From an early age even before Natalie Wood was a movie star she was fascinated by the Santa Monica Pier and by POP and came here with her family on a regular basis.
As a kid Natalie loved to take the then wildest ride on the Pier named the "Pike," from which she could never get enough of. In 1956 when Elvis Presley came out here to meet her, Natalie hooked Elvis on to the Pier, and he too was wild about it! Elvis loved it so much that he rented the entire Pier for Natalie and their friends and families for one night in December 1956. Elvis was 21 at the time and Natalie was 18 years old. In the 1955 award winning movie "Rebel Without a Cause," some of Natalie's scenes were shot at the Santa Monica High location where she excelled!
Natalie loved Santa Monica and came here often to see her good friend and multiple times co-star Dean Jagger. Her first movie with Mr. Jagger was named "Driftwood," & filmed in 1947 when Natalie was just 9 years old. Mr. Jagger just loved Natalie! In the years that I knew him Mr. Jagger spoke so lovingly about her and how she inspired him as a little girl. If one didn't know better, they would think that he was her father.
When it came to medical care and Natalie was in town, her place of choice for treatment was always St. John's Hospital. In 1961 she spent quite a while in hospital for a tonsilectomy and complications that followed. The good care resulted in a full recovery.
In 1965 Natalie was to film two more movies with many scenes shot at the Pier. "The Great Race was the first and the unforgettable "Daisy Clover" came next.
Natalie loved to shop in Santa Monica too and purchased her Mercedes autos right at Wilshire and 17th. She was generous to a fault in very many ways. Should a fan be respectful and ask for an autograph it was always granted.
Natalie Wood has been terribly missed in the 30 years since she left us. For a little girl barely over five feet tall and under one -hundred pounds she cast a giant shadow. Before reaching 25 years old she was nominated for an academy award 3 times and had many others credits in her column.
So today on her 74th. birthday we remember her happy spirit and for being the best of the best! We shared with her an enduring life-long love for Santa Monica, to which she added so many everlasting cherished memories.