From the Archives: Natalie Wood on fame and fans

Natalie Wood
July 1966: Actress Natalie Wood discussed what it was like to be a movie star with The Times.
(Steve Fontanini / Los Angeles TImes)

To help promote the 1966 comedy “Penelope,” Natalie Wood sat down for an interview with Times writer Kevin Thomas. She talked about fame and fans.

... The question of what it’s like to be a movie star is so obvious one never remembers to ask, but it is surely a natural for Natalie [Wood].

“It’s a hard question for me to answer. I have nothing to compare with because I have always been in the Hollywood atmosphere. Of course, I’m now much more successful than I was as a child, but I think stardom has been easier for me because the work has always been the same — I haven’t had to adjust to a new environment like most others.


“I don’t know if sacrifice is the right word to describe the minuses of being a star. There’s a terrific lack of privacy, a terrific interest in what you’re doing. You’re considered fair game, and sometimes it’s not very pleasant.

“There’s a terrible distorted kind of interest in one’s personal life — who you’re dating,” explains Miss Wood, adding: “It’s not the fans who are difficult.” There is no further elaboration offered, which is scarcely needed since Natalie, as Hollywood’s child, has long been a target for sophisticated writers on the one hand and the object of constant speculation of the gossip columnists on the other. ...


Following the release of “Penelope,” Woods took a three-year break from acting. In 1969, she appeared in “Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice.”

Natalie Wood drowned on Nov. 29, 1981, while sailing off Santa Catalina Island. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has continued on-and-off investigations into Wood’s death since then. For more, check out this Feb. 6, 2018, Los Angeles Times article: Detectives running out of time in Natalie Wood mystery.

This portrait by staff photographer Steve Fontanini accompanied Thomas’ article in the July 25, 1966, edition of the Los Angeles Times.

This post was originally published on March 12, 2012.