A Wooden Matryoshka Doll
Natalie Wood’s life is like a wooden matryoshka doll. When you open one doll, you find another one inside, over and over again. People who think they know Wood’s sparkling life are often taken back by the details and reality of her childhood. The child actress was born Natalia Nikolaevna Zakharenko to Russian immigrants in July 1938 in San Francisco, California.
Her father, Nikolai, had a drinking problem and often terrorized his family with his alcohol-fueled outbursts. Maria, her mother, was a stage mom whose childhood dream was to become an actress or ballet dancer. Maria lived vicariously through Natalie while counting on her to become the breadwinner of the family.