Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Natalie Wood

Natalie Wood's death has never brought her the cult followings of Marilyn Monroe or James Dean, but she still has her legion of devoted fans. Relatively, it may be small, but it is very loyal. You would think, then, that more people would be inspired to clear some of the fog surrounding her death--and her life. It doesn't explain why there has yet to be a reliable book published about her or why her remaining family members don't all get along. You could say that the former explains the latter, but it's all beside the point. The point is, there has been too much speculation for too long. People are beginning to solve the many mysteries of Natalie Wood's life with their own theories and opinions and then conveniently forget they could be wrong. And I'm not just talking about Natalie's death. Oh no-- it is like that about nearly every major event in her life. You can ask endless questions about everything.

A) Was Natalie really raped by Kirk Douglas when she was fifteen? Most people have figured out that's who Suzanne Finstad means, and it is fairly obvious, but Natalie never spoke publicly about it and all her friends have different stories. Why would you believe one and not the other?

B) Why did her first marriage to Robert Wagner really break up? Is it true he had an affair with another man? How much of Natasha are you willing to believe? And why would Natalie remarry someone who was unfaithful to her, considering the way she kicked Richard Gregson out of her house when she found out about him?

C) How much of her death was an accident? Do you believe it was just drunken negligence or really intended? And if it was murder, why would anyone want to kill Natalie Wood??

D) Considering what is known for sure about the night Natalie died, do you think she really loved Robert Wagner? People make excuse for her about being jaded on love, etc. etc. But the facts remain: Natalie married a man of dubious integrity twice and had been married to him ten years when she died. I go with the "love is blind" argument--I say you have to deeply love someone to be willing to look over such fundamental flaws in their character--why else would you? But others say she could not have really loved someone like that, and maybe they've got a point. I'm no better judge than anyone else.

This has gone on a long time, and it's all getting out of hand and frankly disgusting. Someone either needs to stop lying or charge Suzanne Finstad with a libel suit. Because both of them can't be telling the truth. Natalie left behind an unfinished autobiography and journals--someone ought to publish them. Why haven't they? Someone should also write an honest full-length biography without bias or gossip, but it seems nobody loves Natalie enough for that. At least, a new memoir called Goodbye Natalie, Goodbye Splendour is coming out in September and it may prove to solve part of The Natalie Wood Problem, but there would still be a lot left to do.

It is actually a good thing Natalie hasn't become commercialized enough to generate more biographies. In spite of all this controversy and--between her family--rancor, everyone is united in remembering her human qualities, which have not been taken away by the media. She was a warm, friendly human being--very thoughtful, kind, generous, and intelligent. she was beautiful, she could act, and she was decoted to her children and family. She admirably overcame her unhappy childhood even after she attempted suicide a few times and was left with severe phobias and other psychological scars. Frank Sinatra called being with Natalie like sitting front of a warm fire, and all her friends remember her as sweet, loyal, fun-loving, and high-spirited. Nobody disagrees about that. So until her family gets their heads on straight, we can at least be content that the only things to be sure of concerning Natalie Wood happen to be what's nicest to remember her by.


1938-1981

3 comments:

C.K. Dexter Haven said...

This was a great post! It certainly asked some interesting questions. I hope you keep up your Natalie writings, because I think that there are more fans of hers out there than we might think. She's ripe for rediscovery and it's good to know that she has fans who weren't even born when she died.

Merriam said...

Thank you! I agree with you, I think people are beginning to take a serious interest in Natalie. That's what I'd like to think anyway.

Anonymous said...

Read "Goodbye Natalie Goodbye Splendour" if you want to know what happened the night Natalie Wood died. This IS the book that tells the truth, and the captain took a polygraph test for it (results included). You can visit the author's blog about it www.martirulli.blogspot.com
This is the page-turned book Natalie has always deserved!