Lana Wood

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

Lana Wood
Publicity photo of Wood in the ABC television series Peyton Place, 1966
Svetlana Gurdin

(1946-03-01) March 1, 1946
OccupationActress, producer
Years active1947–present
  • Jack Wrather Jr.
    (m. 1962; annulled 1963)
  • Karl Brent
    (m. 1964; div. 1965)
  • Stephen Oliver
    (m. 1966; annulled 1966)
  • Stanley William Vogel
    (m. 1968; div. 1968)
  • Richard Smedley
    (m. 1972; div. 1976)
  • Allan Balter
    (m. 1979; div. 1980)
Children1 (with Smedley)[1]
FamilyNatalie Wood (sister)
Natasha Gregson Wagner (niece)
Courtney Brooke Wagner (niece)

Early life

Wood was born Svetlana Gurdin[2] to Russian immigrant parents, Nikolai Stephanovich Zakharenko (1912–1980) and Maria Stepanovna Zakharenko (née Zudilova, 1912–1996). They had each left Russia as child refugees with their parents following the Russian Civil War, and they grew up far from their homeland. Her father's family left Vladivostok after her grandfather, a chocolate-factory worker who joined the anti-Bolshevik civilian forces, was killed in a street fight in 1918; they settled in Vancouver, British Columbia, with their relatives, then moved to San Francisco. Lana's maternal grandfather owned soap and candle factories in Barnaul; he also left Russia with his family in 1918 after his eldest son was killed by the Red Army, and settled in a Russian community in Harbin, China.[5] Maria married there, and in 1928 had a daughter, Olga Tatulova, with her first husband,[6] who died in May 2015.[7]

When Nikolai and Maria married, she brought her daughter Olga to the household. The couple had two daughters together; the first was 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 after her director Irving Pichel's friend Sam Wood.[8]

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 in films in which Natalie appeared. Starting in the 1960s, her own career took off. After appearing on the short-lived drama series The Long, Hot Summer, she landed the role of Sandy Webber on the soap series Peyton Place. She played the role from 1966–67. In 1970, Wood was approached by Hugh Hefner and asked to pose for Playboy to which she 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 James Bond film, Diamonds Are Forever (1971).

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

Personal life

Wood has been married six times:

  1. Jack Wrather Jr. – (1962-1963; annulled when she was 16 years old)
  2. Karl Brent – (1964-1965; divorced)
  3. Stephen Oliver – (1966-1966; annulled)
  4. Dr. Stanley William Vogel (1968-1968; divorced)
  5. Richard Smedley – (1972-1976; divorced) one child, Evan Taylor Smedley Maldonado (August 11, 1974 – July 18, 2017), by whom she has three grandchildren.[9]
  6. Allan G. Balter (1979-1980; divorced)

TV and filmography


  • Wood, Lana (1984). Natalie Wood: A Memoir by Her Sister. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons. ISBN 0-399-12903-0.
  • Finstad, Suzanne (2002). Natasha: The Biography of Natalie Wood. New York: Three Rivers Press. ISBN 978-0609809570.


  1. Profile,, July 20, 1985.
  2. 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. Natalie Wood's Russian roots excerpets from Natalie Wood: A Life by Gavin Lambert, 2004
  6. "EXCLUSIVE: Natalie Wood's Sister Blames Captain Dennis Davern For Her Death". November 2011. Retrieved July 27, 2015.
  7. "Olga Viripaeff's Obituary on San Francisco Chronicle". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved January 24, 2016.
  8. Lana Wood, Natalie: A Memoir About Natalie Wood by Her Sister, p. 8
  9. "Late Star's Niece Dies After Massive Heart Attack". RadarOnLine.
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