Natalie Campana Trundy Jacobs Lopez is an American actress from Boston, Massachusetts and currently residing in Los Angeles, California. Born to an Italian mother and an Irish father, Natalie Trundy made her TV acting debut at the age of eleven playing the part of Red Riding Hood in a Fred Waring live broadcast. When she was thirteen years old, complete with high heels and make-up, she marched into the office of Broadway impressario F. Hugh Herbert and landed the part of a sixteen year-old in his play A Girl Can Tell, opposite Janet Blair. The next year she played a girl of seventeen in the Broadway show By The Beautiful Sea, alongside Shirley Booth. Natalie went on to a succession of Broadway appearances during her teens, as well as featuring in numerous television commercials and live broadcasts. Aside from it being her first feature movie, the production of The Monte Carlo Story (1957) was a very significant occasion for the attractive, petite 5' 5" star. It was during filming in Rome in the Summer of 1956 that Natalie met her future husband (and subsequent employer) Arthur P. Jacobs, the PR agent of her co-star Marlene Dietrich. Enchanted by the teenage actress, but almost twenty years her senior, Jacobs told her mother, "When she grows up, I'm going to marry her". However, the two went their separate ways after shooting was completed. A dispute between Dietrich and Trundy on-set caused a minor stir in the press at the time, but raised the young actress' profile. She was named New York 'Debutante of the Year' in 1958, and the New York Post printed a headline story about her on each of five consecutive days describing her life and activities. In a whirlwind of publicity, she was romantically linked to Arthur MacArthur (son of General Douglas MacArthur), Jorge Batista (son of Cuban dictator General Fulgencia Batista), Alan Ladd jr., South American horse breeder Eduardo Ross, Merv Griffin and Aga Khan IV, and was briefly married to Charles H. Hirshon from September 1959 to February 1960. Trundy continued to feature in gossip columns when dating actors Gustavo Rojo and Bob Evans,[1] and has claimed that she was attending a Henry Mancini Orchestra concert in the Hollywood Bowl with Arthur P. Jacobs on August 4th, 1962, when he heard the news that his star client Marilyn Monroe had died.[2] During 1963 she was reported to be on the verge of an engagement to Panamanian millionaire Maximilian Huertematte, jr.[1]

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Natalie Trundy with husband Arthur P. Jacobs

In the early '60s Trundy guest-starred on TV shows such as Bonanza, The Twilight Zone, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour and Perry Mason, but in May 1963 she was hospitalized in Los Angeles after being struck by a car and suffering a severe back injury, putting her movie and television career on hold. She spent the following year in hospital recovering from a ruptured disk, after which she moved to London for a few years. In 1966, she was living with a roommate named Vanessa and Vanessa's son James. Vanessa was working in the London office of publicist-turned-film producer Arthur P. Jacobs, and recognized him sitting alone at a table in the Playboy Club one night. He was in England for the filming of Doctor Doolittle. Arthur's face lit up at the mention of Natalie's name and he said, "She is the only girl I ever wanted to marry". Jacobs stumbled across Ms. Trundy at a party and after an intense courtship, they were married in a society wedding in London in 1968 (postponed from February 29 to May 5 to June 8)[1][3] - a gala occasion attended by Hollywood royalty and London's elite. The newlyweds returned to America to set up residency.[4][5] Jacobs was also busy at this time in production of his classic movie Planet of the Apes (1968). During production of it's 1970 sequel, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Natalie was cast in the role of Albina - a disfigured mutant living beneath the ruins of New York City - on the suggestion of screen-writer Paul Dehn who was then staying at their home.[6] Although Trundy's character died prior to the end of the film, the actress found a new role to play in the 1971 sequel, Escape from the Planet of the Apes. This time she played the role of the kind-hearted animal psychologist Dr. Stephanie Branton - a character who served a function similar to that of Kim Hunter's Dr. Zira in previous films.

