When Natalie Wood died from accidental drowning in November of 1981, it was a tragedy. Wood, who was then in her early 40s, was at the height of her power as a performer. For her fans, it was a loss. For her eldest daughter, Natasha Gregson Wagner, it was a life-changing event.
In 2020, Gregson Wagner published her memoir, More Than Love: An Intimate Portrait of My Mother, Natalie Wood. Starting with her mother’s early years as a child actor, she takes us through Wood’s career, her marriages, her untimely passing, and growing up in the shadow of a parent who was taken far too soon. Gregson Wagner was raised after her mother’s death by her stepfather, Robert Wagner, with input from her birth father, Richard Gregson. Though she grew up to become a functioning adult and successful actress in her own right, the loss of her mother left a void that can never be filled.
The first thing I wanted to do after I finished reading the book was to call my own mother. It’s a story of heartbreak, growing up, and making peace with the past. I absolutely loved this book. Though I have yet to experience what Gregson Wagner went through (and I hope to not have to for many years), the emotion radiated from the pages. If I could have, I would have given her a hug and a shoulder to cry on.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
More Than Love: An Intimate Portrait of My Mother, Natalie Wood is available wherever books are sold.