Natalie Wood Was Sexually Assaulted by Kirk Douglas, Her Sister Alleges

In a memoir being released on Tuesday called “Little Sister,” Lana Wood, Natalie Wood’s sister, writes that Kirk Douglas sexually assaulted Natalie when she was a teenager, according to a report in the Guardian. The alleged assault took place in 1955 after Lana and their mother, Maria Zakharenko, dropped Natalie off at the Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles to meet with Douglas.

Kirk Douglas died in February 2020 at age 103.

His son Michael did not respond to Variety’s request for comment. But to the Guardian, Michael Douglas’ publicist issued a statement: “May they both rest in peace.”

Variety has not yet obtained a copy of “Little Sister.” But in the Guardian’s report, Wood writes: “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. 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.”

Quoting from the memoir, the Guardian wrote that Natalie said to Lana, “And, uh … he hurt me Lana.” Lana writes in “Little Sister” that the situation ” was like an out-of-body experience. I was terrified, I was confused.” According to the book, their mother told Natalie to “Suck it up.”

The alleged sexual assault has been a rumor for years. So much so, as the Guardian points out, that when Douglas died in 2020, Natalie Wood’s name trended on Twitter alongside his.

In Suzanne Finstad’s biography of Wood, “Natalie Wood: The Complete Biography,” which was reissued in March 2020, she also wrote about Wood being raped, without naming her assailant. Finstad refers to the rapist as one of Wood’s “childhood idols, a powerful, married movie star more than twenty years older than she.”

The Finstad book goes on to detail the alleged rape, saying it was violent — “so violent she bled” — and “verbally abusive.” It ended with the movie star threatening her: “If you tell anyone, it’ll be the last thing you do.”

The 2020 HBO documentary “Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind,” produced by Natasha Gregson Wagner, the oldest of Natalie Wood’s three daughters, was critical of Lana Wood. Friends and family members of Natalie asserted that Lana has exploited her sister’s death with sensational allegations about the boating accident that took her life.

In “Little Sister,” Lana — who is 75 — writes that she promised Natalie that she wouldn’t reveal the rape, but that she thinks things have changed now.

“With no one still around to protect, I’m sure she’ll forgive me for finally breaking that promise,” Wood writes.

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