The One Man Natalie Wood Couldn't Get

Categories: Film

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Marc Eliot's new book on Steve McQueen has fascinating observations not just about McQueen, but about his various co-stars, conquests, and lusty-eyed admirers.

It says that Natalie Wood -- Steve's partner in the 1963 anti-abortion romance Love With the Proper Stranger -- liked to find love with a whole lot of people, not all of them so proper.

Natalie truly enjoyed sleeping with her leading men, and when she worked with McQueen, "Wood kept trying to seduce Steve, all but drawing red arrows on the floor of the set from the soundstage to her dressing room."

But Steve didn't bite, says the book, partly because her husband, Robert Wagner, was a friend and former co-star.

"And Warren Beatty, her present lover, was as well.

"But even if Steve had wanted to, he couldn't.

"Throughout the production, [Steve's wife] Neile clung to Steve like a tick to a dog's neck."

Neile needn't have worried, concludes Eliot.

"There was no real heat between Wood and Steve.

"She had to rely on her feelings for Beatty to get herself into character!"

An interesting approach, but I guess it worked: Natalie got an Oscar nomination for her performance.


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17 comments
Mark
Mark

Her desire to bed every man she worked with probably stemmed from the same insecurity she experienced as an actress. Hard to believe, but the gorgeous and talented Natalie just wasn't sure of herself.

anonTWO
anonTWO

strange. McQueen had a thing for beautiful brunettes, each of his 3 wives were brunette and one more beautiful than the last.I've also read McQueen was bisexual.

Southern Dave
Southern Dave

 Watch it, Melinda 9. It's one of her best performances, McQueen is terrific as the musician, and the cast includes Tom Bosley, Edie Adams, Herschel Bernardi, and Harvey Lembeck. Shot in New York and has a realistic ambience that works for it, along with lotsa Noo Yawk actors in bits. Directed by Robert Mulligan, who would direct Wood again in "Inside Daisy Clover."

Melinda9
Melinda9

I love that title - Love with the Proper Stranger.

Southern Dave
Southern Dave

 Don't enjoy hearing Natalie Wood disparaged. She was a good to excellent actress, depending on the material, director and how much of her performance got on the screen. I recently watched the TV version of "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" and she's a breathtaking Maggie the Cat.

And there's a TV movie, "The Cracker Factory," late in her career, that's superb.

She was never less than thoroughly professional. Good for her for having an active love life.

And, like the great movie stars, something in her touched her audience. And it wasn't just physical beauty, though of course that helped.

swedishtoast
swedishtoast

". . . the 1963 anti-abortion romance Love With The Proper Stranger"

I actually wouldn't call "Love With The Proper Stranger" anti-abortion!  Nat's character decides to forego an abortion--but it's only because the abortionist is creepy and works in a filthy tenement apartment. 

Brad's Boyfriend
Brad's Boyfriend

Considering all the stories through the years, I thought it was RJ she could never "get."

PerryWinkleBrainFarts
PerryWinkleBrainFarts

NATALIE WOOD had to have been molested as a child.  The woman had no self respect and couldn't keep her legs closed.  It was outrageous how she paraded like a dog in heat.  Basically she slept with everything that would sleep with her.  How Robert Wagner did it, I will never know.  The man put up with a lot!

Ick
Ick

Finally someone told McQueen to buzz off. Lord knows Lee Remick went for it (though she always denied the affair). Steve's wife Neile got Lee canned from a possible film role years later because she felt her hubby had done it with Lee. (Steve had told her about it.)

rolph
rolph

She had to rely on her feelings for Warren, not her husband RJ??? Very interesting indeed.

Mark
Mark

Yeah, but that's how the film dealt with being anti abortion. Make it seem creepy and awful.

Movielover
Movielover

He was so beautiful in his youth.  I read in a bio of Nat's that she walked in on him (with a man).  That's a hot image.

mjm
mjm

 in Suzanne Finstad's excellent bio 'Natasha', she hints that Natalie might have been molested by her mother.

Movielover
Movielover

Judge much?  Maybe some women feel powerful enough (as a man might) to want to act on lust and embrace as much of the animal in them as they can attract and manage.  I don't hear you saying Warren Beatty had no self respect.  Some women who might rub lemons on their twats later wish they had fun instead when there was the opportunity.

Mark
Mark

Didn't she walk in on him and Christopher Walken and leap to her death?

Movielover
Movielover

It's picturesque to think it, but doubtful.  By then they were no longer kids and seeing hubby playing with another man's cock was probably old hat by then if she did see them.  I guess nobody knows exactly what happened or is saying if they do know.  Probably passed out and dropped overboard.

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