Lana Wood

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Lana Wood
Lana Wood - 1966.jpg
Publicity photo of Wood in the ABC television series Peyton Place, 1966.
Born Svetlana Gurdin
(1946-03-01) March 1, 1946 (age 70)
Santa Monica, California, U.S.
Occupation Actress, producer
Years active 1947–present
Spouse(s) Jack Wrather, Jr. (m. 1962; annulled)
Karl Brent (m. 1965–66)
Steve Oliver (m. 1967)
Richard Smedley (m. 1973–75)
Allan Balter (m. 1978-81)
Children Evan Smedley (b. 1974)[1]
Family Natalie Wood (sister)
Natasha Gregson Wagner (niece)

Lana Wood (born Svetlana Gurdin; March 1, 1946)[2] is an American actress[3] and producer.[4] She is best known for her role as Plenty O'Toole in the 1971 James Bond film, Diamonds Are Forever. Her elder sister was film star Natalie Wood.

Early life[edit]

Wood was born Svetlana Gurdin[2] to Russian immigrant parents, Nikolai and Maria Zakharenko. They had each left Russia as child refugees with their parents after the Russian Revolution, and grew up far from their homeland. Her father's family settled in Vancouver, British Columbia. After her maternal grandfather died in street fighting in 1918, Lana's grandmother took Maria and her siblings as refugees out of the country, settling in a Russian community in Harbin, China.

Maria married there and had a daughter Olga Viripaeff with her first husband. Maria immigrated to Vancouver with her child.[5] who died in May 2015.[6]

When Nikolai and Maria married, she brought her daughter Olga to the household. The couple also had two daughters together: the first was named Natalia, known as "Natasha," the Russian diminutive. The family settled in Santa Monica, California, near Hollywood and changed their surname to Gurdin. Svetlana, known as "Lana," was born there.

Her parents changed the surname of her elder sister, Natalie to "Wood," after she started her acting career as a child. She was named for director Sam Wood.

When Lana made her film debut in The Searchers (1956), her mother was asked under what last name Lana should be credited. Maria agreed to use "Wood" for Lana, building on Natalie's recognized work.


In her early career, Wood usually played bit parts in films in which Natalie appeared. Starting in the 1960s, her own career took off. After appearing in the short-lived drama series The Long, Hot Summer, she landed the role of Sandy Webber in the soap series Peyton Place. She played the role from 1966–67. In 1970, Wood was approached to pose for Playboy by Hugh Hefner and agreed. The Playboy pictures appeared in the April 1971 issue, along with Wood's poetry. She was cast as a Bond girl, "Plenty O'Toole", in the 1971 James Bond film, Diamonds Are Forever.

Wood has more than 20 other films and over 300 television shows to her credit, including The Fugitive, Bonanza, Mission: Impossible, Police Story, Starsky and Hutch, Nero Wolfe, Fantasy Island, and Capitol. After appearing in the horror film Demon Rage (1982), she retired from acting, concentrating on her career as a producer, but has since returned to acting in a number of low-budget films since 2008. Lana is a character in the 2009 Steve Alten book Meg: Hell's Aquarium. Wood wrote a memoir, Natalie, A Memoir by Her Sister, in 1984.

Personal life[edit]

Wood has been married five times:

  1. Jack Wrather, Jr. – (1962; annulled when she was 16 years old)
  2. Karl Brent – (1965–1966; divorced)
  3. Stephen Oliver – (1967; divorced)
  4. Richard Smedley – (1973–1975; divorced); 1 child, Evan (born August 11, 1974), by whom she has three grandchildren.
  5. Allan Balter – (1978–1981; divorced)

TV and filmography[edit]



  1. ^ Profile,, July 20, 1985.Lana Wood,, retrieved March 21, 2016.
  2. ^ a b Birth name per; accessed June 24, 2015.
  3. ^ Paul, Louis (2008). "Lana Wood". Tales From the Cult Film Trenches; Interviews with 36 Actors from Horror, Science Fiction and Exploitation Cinema. Detroit: Wayne State University Press. pp. 300–306. ISBN 978-0-7864-2994-3. 
  4. ^ "Lana Wood". The New York Times. 
  5. ^ "EXCLUSIVE: Natalie Wood's Sister Blames Captain Dennis Davern For Her Death". November 2011. Retrieved July 27, 2015. 
  6. ^ "Olga Viripaeff's Obituary on San Francisco Chronicle". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2016-01-24. 

External links[edit]