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Natasha : " The Biography Of Natalie Wood " [Hardcover]

Suzanne Finstad
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

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Book Description

26 July 2001
This biography of Natalie Wood (born Natasha Zakharenko), beautiful star of "West Side Story" and "Rebel Without a Cause", goes from a childhood dominated by her frustrated, alcoholic mother, through her love affairs and marriage (twice) to Robert Wagner, to an addiction to sleeping pills and her premature death by drowning at the age of 43. The author spent three years in researching Wood's life story, to reveal it tinged from the start with tragedy and drama. Wood grew up fast - a lonely misfit, uncertain of her identity. She was raped by a leading Hollywood star at the age of 16 - an attack that her mother forbade her to report. Her leading men frequently became her lovers, including Elvis Presley, James Dean and Warren Beatty. Her fear of being alone and years of exploitation and abuse led eventually to the sleeping pill addiction and a number of suicide attempts. This book - written with the help of over 400 interviews with friends, family, lovers, co-stars and the police officials who investigated her death - also looks at unpublished evidence surrounding her controversial death, and considers her lifelong terror of water. Ironically, it was her ability to project the pain and vulnerability of her life that made Natasha Wood such an exceptional actress.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 430 pages
  • Publisher: Century; 1st. Edition edition (26 July 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0712677003
  • ISBN-13: 978-0712677004
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.8 x 4.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 365,406 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Natalie Wood (1938-81) came from the last generation of movie stars shaped by the Hollywood studio system, and in Natasha Suzanne Finstad gives her life the all-out showbiz celebrity bio treatment. 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 six, 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

Review

"A gripping tale." (Punch)

"Powerfully gripping" (JG Ballard Daily Telegraph)

"A riveting biography" (Sunday Telegraph) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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First Sentence
"NATALIE WOOD" NEVER REALLY EXISTED. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Biography 16 Aug 2003
Format:Paperback
As tragic and gripping as Marilyn Monroe's story, this biography is full of repression and superstition. Natalie's overbearing mother looms large throughout the book, as does the legacy of the fears that she installed in her chosen daughter.
Despite the traumatic and unconventional upbringing and heartbreaking lack of friends as a child, Natalie was sympathetic and sensitive to others throughout her life. The warmth of her character shines through again and again in the comments of her later friends and acquantainces.
This book is well written and researched, and is a fascinating and eerie story of the tragic life and death of this famous film star. If you are even only vaguely interested in Natalie Wood (as I was before I read this), you will be gripped and haunted by her troubled life.
Read this book now.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST HAVE FOR ALL NATALIE WOOD FANS 24 July 2001
Format:Hardcover
Natalie Wood illuminated the screen as a child, an ingenue, and as a mature actress. Decades of fans admired her, and continue to do so 20 years after her death.
Born Natasha Zacharenko to a poor Russian family, the child who became "Natalie Wood" was pushed before the cameras by her fiercely determined mother. Her career took off immediately and she starred in some of the most enduring and acclaimed movies of our time.
Suzanne Finstad spent 3 years interviewing every man, woman, and child who ever knew Natalie and was willing to talk. Among them were her co-stars, friends and family members as well as her first boyfriend and first fiance. "Natasha" also contains dozens of unpublished photos from the private albums of Natalie's friends, family and co-stars.
The result is the only real biography that has ever been written about Natalie Wood, "Natasha" is unapologetic, unflinching and complete. It reveals much that we never knew, suspected or imagined about a child, a girl and a woman who spent her life in front of lights and cameras, yet died in the cold and darkness.
Natalie Wood's stardom endures. Readers will be eager to immerse themselves in "Natasha", to remind themselves of an actress who gave so much onscreen, and to finally know the woman who hid so much behind it.
REVELATIONS TO BE FOUND IN "NATASHA": How Natalie's mother manipulated a director into making Natalie a child star; Natalie's fear of drowning and its origin;
Natalie's father's drunken violence and its effects on her relationships with men; Natalie's secret engagement to her highschool sweetheart; The true reason her first marriage to Robert Wagner ended in divorce; Natalie's suicide attempts and the reasons behind them; Natalie's shattering divorce from second husband Richard Gregson; The official sheriff's records of Natalie's drowning.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definetly the book for Natalie wood fans. 25 Mar 2002
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
I found Natasha a very interesting read right from the start linking with the rominoff family.
Inspite of such beauty and talent she seemed to always be looking for more in her life. A book well worth reading looking into her death on Robert Wagners and her boat at the end.
Well worth reading if your interested in Natalie wood and Robert Wagner.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was very well written and proved what a short and tragic life Natalie led. It seemed all she wanted to do was please people, expecially her mother. It was a wonderful insight to life in Hollywood with all the old stars. A really good buy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent information and good read 2 July 2008
Format:Paperback
This is so good that after failing to save my first review, I could be bothered to do it all again (bit shorter though).

