Already have an account?
Get back to the

Previously Unseen Photos of Actress Natalie Wood Released by Photographer Bill Ray


The untimely death of actress Natalie Wood at the age of 43 in 1981 remains one of Hollywood’s biggest tragedies — and biggest mysteries. Los Angeles County Sheriff’s investigators continue to examine the circumstances surrounding her drowning death off the coast of Catalina, with husband Robert Wagner named as a person of interest.

Natalie Wood Bill Ray Getty Images FOTO

(Photo Credit: Billy Ray; Getty Images FOTO)

But in those short years, Natalie lived one big life. In fact, by the time celebrated LIFE photographer Bill Ray profiled Natalie at the age of 25, she had already racked up the kind of résumé an actress twice her age would covet: a breakout role in the Christmas classic Miracle on 34th Street, an Oscar-nominated turn opposite James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause, and the admiration of Hollywood heavyweights like Orson Welles, who once said Wood was “so good, she was terrifying.” It’s a sentiment Ray echoes. “She was wonderful to work with,” he recalls. “It was just a dream assignment.”

In partnership with Getty Images FOTO, Ray shared his favorite pictures from that dream assignment, 55 years ago — scroll down to see the photos!

This article originally appeared on our sister site, Closer Weekly.

Use left and right arrow keys to navigate between menu items. Use right arrow key to move into submenus. Use escape to exit the menu. Use up and down arrow keys to explore. Use left arrow key to move back to the parent list.