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Natalie Wood Answers 28 Letters From Fans & Foes

FAN: Do you miss the gay round of dating you once went through? (D.N.,Lansing,Mich.)

NATALIE: No, I don’t. I’m happier than I’ve ever been and besides, R. J. and I have a date for life.

FAN: Is it true that you gain weight after you are married? (Fran Holling, Meridian, Miss.)

NATALIE: That depends on how much rest you get during your honeymoon. I lost six pounds.

FAN: I understand that youll retire from showbusiness for good because you don’t want to be separated from your husband. As much as we wish you all the happiness, we’d hate to see you give up your career. Won’t you please reconsider? (Norman Geiser, Flint, Mich.)

NATALIE: I don’t plan to give up my career for good. I just don’t want to be separated from my husband. If parts continue to come along that will require me to be away from home, I’ll keep on turning them down.

FAN: Did you ever lose your temper on the set? I’ve never heard it said about you, but about almost everyone else. I know you’ll answer this honestly . . . . (Tony Frankovitch, Brooklyn, N. Y.)

NATALIE: Not on the set, but believe me, I’ve lost it! With producers, directors, writers, and other actors. But always before we went into production, never on the set when it would have cost the studio upwards of $14,000 a day. That wouldn’t have been fair. If something went wrong anyway after the film started. Ive controlled my emotions.

FAN: To whom would you give most credit for your success? (Tom McDougal, Las Vegas, Nev.)


FAN: What was your biggest mistake? (I.L., Storrs, Conn.)

NATALIE: I don’t know about that but I would like to go on record as saying that the mistake I’m not going to make is to take life for granted.

FAN: What’s your biggest fault? (Frank Cohn, Elizabeth, N. J.)

NATALIE: Believing that people are really good at heart.

FAN: I heard some place that you now have a butler at your house. Do you find it easy or difficult to have a servant? Does it take a little while to get used to it? (Merelee Willson. San Francisco, Calif.)

NATALIE: No—it’s wonderful! But we were lucky to find someone like David. He’s an excellent cook, an efficient housekeeper and an interesting person.

FAN: How’s your cooking? (Lynn S., Montreal, Canada)

NATALIE: Great—when I’m out of the house. I cook only on the boat and love it. And if I may be permitted to be immodest, I think I’m doing very well. But I don’t like to be domestic at home and since I don’t have to be, I see no point in pretending to be anything I’m not.

FAN: Every time my husband comes home he starts talking about wanting to buy a boat with an outboard motor. “Look what fun Natalie Wood and Bob Wagner have with their boat.” I know you have a great big one, but I wish you’d either convince me that Jim—that’s my husband—is right, or admit you only pretend to have fun because Bob seems to like boating. C’mon. Give. . . . (Carolyn Smith, San Diego, Calif.)

NATALIE: I love it. It’s the greatest life in the world. And if I were you, I’d talk my husband into the boat. Believe me—romance on the high seas is the greatest! Look what it has done for me. . . And by the way, I’ve always been enthusiastic about it, even when R.J. still had the much smaller and much less comfortable twenty-six-foot boat, with the head in the bow where you had to back in to get there, and with few of the other conveniences we have now. They say that. living on the water makes you feel ten years younger, and I believe it. (Signed, Your childbride, N. W.)

FAN: My boyfriend says you and most actresses are stuck-up and he wouldn’t go out with you or any girl in Hollywood. I’ve always been a fan of yours and can’t believe that. If you can be objective on that point—is it true? (Anne McKinley. Shreveport, La.)

NATALIE: You better ask my husband!

Ed: We did, and this is what R.J. had to say: “No, she isn’t—but if she were, she’d have a right to be.”

FAN: A talent agent has asked me if I wanted Jessy—that’s my five-year-old daughter—in pictures. He said he could get her a contract. Jessy has done some modeling and through it gotten a number of offers to appear on TV and in the movies. From your experiences—and if I’m correct, you’ve been in pictures since you were four years old—would you say I should let her go ahead if the offer is legitimate? In other words—would you go through it again if you had the choice? (Mrs. A. Hochschaffer, Hollywood 46, Calif.)

NATALIE: I would go through it again—definitely. But generally speaking, and specifically in your case, I would say it depends on how your daughter feels about it. In other words, leave it up to her, the way my mother did with me. Of course I was a ham from way back. But although mother was quite sure how I felt about it, she discussed it with me in as much detail as she felt I might understand at that age. On the other hand I’ve worked with a lot of children who were forced into films, who would much rather have played with dolls or jumped rope or done a lot of other things. and I think their mothers were wrong. If I had a daughter I would encourage her to do whatever she would like to do most—whether it’s playing the piano or painting or whatever it is. And if it happens to be acting, that would be fine, too.

FAN: Who are you most like . . . your father or your mother? (Stanley M., Pittsburgh, Pa.)

NATALIE: I would say about half and. half. I think I’ve inherited my father’s temper and my mother’s persistence.

FAN: Do you feel more independent now than you did before? From what I read I was under the impression that your mother always made a lot of decisions for you. Is that true. and if so, has Bob taken over that role? (P. B., East Hampton, N. Y.)

NATALIE: My mother has never made any decisions for me! She used to advise me, at least when I was little. But she never told me what to do. As for R.J., we talk things over. No one tel!s the other what to do.

FAN: Before you were married, you used to be very close to your family, particularly your mother. Are you still? (Dorothy Reardon, Albuquerque, N. M.)

