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I Love Too Much To Marry You, Darling—Natalie Wood

This is a story which Natalie Wood’s close friends know. No two of her friends would tell it exactly the same way—you know how stories get changed around in little ways as they pass from one person to another. However, we feel that what you will read now is a pretty close version of what actually happened.

Natalie lay in bed, wondering why she didn’t feel sleepy. It wasn’t even eight o’clock yet, so why this feeling that she must hurry, that there was something she had to do?

Then she remembered. She had met a fellow last night, a swell fellow, and the thing she had to do was figure out how to see him again, soon. Reaching for the phone, she decided I’ll call him. . .

Then she laughed at herself. It was only eight o’clock; he wouldn’t be at his office yet!

She dressed. She had breakfast. She picked up a book. She tried to read, but her mind wandered. She picked up the script of the picture she’d be starting in a couple of weeks, but she was too restless to study it. She waited till 9:30, then she dialed his number.

“Hi,” she said, “are you busy tonight?”

“Who is this?” he asked.

“Nat. Nat Wood. You met me last evening. At the party. You brought me a sandwich.”

Her pulse was hammering. She didn’t know what to say next.

“Yes, I remember,” he said. “How are you?” His voice was kind of stiff and puzzled and Nat knew that he hadn’t given her another thought.

But there was nothing she could do now except go on with the conversation.

“I was just wondering if you were free tonight,” she asked. The words had just sort of tumbled out and now she was embarrassed that she’d asked him. Her embarrassment increased as he explained that he was too tired, and besides he had some work he wanted to finish up.

“Of course,” she said, quickly, wanting to let him off the hook, “perhaps some other time.”

And as she hung up she thought, Well Nat, me girl, that’s that.

But a few days later, he called her. And their friendship began.

Many dates later, when they knew each other very well, she finally got up the nerve to ask him why he had turned her down when she first called him.

He tried to explain it in a way that wouldn’t hurt her. because his turning her down really didn’t have anything to do with her, Natalie Wood as a person. He wanted her to realize that.

“Darling.” he said, taking her hand in his. “in my field,” he said, “it isn’t a good idea to get a reputation as a light-hearted playboy running around dating the stars and starlets. The companies we deal with,” he smiled, trying to make it sound really very silly, tay ell, they’re stuffy. But that’s how it is. My company could lose a great deal—if our clients start thinking I’m a playboy rather than a solid businessman.”

The smile left her face. Her eyes began to tear. “Oh,” she said, “I see.”

“No you don’t!” he said, putting his arm around her. “What you don’t see is that I love you and always will and who cares what my business associates think!”

No more films for Natalie

The next morning Natalie called her agent. “Look,” she said, “we’re not starting to shoot till next month and there’s plenty of time for the studio to get somebody else. Okay?”

“What are you talking about?”

“I’m getting married.”

“So congratulations. So why can’t you make this picture?”

“I’m getting married, and I can’t make this picture. Maybe I wont make any more pictures ever.

“Why not?”

“Its a long story, but I can’t, that’s all. I just can’t.”

“Honey,” he said in a gentle voice, “you can’t just break a contract. They won’t let you go . . .”

“But—it’s for seven years. I just signed at a couple of months ago. You mean I’ve got to . . . For seven years?”

“Honey, this guy’ll blow over. Just like all the rest of them. Then you’ll be rarin’ to get back to work.”

“You don’t understand!” she burst out. “This isn’t a one-shot dinner date that the columns pick up and build up as the new love of my life. And he isn’t a friend, a Nicky Adams. Or one of the kids like Sal—to sit around and talk shop with. I love him! I want to marry him!”

Too busy for him

After she hung up, she sat staring at the phone. The decision to give up her career for the man she loved had been her own idea. He hadn’t asked her to give it up. She knew he wouldn’t. But she had been certain her decision would please him. Now her agent had told her she couldn’t quit!

And she knew that it would be unfair to him. That he needed a wife, not a movie star. She phoned. and trying to sound very casual said, “Darling, you wouldn’t mind too much if we skipped tonight? I have so many things to do before I start for Vegas in the morning, and I’ll only be away a few days—a week at the most.”

“Vegas?” he asked, startled.

“Didn’t I tell you? I thought I’d go down to Las Vegas for a bit. Nicky says it’s heavenly down there this time of year.”

“You’re going to Nevada with Nick Adams? You’re “kidding,” he exploded.

“Of course I’m not kidding. It’ll be fun.”

He slammed down the phone, unable to see the tears rolling down Natalie’s cheeks . . .

In the months that followed he heard about Natalie only through the newspapers. He read about her furious dates with someone new each night. He read the story of how she spent a weekend with Elvis and his family. How could he know that Natalie was doing all this for him really—so that he would lose all his love for her. Deep in her heart she said to herself, he needs a wife, not an actress, and for seven more years at least I must be an actress. So, no matter how much it hurts him, it’s better to break it off now. I’ll go out with everybody: I’ll get my name in the columns all the time. I’ll make him hate me . . .

Hurt him for a moment

In the months that followed, Natalie tried hard to have fun, to become interested in some of her ‘actor boyfriends.’ But the more dates she had. the more she missed And then one morning her phone rang—and she heard his voice saying. “I want to see you!”

And she heard herself say, “I’ll be at the restaurant in half an hour . . .”

He was there, waiting. For a moment, seeing him there ram-rod straight like he always sat. that silly way one little piece of hair always curled as if it were trying to be a cow-lick and couldn’t quite make it—she almost started to run to him. Then she remembered that for seven years she belonged to her studio, to her public.

The man waiting for her deserved a full-time wife. No, she said to herself courageously, I’d rather hurt him for a moment now than hurt him forever. She turned and walked out. She looked back at him once—sitting there patiently waiting, so handsome, so wonderful. Then she walked home slowly, her eyes filled with a heavy mist . . .



Watch for Natalie who will soon appear in Warner Bros. No Sleep Till Dawn and Marjorie Morningstar.



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