Who is Natalie Wood and why is she such a hot topic right now? Boys and girls gather round for story time. Natalie was an actress who started at the tender young age of 4 and became a famous child actress for films like Miracle on 34th Street. She went on to be a success working along huge names like James Dean in Rebel Without A Cause. Then, November 29th, 1981, Wood drowned near Santa Catalina Island, California. Here we are 30 years later and the case has now been reopened by L.A. authorities with new information about the case.