In 1955, at the age of 17, Natalie Wood got the role of Judy in the movie Rebel Without A Cause opposite James Dean. The movie went on to be nominated for multiple Academy Awards and helped to launch the careers of Natalie Wood and James Dean. Natalie Wood in Rebel Without A Cause put on a performance that the critics hailed and the movie goers would love. Natalie Wood in appreciation to the fans would spend the rest of her life showing her acting range and taking on roles that would not only challenge her but also challenge the movie going public to keep up with her ever increasing talents.
Natalie Wood in 1961 is best known for appearing in the movie West Side Story. The movie West Side Story for Natalie Wood is a snapshot of some of the frustrations that bothered her throughout her career. The main problem being that the movie West Side Story won an incredible 10 Academy Award but Natalie Wood did not win an Oscar and was not nominated for one. Throughout her career she was nominated for the Oscar on three separate occasions but she never won the little gold statue. The notion of not winning an Academy Award put Natalie Wood in a sour mood for many years and after making This Property Is Condemned in 1966 she left Hollywood frustrated with the lack of recognition she was receiving while everyone around her was taking all the glory.
Wood stayed out of Hollywood over three years before making Bill & Carol & Ted & Alice in 1969. Her popularity did not suffer from her absence but she still questioned why she was acting and whether or not it was really worth it. She continued to avoid working and did not make anything worth remembering with the one glaring exception of the incredible television mini-series From Here To Eternity. She began the movie Brainstorm in 1981 but on November 29, 1981 Natalie Wood drowned after she fell from her yacht while out on the open seas with her husband Robert Wagner. Brainstorm was finally release in 1983 to lukewarm reception and failure at the box office. Natalie Wood is remembered as a great actress who became disillusioned with Hollywood and decided that she did not need Hollywood no matter how badly it was obvious that Hollywood desperately needed her.