In 1947, Natalie Wood got her first big role in “Miracle on 34th Street,” playing Susan Walker, a 9-year-old girl who believes that she has met the real Santa Claus. In 1981, she was found dead after she fell off a yacht and drown near Santa Catalina Island, California. In between those two incidents, she acted in more than 50 films for the small screen and the silver screen while earning three Oscar nominations. She played iconic roles in movies like “Rebel Without a Cause,” “Gypsy,” and “Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice.” Still, she apparently can’t get top billing in a headline about the reopening of the investigation into her death this week:
Yes, Natalie Wood was married to Robert Wagner, most recently known for his role as Number Two in the “Austin Powers” movies and his recurring role on “NCIS” as DiNozzo’s dad. For those folks with a passion for the 1980s, he was the leading man in the campy detective series “Hart to Hart” with Stephanie Powers. And according to the officials reopening the case, he is now a “person of interest” in Wood’s death, as he was on the yacht at the time and had a long and somewhat pained history with Wood.
That said, this headline demonstrates a point that guest blogger Tracy Everbach made earlier in the year when discussing the success of Olympic trap shooter Corey Codgell. Despite earning a bronze in the Olympics, she was referred to as the “wife of a (Chicago) Bears lineman” in media coverage.
Everbach’s point bears repeating here: When you write about women, write about their accomplishments, not their relationship to men.