Natasha Gregson Wagner
It has been practically 40 years because the demise of Hollywood star Natalie Wood, and her daughter Natasha Gregson Wagner has come to comprehend that she’s going to at all times miss her mother, irrespective of what number of years have handed.
“I used to be eleven when my mom died and this yr I will be 51,” Natasha tells PEOPLE. “You might be fifty and nonetheless miss your mother.”
Wooden, well-known for movies like Insurgent With out a Trigger (1955) and West Facet Story (1961), died on the age 43 in a drowning accident on Nov. 29, 1981, whereas on a ship journey to Catalina Island accompanied by husband Robert Wagner and actor Christopher Walken, with whom she was costarring in a movie. Within the years that adopted, the questions surrounding what occurred that evening eclipsed a lot of Wooden’s story, her life and her physique of labor.
Final yr, Natasha examined the occasions main as much as her mom’s demise as a part of a larger exploration into her life in her memoir More Than Love, newly out in paperback, and the HBO documentary What Remains Behind. “I really feel like I did the correct factor phrases of attempting to reestablish the narrative of who she was,” Natasha says. “Now I am a voice that must be taken severely relating to her life.”
“I wanted to put in writing the e-book and declare my very own story, my insecurities, my grief, my grieving course of,” says Natasha, the daughter of Wooden and her second husband producer Richard Gregson. “I used to be prepared to speak about it. My Dad [Robert Wagner] was prepared to speak about it and every thing got here collectively.” (Natasha considers Gregson, who died in 2019, and Wagner, the person she calls “Daddy Wagner,” as her two fathers.)
It was solely lately that Natasha started to open up about her mother, first along with her perfume line, Natalie, impressed by the star’s signature gardenia fragrance. She continued on that path with the discharge of her memoir final yr. “I understand the movie star facet is the obvious facet,” she says, “however to me, the e-book is actually about moms and daughters. It is about grief and it is about discovering your self.”
Now that she’s helped reframe her mom’s story, Natasha displays, “I believe I have been on this course with out understanding it. I did not need individuals to tiptoe or for there to be hushed secrets and techniques. I wished it to be out within the open and I wished that for my daughter Clover (age 10.) I would like her to really feel nice delight and nice peace about my mother.”
Now she says, “I really feel at peace. Though my Daddy Wagner is a strong 91, not a day goes by that I do not know that he is 91 — and I believe my mother is joyful too. I believe she’s joyful that individuals have rediscovered her and that the response to the movie and the e-book was so constructive. There have been so many issues individuals did not find out about her. She was so courageous and forward of her time and such a enterprise girl and so emotionally articulate so I do really feel a number of peace, I actually do.”
The brand new trailer of the upcoming West Facet Story remake, directed by Steven Spielberg, was additionally bittersweet. “When Clover watched the trailer, she stated, ‘The place is Grandma Natalie?'” says Natasha. “I defined she’s not on this one and that another person [Rachel Zegler] will play Maria. I really feel that Steven is retaining the unique essence of the movie so possibly in the identical manner grief and pleasure can exist on the identical time once I consider my mother, possibly the outdated West Facet Story and the brand new West Facet Story may also exist collectively.”
This yr, as Mom’s Day approaches, Natasha says she thinks about Wooden “on daily basis.”
“Like an ocean, the ebbs and flows are completely different,” she says. “The concept of mothering my mother, I really feel consolation in that. The extra I mom, the extra I really feel prefer it heals me too and I really feel gratitude for the e-book, and the expertise and that I acquired to inform my story.”