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Details of the photo

  • Natalie presides over her cabinet. From left to right: lawyer Greg Bautzer, agent Joe Schoenfeld, agent Norman Brokaw, public relations representative Henry Rogers, public relations representative Dave Resnick, business manager Andy Maree, lawyer Roger Davis, lawyer Jim Cohen and agent Abe Lastfogel
  • Photo of Natalie Wood taken in 1963 for Life Magazine by acclaimed photographer, Bill Ray.
  • Limited run. Available in March for Women’s History Month.Sold exclusively at nataliefragrance.com

SPECS for tote

  • 12 oz./yd² (US), 20 oz/L yd (CA), 100% heavy cotton canvas
  • Large main compartment with zippered closure
  • Inside zippered flap pouch pocket
  • 25″ self-fabric handles
  • 11″ handle drop.

Here, LIFE.com presents a selection of photographs made by Bill Ray in 1963 a time in the 25-year-old Wood’s career when she had made the leap from actress to genuine movie star and, more importantly, to formidable Hollywood player. Many of the photos in this gallery were not originally published in LIFE, but appear in Ray’s book, My Life in Photography.

For Ray, the most striking memory of the several weeks that he spent with Wood and her showbiz cohorts is, unsurprisingly, Wood herself or, more specifically, her singular beauty.

“She was divine,” Ray told LIFE.com. “Really. She was divine to look at, and to photograph. She had that wonderful face, a great body, those amazing eyes just a beautiful young woman, and a lot of fun to be around.”

For the Dec. 20, 1963, issue of LIFE that focused wholly on the movies, Ray scored the choice, high-profile feature on Wood, which was the only piece in the issue that was devoted to a single actor or actress. “This was big stuff,” he says today of the assignment. “You know, back then photographers were never part of the meetings where these sort of assignment decisions were made, so to get the call for something of this magnitude I was thrilled.”

“Natalie Wood,” observed a prominent Hollywood director, … “has a stranglehold on every young leading-lady part in town. If a role calls for a woman between 15 and 30, you automatically think of her.”

This is exactly what Natalie has worked 21 years to get. She has battled producers and top studio heads with unyielding ferocity to win the roles she wants. Today, before she will do a picture, she demands and gets total approval of script, director, leading man, all actors, everybody clear down to make-up and wardrobe people

 
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