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Natalie Trundy as Albina

In 1972, Trundy returned to the POTA franchise, this time playing an ape for Conquest of the Planet of the Apes. She took some persuading from her husband to take on the role: "I really didn't want to play an ape to tell you the truth. Having seen what everyone went through, you know, for the makeup - hours and hours of that crap!"[7] Natalie portrayed the character Lisa, a timid chimpanzee who worked as a book courier. She remembered in particular, the ordeal of the makeup for the role: "It took 4 1/2 hours to apply the makeup, and two hours to remove it. Taking it off was agony. Jack Barron, the talented makeup artist, would use a hairdryer and acetone to remove the mask. It was so painful I would cry. After that, Carol Pershing, the lead hairdresser would wash my hair. We would leave the studio at 9 pm, and be back at 2 am to do it all again. Although for the actors the makeup was miserable, it was the talents of Jack, John Chambers, and Dan Striepeke that brought the [first] film the Oscar nomination for makeup and costuming, for which we were all so proud."[4] A reporter visiting the set of Conquest spotted Trundy in a lighter moment "having a very straightlaced conversation with one of the production staff.. The minute she saw our cameras, all seriousness vanished from the discussion and she slid right into character, curling her lip and putting her best ape-face forward for our benefit. Posing for some ape 'glamour-shots' for us a few minutes later, she told us of the intense interest her producer-husband had always had in fantasy and science-fiction, both in literature and in film, and of the vast book and film library and collection of memorabilia he had amassed over the years, making their home a veritable museum of fantastic artifacts."[8] Trundy had minimal screen time and even less dialogue, but she reprised the role for the final Apes project, the 1973 movie Battle for the Planet of the Apes. In Battle, the character of Lisa was now Caesar's (Roddy McDowall) wife, and mother to their son, Cornelius; she was also shown to be just as intelligent and articulate as her ape contemporaries.

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Natalie Trundy with Arthur P. Jacobs

Natalie revealed some of the methods required to bring expressiveness to the ape character: "The costume is no help. The tunic is longer for the girl chimps but that is about the only difference from that of the boys. They fit very loosely and there is no question of the figure revealing which is which. The ape appliances cover the face and while it is true the female faces are a little more delicately moulded, the difference isn't readily apparent until the viewer has observed them and become accustomed to them... I suppose that it isn't popular in this day of women's lib, but I assume a deferential posture when in company with the males. When I play a scene with Roddy McDowall, my husband in this film, I walk a little behind him with shorter steps. When important decisions are being made I sometimes drop my eyes, or turn my head away... All women have little feminine gestures, but I exaggerate them in this role. I'm sure that I would be considered arch and probably eccentric if I were to conduct myself this way off-screen - it's a touch of the antebellum women in the South. All of us apes in these films have to be extremely expressive with our eyes, which is standard for any dramatic performance. But again, we exaggerate."[9]

"Roddy, Arthur, and I had been friends for a very long time before the 'Planet of the Apes' films, and the two of us listened to very different types of music," Natalie recalled, "He enjoyed classical, while I always listened to rock and roll. We had an agreement that whoever reached the makeup department first would win the right to pick the music we would be listening to for the approximately 4 hours that it took to attach the appliances. It was a good-natured race between us to see who would get to choose the music for the day."[4]

Trundy was then cast in another of Jacobs' projects, as the forty-ish Mrs. Loftus in the musical adaptation of Mark Twain's novel, Huckleberry Finn. She was nine days into filming on location in Natchez, Mississippi when she received the news on 27 June 1973 that her husband had passed away from a sudden heart attack. Natalie later reflected, "Arthur was very, very tough, but everybody loved him. He was always there, he was always on the set, I tell you. The man worked 29 hours eight days a week, he was with everything, all the time. He was just wonderful, an extraordinary man."[7] Following the death of Arthur P. Jacobs, Natalie - a widow at 32 - assumed directorship of her late husband's business enterprise, APJAC Productions, which sold all rights and privileges of the Planet of the Apes to 20th Century Fox, choosing to concentrate on future projects.[5] Trundy re-married in 1974 and had a son and a daughter, and following further marriages,[1] she devoted several years of her life to volunteer work at Mother Theresa's hospice in Calcutta and spent time caring for India's poor and sick. Natalie Trundy is now semi-retired, and lives in Los Angeles with her children and her beloved pets.[4] In 1998, she appeared as one of the many speakers on the documentary, Behind the Planet of the Apes.

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  • For years, rumors had circulated amongst fans that Natalie played the role of Stewart - an ANSA astronaut featured in the beginning of Planet of the Apes. However, this was later shown to be false. The role of Stewart was actually played by actress Diane Stanley. [10]
  • She is the only actor from the film series to play a mutant, ape, and human character. She is also tied with Roddy McDowall for record number of appearances in the series, both having played in four of the five original POTA films.

External LinksEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Natalie Trundy - Glamour Girls of the Silver Screen
  2. The DD Group: An Online Investigation Into the Death of Marilyn Monroe, by David Marshall - iUniverse (2005)
  3. Who Was Who in America: 1974-76, v. 6 - Marquis (Feb 1977)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 'The Official Natalie Trundy Website'
  5. 5.0 5.1 Natalie Trundy: Monkey Business on the Planet of the Apes - 'Planet of the Apes' UK Issue #26 (19 April 1975)
  6. Interview: Natalie Trundy - 'Apesfan' Special Edition (1999)
  7. 7.0 7.1 Behind the Planet of the Apes
  8. 'Planet of the Apes (UK) Issue 34' (1975)
  9. 'Battle for the Planet of the Apes' promotional material
  10. Planet of the Apes FAQ at the Forbidden Zone
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