Unlike many biographies, this one is easy to read throughout. The level of detail will satisfy anyone interested in Natalie's life, as Finstad spent years researching her subject. Nothing is left out or cleaned up. However, Finstad stays objective throughout.

Her detailed walkthrough of Natalie's last hours is microscopic, but simply presents the information without offering conclusions.

A great read and a must for Wood fans.

I'll save it this time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Legendary actress 26 Nov 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The photographs are amazing as Iv not seen most of them before. This book is just the one for you if you are a dedicated fan of Natalie Wood. Left you wanting more.....
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars APPOLLONIA 27 Oct 2010
Format:Hardcover
I WOULD DEFINITELY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK I THOUGHT THE AUTHOR TRIED TO GIVE MORE DETAILED TIMELINE OF EVENTS LEADING UP TO NATALIE'S DEATH AND TRIED TO BE FAIR IN WHAT SHE WROTE ABOUT HER LIFE, HER SENSITIVITY, EVEN TO MENTIONING THE COMBING OF THOSE TWO GIRLS HAIR IN THE BATHROOM THE NIGHT OF HER DEATH. NOT JUST TRYING TO PORTRAY HER AS SOMEONE WHO WAS FLAWED [AS WE ALL ARE] BUT A KIND CARING PERSON.

AND UNLIKE GAVIN LAMBERT'S BOOK, NOT SOMEONE WHO LIKED TO "SWISH HER TAIL".

I AM GLAD I BOUGHT THIS BOOK, I WOULD RECOMMEND IT ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE A NAT WOOD FAN AND ARE TRYING TO GET AN OVERALL VIEW OF WHO SHE WAS.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars hollywood 14 Jan 2010
Format:Hardcover
one of the best books i have read on Natalie Wood,could hot put it down,a good interesting read Mary Davis.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
interesting story
Published 4 days ago by marie connolly
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
A GOOD READ.
Published 5 days ago by Kyle
5.0 out of 5 stars Natalie Wood
What a fantastic read, I just could not put this book down. The book goes into detail from the early years right through to her untimely death. Read more
Published 19 days ago by Glynis Bennett
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved the book Natasha.
Loved it, I always liked Natalie Wood. Though her Mother was horrendous. So sad she died so young as was just getting to grips with her life and the fact she had young children as... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Carmel Murphy
5.0 out of 5 stars Natalie Wood
Have read the the Goodbye book now, and truly hope that the truth will be known, sometime in the near future, for the sake of her children and for her family. Such a sad death!!
Published 2 months ago by Karyn Wood
5.0 out of 5 stars review of Natasha. the natalie wood biography.
A fascinating, yet often sad, biography of a very talented actress. Some parts were a real eye opener. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Caramella
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read
Griping read from start to finish!! Leaves you asking many questions as to what did actually happen that last night........ Read more
Published 4 months ago by Mr M Cruden
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read
I did love this book but in places found it slightly repetitive. Even so, it was easy to read and her life was so interesting. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Jenny
5.0 out of 5 stars Biography
Was intrigued by this subject. The book relates the story from her childhood (which wasn't easy) up to her untimely death.
Published 10 months ago by S. Atkinson
5.0 out of 5 stars Natasha
I am very pleased with the book and the delivery. I am still reading it as it is one I can pick up at anytime.
Published 13 months ago by Anne
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