Natalie’s acting career started in the small town of Santa Rosa, California in 1943, after an introduction to director Irving Pichel led to a bit part in Happy Land and a Hollywood contract. In 1947, she captured the heart of America as the wide-eyed little girl in Miracle on 34th Street.
At age sixteen, with more than twenty films under her belt, Natalie landed the role of Judy opposite James Dean in the landmark 1955 drama Rebel Without a Cause, and bagged her first Academy Award nomination. From there, she would garner two more Oscar nominations (for Splendor in the Grass in 1961 and Love with the Proper Stranger in 1963), and win three Golden Globes, as well as being hailed as “groundbreaking” for her performance in Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice.
Natalie’s roles included comedies, musicals, and serious dramas as well as numerous television appearances. After her children were born, she focused more on the small screen, and won her final Golden Globe for the television mini-series From Here to Eternity with William Devane.
At the time of her passing in 1981, Natalie had performed in fifty-seven films and television programs, the last of which, Brainstorm, was released after her death, and also starred Christopher Walken. Natalie’s unfinished scenes were skillfully edited by director Douglas Trumbull, who dedicated the film to Natalie.