Splendour in the Grass

What though the radiance which was once so bright

Be now for ever taken from my sight,

Though nothing can bring back the hour

Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;

We will grieve not, rather find

Strength in what remains behind… *

Ah, the illustrious Natalie Wood.

There’s been a lot of controversy surrounding Natalie Wood over the years. Sadly, it’s been in relation to how she died—was it an accidental drowning or was it by murder? It’s been thirty years since that sensational incident, yet for some reason the nature of her story continues to tug at our hearts.

Could it be because of her untimely death? Without a doubt she was one of the most beautiful women of her time. There was something about the sparkle in her eyes when she smiled that would light up the screen while her presence would dominate her contemporaries. She appeared in over 50 films altogether and received 3 Oscar nominations before reaching the age of 25.

Some of Natalie Wood’s blockbuster hits include:

“Rebel Without a Cause” opposite James Dean.

“West Side Story” which was adapted from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

“Splendor in the Grass” alongside Warren Beatty.

Many of us were much too young to see these great films when they were first released, let alone know who she was. But if you are looking for something new to discover from the archives, these films definitely stand up to the test of time.

It’s disheartening to think of that evening and the conditions that brought about what may have happened. Natalie, her husband Robert Wagner along with their friend and costar Christopher Walken had dined togther that night on the Island of Catalina.

There was certainly plenty of drinking taking place, both on dry land and on their yacht named the Splendor. Then an argument had ensued between husband and wife. It’s been said that Natalie retired for the night and that was the last time her husband Robert Wagner and Christopher Walken had reported to’ve seen her. The very next morning, shortly after sunrise, her body was found by search and rescue helicopters floating face down not 200 yards from their boat.

Now this is starting to sound like a Murder Mystery/Suspense/Thriller.

Where is that Barry Crowther? Come back Barry, come back!

And after all this time police have decided to reopen the investigation with new evidence that suggests Natalie’s own husband Robert Wagner might be involved in this case. Nooo, say it isn’t so. He and Natalie were in the tenth year of their second marriage together. Why in the world would he want her to die?

Well that would end this story with a serious twist!

Though circumstances surrounding Natalie Wood’s death have been one of Hollywood’s many enduring mysteries, let us focus on the positive things about Natalie’s life—her timeless beauty and many talents that will forever endure on the silver screen.

Thanks to the human heart by which we live,

Thanks to its tenderness, its joys, and fears,

To me the meanest flower that blows can give

Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.

*The poem by William Wordsworth that inspired the film for which this post was named.

So what do you think? Have you ever watched a Natalie Wood’s film? If so, which one would you choose as your favorite? Do you enjoy watching some of the classics? And how many of you think that she was murdered or perhaps think that things are better off left unsaid?

If you enjoyed this post, I encourage you to follow by email for future posts.

Thank you for your many thoughts and kind comments everyone!


A big shout out to Kristen Lamb and all my new WANA classmates and friends. And a big thanks to all others that may grace my presence by visiting this post. Take care and make it a great day!

20 thoughts on “Splendour in the Grass

    1. Karen Post author

      Well thank you so much Jenny! Wasn’t she gorgeous? And sultry, there’s a word for ya. Yes, she was indeed. It was a pleasure writing about her. She was special. 🙂

  1. Lena Corazon

    I still haven’t seen Splendor in the Grass, but I have seen many of Natalie Wood’s other movies. Rebel Without a Cause and West Side Story are two of my favorites, and the work that she did when she was a child was just wonderful (Miracle on 34th Street never gets old). She was such a beautiful and amazingly talented woman, and I’m grateful that so many of her films are still around for us to enjoy.
    Lena Corazon recently posted..Fiction Friday: Reflections of a Novel-Writing SociologistMy Profile

    1. Karen Post author

      Hi Lena, you’re so sweet! Thanks so much for coming to visit my blog with all the stuff you’ve got going on girl. But I love that you are into the old classics. I don’t watch all of it, but Natalie Wood was soo talented and gorgeous which goes without saying. But her films are amazing. 🙂

    1. Karen Post author

      Thanks for bringing that out Louise. Why after all these years does he speak out about this now? It doesn’t make sense. And we just move on. Oh well. Thanks for dropping by! 🙂

