Natalie Wood

by ethnic on August 27, 2009

Birth Name: Natalie Zacharenko

Date of Birth: July 20, 1938

Place of Birth: San Francisco, California, United States

Date of Death: November 29, 1981

Place of Death: near Santa Catalina Island, California

Ethnicity: Russian, Ukrainian

Natalie Wood was an American actress. She received Academy Award nominations for her performances in Splendor in the Grass and Love with the Proper Stranger. She drowned near Santa Catalina Island, California, on November 29, 1981.

Natalie was of Russian and Ukrainian descent. Natalie’s father, Nikolai Stephanovich Zakharenko, was born in Vladivostok, Russia. Natalie’s mother, Maria Stepanovna (Zudilova/Zoodiloff), was born in Barnaul, Siberia, Russia, or in Tomsk, Russia. Her sister is actress and producer Lana Wood. Natalie was married to actor Robert Wagner, until her death. She was previously married to British producer Richard Gregson. Natalie had two children, actress Natasha Gregson Wagner, with Richard, and Courtney Brooke Wagner, with Robert.

Natalie’s paternal grandparents were Stephan Zakharenko and Eudoxie Sauchenko.

Natalie’s maternal grandfather was Stepan Ilich Zudilov/Zoodilov (the son of Ilya Semenovich Zudilov and Elisabeth).

Natalie’s maternal grandmother was Maria Andreevna Kuleva (the daughter of Andrey Alekseevich Kulev).

Sources: Genealogy of Natalie Wood –

profile by Tim

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

anna19 February 3, 2016 at 3:20 pm

is it actually possible that she has some serbian background, too? her father’s name was Nikolai Stepanovich Zakharenko and “Stepanovich” is actually a common last name in Serbia, I guess. Furthermore her maternal grandparent’s name was Stepan Ilich Zudilov “ilich” is also common in serbia. does anyone know anything?
but on the other hand it could also be ukranian/russian, since this area is slavic and therefore last names can be very similiar there… but I still wonder

bablah February 4, 2016 at 4:10 am

Ilich is a patronimic from Ilya. The middle name is always the indicator of fathers name not a family name. And I’d say there are more Russian people in Serbia, than vice versa.

anna19 February 4, 2016 at 3:08 pm

This makes sense, thanks for the reply. :)

Tyler October 25, 2015 at 4:37 pm

It’s creepy how she drowned.

ann September 29, 2015 at 2:56 pm

Stepan Ilich’s father was Ilya Semenovich Zudilov.
Maria Andreevna’s father was Andrey Alekseevich Kulev.

cwm85 August 22, 2015 at 11:37 am

Once I see this picture… she does look Russian. I don’t understand why people change their names. Be proud of who you are.

Alice August 25, 2015 at 7:04 am

It was a different era then and everyone had to have easy to pronounce “non-foreign” sounding names. Loads of people changed their names like Rita Hayworth, Sandra Dee, Kirk Douglas, Lauren Bacall, John Wayne to name a few. Even if they had normal sounding names they still changed them like Norma Jean Baker who became Marilyn Monroe.

Natalie was still called Natasha by her family though. It wasn’t that they weren’t proud of where they came from it was just what was done in earlier times.

andrew August 25, 2015 at 9:06 am
linaaa June 3, 2014 at 6:50 pm

She was so beautiful!

neiltennant June 3, 2018 at 3:47 am


ashash October 12, 2013 at 4:31 pm

She was not very pretty. Lauren Bacall was 100 times prettier.

follers October 12, 2013 at 5:05 pm

Lea Michele’s character on Glee claimed that Natalie Wood was Jewish. Sigh. They can’t get anything right.

ashash October 12, 2013 at 8:43 pm

I agree.

Alice June 4, 2014 at 4:07 am

Natalie was beautiful. Lauren was a stunner as well. Sometimes photos don’t do justice to people you have to see them on film.

J.J. June 4, 2014 at 7:23 am

agreed alice, everyone says my mother looks like natalie wood and jennifer beals and i didn’t believe my mum resembled jennifer beals from just looking at her photos but after watching flashdance it became quite evident

Alice June 4, 2014 at 9:16 am

Jennifer was gorgeous in Flashdance. Your mother must be a real looker J.J. to resemble Natalie and Jennifer.

APS October 12, 2013 at 8:40 am

Her paternal grandmother’s surname was not Zoodilov. It her mother’s last name: Maria Stepanovna Zudilova.
Natalie’s maternal grandparents were Stepan Ilich Zudilov (or Zoodilov) and Maria Andreevna Kuleva.

follers October 12, 2013 at 2:07 pm

You are probably right. But Natalie’s father’s California Death Records listing gives his own mother’s maiden name as “Zoodilova” (if you search for “Gurdin, Nicholas Stephen”).

sadie April 5, 2012 at 2:08 am

She was so beautiful! I loved her in Splendor in the Grass, Gypsy, Love with the Proper Stranger and most everything she did. I was so sad that she died. Natalie you will always be missed!! R.I.P.Angels are looking out for you.

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