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Kirk Douglas raped 16-year-old Natalie Wood, says her sister Lana Wood in new memoir

While describing the assault by Kirk Douglas that she endured as a minor, Natalie Wood had told her younger sister, 'And, uh ... he hurt me, Lana'
Natalie Wood was raped by Kirk Douglas, claims Lana Wood (Getty Images/ Hulton Archive)
Natalie Wood was raped by Kirk Douglas, claims Lana Wood (Getty Images/ Hulton Archive)

Younger sister of doomed actress Natalie Wood has disclosed that the Hollywood legend Kirk Douglas sexually assaulted Natalie when she was just 16. Lana Wood made the shocking revelation in her upcoming memoir — ‘Little Sister: My Investigation into the Mysterious Death of Natalie Wood’ — which will be released on November 9.

In the book, Lana has accused Douglas, who was 39 in 1955, of raping her elder sister at the famed Chateau Marmont. She also revealed that the ‘Splendor in the Grass’ actress did not tell her about the assault until both were adults. While describing the assault she endured as a minor, Natalie had told her sister, “And, uh ... he hurt me, Lana.”


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Former child actress, American film star Natalie Wood (1938 - 1981). (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

According to Lana, her elder sister was dropped off at the Chateau Marmont by their mother Maria Zakharenko, who thought “many doors might be thrown open for her, with just a nod of his famous, handsome head on her behalf”. However, when Natalie returned looking “disheveled” and “upset”, she was advised by their mother to “suck it up”. Lana, now 75, was only eight when the assault happened. She has written in her book that her mother and sister did not reveal the true face of the ‘Lust for Life’ actor at the time because they thought it would ruin Natalie’s career in Hollywood.

Actor Kirk Douglas attends the SBIFF's 2012 Kirk Douglas Award For Excellence In Film during the Santa Barbara Film Festival on December 8, 2012 in Goleta, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Lana states in the memoir, “I remember that Natalie looked especially beautiful when Mom and I dropped her off that night at the Chateau Marmont entrance. 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 looked awful. She was very disheveled and very upset, and she and Mom started urgently whispering to each other,” before adding, “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.”

However, this was not the first time Douglas has been accused of something that serious. In 2016, actress Neile Adams said about him that “You could not sit beside him without his hand crawling up your leg.” Even ‘The Vikings’ star, who died in February 2020 at the age of 103, had also once admitted that he was a womanizer and a disloyal husband.

Actor Kirk Douglas attends the last 70mm film screening of "Spartacus" at AMPAS Samuel Goldwyn Theater on August 13, 2012 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

In 1988, Douglas’ memoir ‘The Ragman's Son’ was released in which he briefly talked about Natalie. He wrote that the ‘Rebel Without a Cause’ star once met him while he was driving home one night. “‘Oh, Mr. Douglas, would you please sign my jacket?’” Douglas recalled Natalie telling him in the book. He continued, “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.”

Actress Natalie Wood and guest walking up a staircase, at the premiere of the film 'The Bible: In The Beginning', London, October 7th 1966. (Photo by Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Natalie died unexpectedly at the age of 43 during a boating trip in 1981 when her body was found floating in the waters off Santa Catalina Island. Firstly, her death was declared an accidental drowning, however, eventually, things changed. When Natalie died, her actor-husband Robert Wagner and actor Christopher Walken were with her. Wagner has been named a person of interest in the case and Lana believes he’s responsible for her untimely death.