Born in San Francisco to Russian immigrant parents, Wood began her career in film as a child and became a successful Hollywood star as a young adult, receiving three Academy Award nominations before she turned 25 years old. She began acting in films at the age of four and, at age eight, was given a co-starring role in the 1947 classic Christmas film Miracle on 34th Street. As a teenager, she earned a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Rebel Without a Cause (1955). She starred in the musical films West Side Story (1961) and Gypsy (1962), and received Academy Award for Best Actress nominations for her performances in Splendor in the Grass (1961) and Love with the Proper Stranger (1963). Her career continued with films such as Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969).