NATALIE: I still see or talk to my family almost every day and feel very close to them, as I do to R.J.’s. But naturally, there has been an adjustment on my part, as I’m sure there must have been on theirs. It’s only natural now that we are living our own lives.

FAN: You used to be a pretty fast driver and if I remember correctly, you were in one or two pretty bad accidents. Have you slowed down in recent months? Have you gotten any tickets? (Shawlee Devins, Fort Smith, Ark.)

NATALIE: The only tickets I got recently were for parking. Not so much since we moved, but when we still lived in R.J.’s old apartment we left our cars outside at night. Since there was a parking limit, we paid a small fortune in fines. And by the way, while I was in two accidents, I was behind the wheel only once—when I drove too fast along Sunset Boulevard. I slammed on the brakes to slow down when I approached a curve but it was too late and I crashed into a tree. The car was badly damaged and I had some bad cuts and bruises. Luckily, the only aftereffect was a more cautious attitude when I was driving again. I don’t think Ive exceeded the speed limit since then. At least I’ve tried not to.

FAN: You can tell your beloved husband to go and drown himself for all I care! After two years I finally got enough nerve to propose to my girl and what does she say? “What makes you think I’m going to marry you? You’re no Bob Wagner!” (Disgruntled fan, F. P.)

NATALIE: My husband is an expert swimmer.

FAN: I read an article the other day in a fan magazine which was titled something like Don’t Hi-Hat Your Fans, Natalie, and I became very upset about it. It accused you of being uncooperative and ungrateful to the fans and the press and a lot of other nasty things. If I were you, Natalie, I would tell them to go to the devil. Yes, I have to be that frank about it! I remember when you and Bob were first going together, and some of the fan magazines said you two would never be married; and then, when you got engaged, they said you should wait longer, and when you got married they said you waited too long! And now some claim it can’t last. If you ask me—I think they are nuts! (Rosemary Engle, Philadelphia, Pa.)

NATALIE: I agree.

FAN: You and Jimmy Dean used to be such close friends. Do you ever think of him now? (Tracey L., Wilmington, Del.)

NATALIE: Very often.

FAN: I understand that your studio wants to put you into a lot of films you don’t want to do and I think it’s a dirty shame. I’m proud that you are standing up for your own rights. If you ever run out of money and need funds, I’ll be glad, proud, to give you my savings of $112.50 any time you ask for them. And you can pay me back whenever you are able to do it, at no interest. OK? (J. L., N. Y., N. Y.)

NATALIE: Thank you for your pep talk, kindness, and address. Will it be cash, check, or money order? Seriously though. You are very sweet and it’s always wonderful to know you have a friend. Thanks.

FAN: My girlfriend read an interview in which you said that Marjorie Morningstar was your favorite role. The other day I read that your part as Monique in Kings Go Forth was your favorite. Which is right?. (Jack Stern, Chicago, Ill.)

NATALIE: It’s Monique.

FAN: You have such a perfect smile. Tell me honestly, do you wear caps on your teeth like Ann Blyth does? And how do you get your fingernails to grow so long? Any special diet? (Bee Farnsworth, Denver, Col.)

NATALIE: I don’t wear caps on my teeth. And I don’t use any special diet for my nails. They grow long during the week, but I usually break them on weekends when I pull the lines on board our boat. Then I let them grow again till I break them off once more the following weekend. It’s quite a merry-go-round.

FAN: Do you still experiment with hair coloring, and styles? (Betty McAuliffe, New York City)

NATALIE: I never experimented with the color of my hair, unless a role called for it. But I did and still do enjoy experimenting with new styles, although I never go to extremes.

FAN: Do you still have the same friends you had three years ago? (Howard B., Manchester, N. H.)

NATALIE: Yes—the same two, Nick Adams and Barbara Gould.

FAN: When I read stories about you a couple of years ago, you often mentioned the books you read. But I haven’t seen any reference to it in recent months. Don’t you have time to read anymore or did you just happen to stop talking about it? (J.K., Tyndall, S. D.)

NATALIE: People haven’t asked me about it lately. I read more than I did before—an average of five books a week—first of all because R.J. and I are growing tired of television, and secondly because we are looking for properties for our newly formed production company. So far we haven’t found anything we’ve liked well enough to buy. . . .

FAN: I don’t know if Hollywood is the most moral or most immoral place in the world, but every time I pick up a paper I read about another divorce. Does the work in pictures make people so insecure? Are the temptations so big out there? (F.R., Cedar Rapids, Iowa)

NATALIE: I’m not the right person to answer this, because I’m only interested in my life with R.J. and am not concerned with the rest of Hollywood. And we have a perfect marriage.

FAN: Why do you refuse to have pictures taken at home? We fans feel that we have a stake in your career because we’ve helped make you what you are today. So why do you want to shut us out now? I’m writing this because I like you, not because I’m mad at you. Let’s say, just confused. (M. S., Boston, Mass.)

NATALIE: I would like to repeat that I don’t want to shut out our fans, that I am grateful to them and always will be for what they have done for us, but I’m sure that you can understand—can’t you?

FAN: At twenty, you have a terrific career, a handsome husband, a Cadillac, a beautiful house, a butler and a pool. I’m happy for you because I think you deserve it. But tell me—what do you have to look forward to when you are twenty-nine? (F.N., Bronx, N. Y.)

NATALIE: More of the same—and children.


Bob will appear in LOVE AND WAR for 20th-Fox.