“Really. She was divine to look at, and to photograph. She had that wonderful face, a great body, those amazing eyes — just a beautiful young woman, and a lot of fun to be around.”
Here, on the anniversary of her Nov. 29, 1981, death, LIFE.com presents a selection of photographs made by Bill Ray in 1963 — a time in the 25-year-old Wood’s career when she had made the leap from actress to genuine movie star and, more importantly, to formidable Hollywood player.
Caption from LIFE. “Gowned in satin, bathed by spots, fussed over by attendants, Natalie glows with the glamor that a true star, and the movies themselves, has never lost.”