  2. Marcy Kennedy

    If I have my timeline correct, she died before I was even born, and I didn’t realize how prolific an actress she was until speculation about her death started again. I’m going to hope that her death was an accident because I find it incredibly sad when I hear of someone who was murdered by a loved one, someone who was supposed to care for and protect them. And I’m going to have to check out some of her movies now that they come so highly recommended.
    Marcy Kennedy recently posted..Behind the Scenes: Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor BeansMy Profile

    1. Karen Post author

      Hi Marcy! Natalie Wood died in 1981. So yes if you were born after that you would not remember her. And that was one of the reasons why I wrote this post. Her performances on screen were amazing! She was one of the best actresses of her time. Her fims are classics and so worth watching. I’m glad I could introduce you to her Marcy. Thank you for your comment! 🙂

  3. Lynn Kelley

    I loved Natalie Wood. It was such a shock when she died. It’s hard to believe it’s been 30 years. I think my favorite is Splendor in the Grass, and this post is so beautifully done, Karen. I had thought about doing a post on Natalie, but I couldn’t have done such a wonderful post like this. Kudos to you. I think her most famous movie is West Side Story, and I love that one, too, but Splendor in the Grass has stayed with me through the years. I don’t remember Rebel Without a Cause. I’ll have to keep an eye out for that. Another favorite Natalie Wood movie of mine is Miracle on 34th Street. It’s a wonderful Christmas movie, and she was a darling little girl when she starred in it!
    Lynn Kelley recently posted..Parenting Plights & Delights – Holiday Shopping With KidsMy Profile

    1. Karen Post author

      I am soo sorry Lynn. You know I understand your frustration. These themes drive me crazy. You were thrown into spam. And you’ve commented before. I don’t get it. Thank you for your thoughts on Spendor in the Grass. That has got to be one of my favorites too. It’s always stayed with me. A very moving film. And thank you for your compliment Lynn. This post was the most dificult post to write. It took me forever. I guess I just wanted to do it the justice that it deserved. The death of Natalie Wood was a tragedy. She died way too soon. Thanks Lynn! 🙂

    1. Karen Post author

      Yes she certainly was gorgeous Fabio! I think any women could only hope to look like her. That shot of her was one of the best. I’m so glad you liked Slendor in the Grass! It’s always been one of my very favorites. As I told Lynn, it’s a very moving film. There was another film that I enjoyed that I left out. It’s called, “Love with a Perfect Stranger” with Steve McQueen. Have you seen it? You’ll love it if you liked Splendor. Thanks Fabio for all your wonderful comments!!!!! 🙂

    1. Karen Post author

      Well hey there the infamous Natalie Wood, I mean Hartford! LOL!!!! You have not seen any of her movies? Are you crazy? Well, don’t answer that. LoL!!! You and Hubby has got to watch at least Spendor in the Grass. And there is another one of her movies that I just recomended to Fabio. “Love with a Perfect Stranger”. Both a must see girl!!! On one of those famous snowy days you all have, get the popcorn out and RENTone of these films. You won’t be sorry. And you, her namesake for cying out loud. I see a blog in your future!!! 🙂

  4. Tim L O'Brien

    Thanks for the post Karen. I read recently that police were still investigating her death. You wonder what new clues could arise this many years later. Looking at her photo here, you forget how beautiful she was. I think the first movie I saw her in was Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice. Rebel was a favorite as well, and who can forget her role as little Susan Walker in Miracle on 34th Street?
    Tim L O’Brien recently posted..Making a List…Naughty or Nice – You DecideMy Profile

    1. Karen Post author

      Thanks Tim. You have no idea how hard it was to write this. The end of her life was such a tragedy and yes, she was so beautiful and talented. And I just wanted to give her story the justice it deserved. I never saw Bob, Ted, Carol and Alice. I forgot about that one. Splendor in the Grass was my fav. But then I bet you’d never guess. LOL!!! Did you know that she was seven when she made Miracle on 34th Street? And she just got better with every film. There was so much I had wanted to include, but then it would’ve been like reading a book. Glad you enjoyed it. 🙂

    1. Karen Post author

      Oh Coleen, you are like Natalie Hartford. You must rent one of her films. She was an amazing Actress. Seriously, you won’t be sorry. And yes, it is insame to think that Robert Wagner would ever want to see his precious Natalie dead. What? That’s about the craziest thing I’ve ever heard. They knew each other since she was ten and he was eighteen. They were married twice, the last time for almost ten years. She was the love of his life. I don’t get it. Thanks Coleen for dropping by! 🙂


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