Natalie Wood & Kirk Douglas were two of Hollywood’s biggest personalities in their time. Wood starred in monumental films like Rebel Without a Cause, The Searchers, and West Side Story. Douglas appeared in classic movies such as Stanley Kubrick’s Paths of Glory & Spartacus.
Many are aware of the illustrious acting careers of Natalie Wood & Kirk Douglas. However, you may not have heard of a time where their lives intersected. There have been several retrospectives on Douglas’ career since his death in February 2020. Additionally, more has become known about the actor’s sexual misconduct.
Kirk Douglas admitted he was a “Sonofabitch, plain & simple,” in his 1988 autobiography “The Ragman’s Son”. Douglas disclosed his affairs & sexual promiscuity with co-stars. Yet he never mentioned a time when he supposedly raped Natalie Wood when she was just a teenager.
Kirk Douglas allegedly raped Natalie Wood
Natalie Wood was a Hollywood star from a very young age. Wood was originally born Natalia Nikolaevna Zakharenko in San Francisco in 1938. Her mother was a former ballerina who pushed her to become an actress. Wood’s breakout role was in the 1947 Christmas film Miracle on 34th Street. She would go on to have plenty of work as a child & teen actress.
Wood entered television acting in the early 1950s. Kirk Douglas invited Natalie Wood to the Chateau Marmont for an audition in the spring of 1954. According to author Suzanne Finstad, Douglas was Natalie’s “screen idol.” Kirk Douglas purportedly gave Wood a drink & said he liked “young girls.” Natalie Wood was then mercilessly raped.
Natalie Wood’s younger sister Lana recalls that the rape went on “for hours.” Douglas allegedly told Wood “If you tell anyone, it will be the last thing you do.” Wood’s friends Scott Marlowe & Dennis Hopper recounted the incident for Finstad’s 2001 biography on Wood. They said that “she was physically injured, and she was too frightened or intimidated to report it to the police.”
Even though he acknowledged he was a womanizer, Kirk Douglas never admitted to the rape of Natalie Wood. There are plenty of signals pointing to Douglas possibly being the perpetrator even though nothing is confirmed. Perhaps Natalie Wood kept silent in order to keep her career intact. However, could Kirk Douglas be involved in Natalie Wood’s mysterious death?
Natalie Wood’s perplexing death
Natalie Wood’s body was found on the morning of November 29th, 1981. She was floating face down in the Pacific Ocean near Catalina Island. What’s bizarre is that she wasn’t wearing swimwear. The deceased actress had on a flannel nightgown, wool socks, and down jacket. Wood was on a weekend getaway with her husband Robert Wagner & colleague Christopher Walken.
Wood & Walken had been aboard Wagner’s yacht Splendour. Captain Dennis Davern reported that Wood had become smitten with Christopher Walken. The two were working on a sci-fi film called Brainstorm at the time. Both Wood & Wagner seemed to be suffering from jealousy. Wagner over Walken & Wood over Wagner’s Hart to Hart co-star Stefanie Powers.
Wood, Wagner, Walken, and Davern had reportedly been drinking a lot on the trip. When Wood & Wagner got into a fight, Davern intervened & took Wood ashore in a dinghy. Davern & Wood returned the next day & the party went out for drinks. Wood was reportedly stumbling drunk & in a bad mood when she left the restaurant. Davern claimed that Walken & Wood had been flirting.
Witnesses recall hearing arguments from the Splendour later that night. A man nearby said he heard a woman scream “Help me!” Wagner claims he found that Wood was missing when he went to say goodnight. Davern & Wagner put out a distress call & Wood was found several hours later. What’s curious is that the dinghy was discovered on the shore near her body.
Could Kirk Douglas have killed Natalie Wood?
Coroner Thomas Noguchi initially ruled Wood’s death as an accidental drowning. However, the case has recently been amended as “drowning & other undetermined factors.” One of Noguchi’s former interns stated that bruises on Wood’s body may suggest that she was thrown in the water. A recent coroner’s report insinuates Wood was assaulted before she drowned.
Who would’ve wanted Natalie Wood dead? Her death could’ve been due to a fit of jealous rage from her husband Robert Wagner. However, perhaps Kirk Douglas was involved in some regard. Douglas was one of the most powerful men in Hollywood & definitely had the ability to pull strings to get his way.
Perhaps Douglas hired someone to kill Natalie Wood in order to keep her silent. While it is still unclear how Natalie Wood died, there are plenty of theories that suggest foul play.
Kirk Douglas is rumored to have raped Natalie Wood when she was a teenager. Could there be a possibility that he was involved in her strange demise? Let us know what you think in the comments.