Natalie Wood: The Schroon Lake Connection

Picture: Natalie Wood in Schroon Lake, Summer 1957, with co-star Carolyn Jones, in a scene from Marjorie Morningstar

Actress Natalie Wood made headlines here in Schroon Lake in the summer of 1957 when she had the leading role in the film Marjorie Morningstar.

At the time, the then 19-year-old had recently started dating actor Robert Wagner, who came here to Schroon to be with her.

The couple would eventually marry, divorce and remarry, before her tragic death in November 1981, off the coast of Catalina Island, in California. The couple were onboard their yacht, Splendour, with actor Christopher Walken and the yacht’s captain, Dennis Davern. Natalie’s body was found floating in the water. Her death was ruled an accidental drowning.

Today, 30 years after her death, Natalie is back in the headlines again. The LA County Sheriff’s Department announced it was re-opening the case after Captain Davern recently revealed new details about what happened onboard that night to the CBS News magazine program “48 Hours”, which will broadcast a special report Saturday, November 19. Here is a preview:

You can read more about Schroon Lake's leading role in the film after the jump.

It was more than 54 years ago Hollywood came here to Schroon Lake when Marjorie Morningstar was filmed at Scaroon Manor and Camp Cayuga. The film also starred Gene Kelly and comedy actor Ed Wynn.

Based on the best selling book by Herman Wouck, the film tells the story of how Wood’s character --  a young Jewish camp counselor --  falls in love with Gene Kelly’s Noel Airman, an older romantic heart-throb.

The production here in Schroon made local headlines. But what grabbed the attention of the nation’s gossip writers was the real life off screen romance Wood was having with Robert Wagner. When filming began here that summer, the couple had only recently began dating.

And according to author and historian Ann Breen Metcalf, Wagner spent many a summer day here on Schroon Lake keeping himself busy while Natalie was filming.

The cast and staff enjoyed the charms of Scaroon Manor and the Adirondacks. Robert Wagner spent much of his time water-skiing; he had come to the hotel specially to court Natalie Wood, and when she was working he had little else to do. Wood enjoyed swimming and tennis.

You can read more of Metcalf's story -- On The Set With Marjorie Morningstar -- here

Do you have memories when Hollywood came to Schroon? Share them with us in comments.