'most exciting juvenile motion picture star of th [...]

    9. Overall a well- researched and detailed account of Natalie Wood's life, especially her childhood, homelife, and her start in Hollywood. The author spoke to numerous sources and has fascinating accounts of the behind-the-scenes of Wood's iconic films. However, Finstad makes a lot of assumptions, and puts her opinions and interpretations in almost every paragraph. The most egregious part of the author's writing is the repetition! Again and again she rephrases the same thought, driving home her opi [...]

    10. Read this when it first came out a decade ago, and was inspired to pick it up again. Exhaustively researched, difficult-to-put-down biography of Natalie Wood, the first really complete biography ever written on her life. A must for any Natalie Wood fan.

    11. Finstad is a great researcher, but her writing is melodramatic and overwrought. Many things were repeated over and over. I didn't need to know what every source thought of Natalie at every given time and I got the feeling that Finstad wanted to put every single quote in the book.

    12. An extremely well-researched, sympathetic, and compelling portrait of a complicated life and death. Fascinating.

    13. This was a revealing and sometimes shocking revelation of Natasha Gurdin (AKA Natalie Wood), the famed child star and Hollywood icon. The author vividly paints the world into which little Natasha was born into and how how her controlling, manipulative and disillusioned mother, Maria (AKA "Mud") formed her into a star after her dream. The author pulls no punches in telling how Maria lived vicariously through her creation, "Natalie." Natalie is shown to be a capricious, intelligent, engaging and t [...]

    14. Very enjoyable read for the most part. The author git a bit repetitive at times telling the story of Natalie Wood's life, but the book seemed very complete to me. It covered a lot of ground. Especially interesting were the stories of her early years as a child actress in Hollywood and then the transition into more mature roles. The mother comes off as kind of a villain---maybe rightfully so if the stories told about her are to be believed. The father was a weak and sometimes violent presence in [...]

    15. I thought this biography was very interesting. Natalie Wood was such a talented actress. her death was a tragedy. She was young and beautiful. She had a rough child hood but she appreciated it. Natalie Wood was just a figure in her mothers imagination. She was in the movie business since she was a child. She truly was something special. fun fact. I was named after Natalie Wood. my dad loved her as an actress so much he decided to name his baby girl after her. Anyways Natalie had many affairs wit [...]

    16. I liked the first 3/4 of the book and found it quite an insightful look into the life of one of the most influential actresses of our time. I enjoyed hearing the stories of how she got her different roles and sympathized with her personal struggles growing up. But the thing that I found a bit frustrating was how much time was spent in the end talking about her tragic and mysterious death and all the theories surrounding it. I think it ended on such a down note, which I guess is how her life ende [...]

    17. Ever since finishing this book, I've been haunted by this actress and the thought of how she died, all alone and at sea. A magical life cut short far too soon, and the author has spoiled me for all other biographies. I couldn't put it down.

    18. Interesting stories, though repetitive on the part of the author. The writing is not the best, but if you are a fan of Natalie Wood, it's a decent read for some perspective into her life behind the silver screen.

    19. She was something, we just forget how much. Can't wait until Natasha and Katie decide to write something.

    20. When I watched West Side Story last year for the first time, I was captivated by the brown-eyed beauty that is Natalie Wood. I soon afterwards watched Splendor In The Grass and Rebel Without a Cause, both among my favorite films. While strolling through Half Price Books, I came across Suzanne Finstad's critically acclaimed biography and simply couldn't pass it up.The beginning, although slow, gave a good backstory of Natalie's mother's family, which helps us understand the strange habits of Musi [...]

    21. It was ok, but seemed to go on and ion and on, often saying the exact same thing. Felt like I was getting hit over the head with her fear of dark water. Every now and then it felt engaging, but most of the time I felt like I was waiting for it to be over!

    22. I enjoyed reading about Natalie, but quickly realized that she was abused by her family and the Hollywood system.d that was "normal" for child actor. Such a talented woman, but such a short life.

    23. Incredibly sad ending of course but a really interesting insight into who she really was and why she was who she was

    24. Far, far, far too repetitive. Not every quote the author obtained about Natalie had to be included in this book. Also, I no longer have one iota of respect for Wagner.

    25. This was a very interesting book. I found the writer's style to be a bit redundant, since she kept focusing on the same elements and yet not adding any new information really. The account of her drowning seems shaky at best and disturbing at worst. Natalie Wood was a great beauty, profound talent, and apparently a genuinely wonderful person.

    26. This book was well researched but could have covered all the details in half as many pages. I discovered things about Natalie Wood/ Natasha Zakharenko but plenty of information was repeated again and again.

    27. Natasha: The Biography of Natalie Wood by Suzanne Finstad is an outstanding biography. It is extremely well-researched and for the most part very well written. If I had one issue that bothered me, it was the extreme use of repetition. Some of that space used for repetition might have been put to better use in talking about her films.That said, Natalie Wood's body of work as an actress was simply astounding. As you read through the titles of her films, the sheer number of great films and terrific [...]

    28. If you are over the age of 25 in America, you have heard of Natalie Wood. The tragically deceased movie star is akin to an icon in our nation's past. This thoroughly researched biography gives insight into her early life and behind the scenes information about her movies. With quotes from original sources, such as Wood's family members and staff, and second hand sources, such as magazine articles, the details of Natalie's life are spread before us.I was only semi-knowledgeable about this actress [...]

    29. 3 STARS"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 haun [...]

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