NATALIE WOOD, American actress born (d. 1981) In addition to her numerous accomplishments as an actress, the teenaged Wood went on studio-arranged dates with actors. In 1956, one of these was Tab Hunter, seven years her senior, with whom she reportedly developed a genuine friendship. They would attend parties to promote the two films they co-starred in that year.

Wood biographer and Hollywood screenwriter, Gavin Lambert, also confirms that Wood had studio-arranged dates with Gay or bisexual actors, the first of which was Nick Adams. Hunter in his autobiography elaborates on how a Hollywood studio’s publicizing of a sham romance between two actors each under contract to it was a strategy to stimulate public desire for seeing that studio’s forthcoming films. According to Lambert, we have Natalie Wood to thank for one of the seminal plays about Gay culture. Wood supported playwright Mart Crowley in a manner that made it possible for him to write his play, The Boys in the Band.