Following the death of actor Kirk Douglas at 103, many aspects of the legendary actor’s career are now being revisited. In addition to remembrances of his work on screen, though, some are also revisiting an allegation that was made against the actor in the waning days of his life that relates to actress Natalie Wood.
Kirk Douglas is accused of raping Natalie Wood when she was a teenager.
In 2012, a Gawker article alleged that Kirk had raped Natalie when she was just 16 years old. The allegation came from a commenter who many believed to be actor Robert Downey Jr. In the comment, the source claimed that Kirk had raped Natalie decades ago in a hotel room and then laughed at her afterward.
Because of the detail of his story and his existing reputation, many felt the allegation might be credible.
The initial comment also suggested that Natalie had a consensual affair with an older director in order to earn edgier parts. From there, many actors and directors assumed that Natalie would be willing to sleep with anyone, but Kirk took things too far. The commenter claimed that the actor violently beat her and raped her repeatedly, shouting obscenities as he did so.
Natalie Wood’s sister confirmed the rape allegations.
Without any additional accounts, the commenter’s story may have seemed less than credible. However, in 2018, Natalie's sister Lana Wood confirmed to The New York Times that she had been raped at a young age by a Hollywood actor who was twice as old as she was.
According to Natalie’s sister, the rape took place at the Chateau Marmont Hotel in Los Angeles. It was supposed to be an audition following her success in Rebel Without a Cause.
When Natalie emerged from the hotel hysterical and claimed that she had been raped, her mother instructed her to keep the story a secret. Natalie, who died in a mysterious 1981 accident that’s still unresolved, went on to have a long career in Hollywood.
Natalie Wood never spoke about the rape before her death.
Although Lana confirmed the account after her death, Natalie never spoke about the allegation herself. Because of her silence on the matter, it’s impossible to say for sure exactly who raped her, or why she chose to keep it a secret.
Kirk never publicly addressed the allegations, either. Even as many in Hollywood and elsewhere mourned the actor’s loss and remembered his many iconic roles, others were paying tribute to Natalie, and reminding their followers of the allegations that had been made against the actor.
While the exact nature of the relationship between Natalie and Kirk may never be clear, fans of Natalie did not want her legacy to be erased as fans of Kirk paid tribute to him.
He may have been a great actor, but the allegations surrounding Natalie will always hang over his head.