RIP Natalie Wood

The most beautiful of all the celebrities, of probably all time, was Natalie Wood. The strange mystery surrounding her death made her almost more beautiful, if such were possible, like Marilyn or Anna Nicole, or maybe just even Nicole Brown Simpson or yeah, I should probably say it, Jon Benet. Their deaths, the lurid fascination and fear of our own mortality, coupled with the idea that the good and the beautiful and the perfect and the special will never endure, directly or indirectly led to their demise. Their glorious faces are in effect a kind of death sentence, a facial fatwa, the everlasting mark that they cannot be everlasting cuz they just look too damn good. They look too damn different than the rest of us. They stand too tall. Cut down the tall poppy. I wept for all these beauties cut down each before their time (particularly Jon Benet who had no time on this earth at all), and especially for Natalie Wood because usually, brunettes are spared. Brunettes are sensible, less likely to be victimized, too possessed of good sense and melanin to take too many drugs or be forced into a children’s beauty pageant. Dark hair denotes calm and respectability and self control and tenacity and smarts and there is some safety in the deep brown tones and chocolate highlights and lowlights. I never think that brunettes will suffer what blondes do on a daily basis. But this has long been my assumption and assessment of white women. This is my take from afar. Natalie wood touched me as I was a bit in love with her, as most people were, especially Koreans. There was something Korean to her looks, she had a facial structure I have seen in the famous beauties of my own family. I am not saying that I look like her, but I know that in my genes, there is potential. There’s that. I loved her in Splendor in the Grass – ah it’s my favorite -where her want of Warren Beatty eclipsed her sanity, and I know that desire, when you want someone so bad you cannot behave in any socially acceptable way. When you just become a carrier for your own naked need and desperation, it might look unseemly in a woman my age, but for Natalie Wood back then, it was tremendous and luminous and heartbreaking and just the best expression of passion committed to film. I think about her now, and I think about that boat and I think about drowning and how much I fear water myself. I think about ships and the people I have known who have lived on houseboats and I think how unwise it would be for me to have one, because I have a tendency to get out of bed and walk around at night, not sleepwalking but somehow not awake either. I will not get a houseboat (BUT I AM GETTING A MOTORCYCLE). I think about dark waves and nightgowns and handsome husbands in tiny maritime beds wedged into small cabins and I worry about the truth of the matter. I have wondered about the mysteries of that night that Natalie wood died and I thought for a long time she would float, like the driftwood her name suggests. I thought Ms Wood would float and float and float until we found out what happened and I can say that I will be staying tuned to this episode, I am not changing the channel, I am reading the crawl on the bottom of the screen, and I am on orange alert. This story isn’t over yet. RIP Natalie. Float on.

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7 Comments. Add To The Mix…

  1. You express so eloquently the thoughts that pass through my mind. From Natalie to Amy, I’m given some peace knowing someone else feels it like I do. Much respect to you Margaret.

  2. I could not agree more. Natalie Wood was definitely one of the most beautiful women who ever lived… and is strangely overlooked. As far as (dead) icons go, Marilyn Monroe gets all the attention… but Natalie was not only much more beautiful, but so much more interesting. Thanks for this blog post, Margaret, I hope it gets people rediscovering the talent of Ms. Wood.

  3. I think she looks like us (I’m half Chinese and I recognized something familiar in Natalie’s looks, too) because her mother was Siberian.

  4. I agree, Tranna…strangely overlooked. America’s obsession with blondes has waned a great deal though. If you GOOGLE brunettes vs. blondes, 90% of males out there prefer the brunettes (and may always have…) Betty and Veronica….Veronica always was the “hotter” and more desirable of the two (for personal magnetism as well as hot looks).

    Brunettes have a mystery that cannot be defined. Marilyn was not about mystery at all…and she was too transparent. She was too, “Gee…oh my…oh goodness…oops!” while Natalie represented the repressed female psyche of the 50s and 60s with perfect style and grace. She would have been a wonderful “Sybil” or any female character who was psychiatrically and metaphysically “challenged”. If they ever make a movie (“Natalie”) like they have “Marilyn”, it will be far more difficult to find an actress qualified enough to pull off her depth of being, deep qualities, and luscious physical persona…

    Any reasonably attractive blonde in Hollywood can play Marilyn. Good luck trying to portray Natalie…

    One of a kind…ethereal…Goddess of Life and Mystery

  5. Wow. You all are correct, of course. And the ironic thing is that even her death is more interesting…even now it is an ongoing mystery.

    What a provocative and lovely article!

    Love you Margaret!

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