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Ever since 1955 when the incident allegedly took place, the assault has been one of Tinsel Town’s darkest rumours. Now Wood’s younger sister Lana claims it was legendary star Douglas who was behind the attack. In her new book entitled Little Sister, which is out next week, Lana writes: “I remember that Natalie looked especially beautiful when Mom and I dropped her off that night at the Chateau Marmont entrance.”
The incident is said to have happened in the summer of 1955 while the young actress was filming The Searchers. She turned 17 in July of that year. Douglas was 38 at the time.
Lana goes on to explain their mother, Maria Zakharenko, had arranged the meeting with Spartacus star Douglas, believing the Hollywood heavyweight would further Natalie’s career.
She writes their mother hoped “many doors might be thrown open for her, with just a nod of his famous, handsome head on her behalf”.
Describing the incident, Lana, who was eight at the time, adds: “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 dishevelled 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 actually saying. Something bad had apparently happened to my sister, but whatever it was, I was apparently too young to be told about it.”
According to Lana, it was not until she entered adulthood that Natalie, who died in November 1981 aged 43, told her what had happened. Describing being brought into Douglas’s suite, she told her: “He hurt me Lana. It was like an out-of-body experience. I was terrified, I was confused.”
Lana, now 75, remembered her sister and their mother agreeing it would ruin Natalie’s career to publicly accuse Douglas. “Suck it up” was their mum’s advice, according to the book.
Lana recalls promising her sister she would not discuss her being allegedly assaulted by Douglas.
But following the iconic actor’s death last year, aged 103, Natalie Wood’s name trended along with his on Twitter.
“With no one still around to protect, I’m sure she’ll forgive me for finally breaking that promise,” Lana writes.
Responding to the book’s claims, Douglas’s son, actor Michael, said in a statement: “May they both rest in peace.”
Much of the book focuses on Natalie’s death after she drowned in mysterious circumstances while on a weekend boat trip off the coast of California.
A medical examiner initially ruled the death an accidental drowning, but that has changed after years of scrutiny and more witnesses emerging.
Wood’s husband at the time, actor Robert Wagner, now 91, who was on the yacht, has been called a person of interest. Lana is among several who hold him responsible for the death of Natalie.
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