Natalie Wood: Rare and Classic Photos of the Lifelong Movie Star

Natalie Wood and Steve McQueen 1963
John Dominis—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images
Not published in LIFE. Natalie Wood and Steve McQueen, 1963.

And at nearly every stage of Natalie Wood’s career — the early days as a cute studio-contract moppet; her teenage Method experiments inspired by her work in Rebel Without a Cause; her emergence as a powerful leading lady who could more than hold her own with Warren Beatty and Steve McQueen — LIFE’s photographers were there, capturing Wood’s talent and beauty as they blossomed over the years.

Not all those pictures from those many rolls of film could make it to print, of course. Here, presents a selection of the best photos of the late, radiant star — pictures that were not originally published in LIFE magazine.

Natalie Wood died, far too young, in 1981. She was just 43 years old. She drowned near Santa Catalina Island, off the coast of California; in 2012, the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner reclassified the cause of her death as “drowning and other undetermined factors.”

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