Natalie Wood was sexually assaulted by Kirk Douglas, sister alleges
Category: News & PoliticsVia: perrie-halpern • one month ago • 40 comments
By: The Associated Press
According to Lana Wood, Natalie Wood did not discuss with her what happened until both were adults and Natalie, after describing being brought into Douglas' suite, told her sister, "And, uh ... he hurt me Lana."
Kirk Douglas speaks at the Cannes Film Festival on May 23, 1980, in France.AP file
"It was like an out-of-body experience. I was terrified, I was confused," Lana Wood remembers her saying. Lana, now 75 and around 8 when the alleged incident occurred, remembered her sister and their mother agreeing it would ruin Natalie's career to publicly accuse him.
"Suck it up" was Maria's advice, according to "Little Sister," much of which focuses on Natalie Wood's death in 1981, when her body was found off Catalina Island in California. Authorities initially ruled the death an accidental drowning, but that has changed after years of scrutiny and more witnesses emerging.
Wood's husband at the time, Robert Wagner, has been called a person of interest and Lana Wood is among those who hold him responsible for her death. Wagner has long denied any involvement in her death.
In her book, she recalls promising her sister not to discuss her being assaulted by Douglas, but rumors were so prevalent that when he died in 2020, at age 103, Natalie Wood's name trended along with his on Twitter. Lana Wood, whose own acting credits include "The Searchers" and the TV series "Peyton Place," believes enough has changed since her conversation with Natalie that she can now tell the whole story.
"With no one still around to protect, I'm sure she'll forgive me for finally breaking that promise," she wrote.
Douglas' son, actor Michael Douglas, said in a statement issued through his publicist: "May they both rest in peace."
Kirk Douglas, in his late 30s at the time of the alleged assault, was known for such films as "Spartacus," "The Bad and the Beautiful" and "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral." He also was one of the first major actors to form his own production company and a prominent liberal activist who has been widely credited with helping to break the Cold War blacklist against suspected Communists when he hired Dalton Trumbo to write "Spartacus" and listed him by name for the 1960 release. Douglas and his second wife, Anne, donated millions of dollars through the Douglas Foundation they co-founded in 1964 with a mission to "helping those who might not otherwise be able to help themselves."
Douglas received a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1981 and the Legion of Honor from France in 1985. He was given an honorary Oscar in 1996, when the film academy praised him as "a creative and moral force."
Douglas himself acknowledged that he was a womanizer and an unfaithful husband. Speaking to The Associated Press about Douglas in December 2016, less than a year before the movement caught on, the actress and dancer Neile Adams lightheartedly said of her friend, "You could not sit beside him without his hand crawling up your leg."
In his memoir "The Ragman's Son," published in 1988, Douglas writes briefly about Natalie Wood. He remembers driving home one night and stopping at a red light. The door of the car in front of him opened and "a pretty little girl wearing a suede jacket hopped out" and ran up to him.
"'Oh, Mr. Douglas, would you please sign my jacket?'" he remembers her saying. "As I obliged, the woman who was driving got out and introduced her. 'This is my daughter. She's in movies, too. Her name is Natalie Wood.' That was the first time I met Natalie. I saw her many times afterward, before she died in that cruel accident."
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