(AP) — For decades, it’s been one of Hollywood’s darkest rumors: A teen-age Natalie Wood was sexually assaulted by a top movie star more than twice her age when she met with him at a hotel in Los Angeles.
In a memoir coming out next week, Wood’s younger sister identifies the long-suspected assailant: Kirk Douglas.
“I remember that Natalie looked especially beautiful when Mom and I dropped her off that night at the Chateau Marmont entrance,” Lana Wood writes in “Little Sister,” alleging that the incident happened in the summer of 1955, around the time Natalie Wood was filming “The Searchers.” The meeting had been arranged by their mother, Maria Zakharenko, who thought that “many doors might be thrown open for her, with just a nod of his famous, handsome head on her behalf,” according to Lana Wood.
“It seemed like a long time passed before Natalie got back into the car and woke me up when she slammed the door shut,” she writes. “She looked awful. She was very disheveled and very upset, and she and Mom started urgently whispering to each other. I couldn’t really hear them or make out what they were saying. Something bad had apparently happened to my sister, but whatever it was, I was apparently too young to be told about it.”
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.”