When I was 12, I was bedridden for weeks because an accident had injured my legs and both of them were in heavy plaster casts. One morning, finally, the doctor had come to my hospital room and very carefully removed them. This was a happy day for me, for my dancing lessons had been long neglected, and I knew that if I was ever to become a professional dancer, I'd have to practice twice as hard now.
The doctor usually had a poker face - you could never tell what he was thinking - but this time his look frightened me. When they had finished removing the plaster, they took me to the X-ray room. After they made the films, they brought me back to my room and left me alone. About half an hour later, the doctor and my mother came in. Mom was trying desperately to be cheerful. So was the doctor. He took my foot, raised it gently and said, "Wiggle your toes, Doris." I tried as hard as I could, but my toes didn't move. Then the doctor did something to the soles of my feet and said, "Did you feel that, Doris?" I just stared at him and shook m head. I was never so scared in my life. The doctor looked at my mother. Mom sensed the verdict. She started to cry. It was strange, but the moment I saw the first tear in her eye, I wasn't afraid any more. I said, "Don't cry, Mom. I'll be all right." Then the doctor said, "I'm sorry, Doris, you shouldn't hope. I'm afraid you won't walk any more."
But, intuitively, I knew the doctor had made a mistake.
Six weeks later, I walked again.
The one time that intuition hit me the hardest was on an evening in September, 1955. Nick Adams, Sal Mineo, Richard Davalos, Mrs. Davalos and I were having dinner at a Chinese restaurant in New York City. I guess we were the happiest group in the place. Nick and Sal started us laughing while we were eating wonton soup and kept us in stitches all through the egg rolls, chop suey and fortune cookies. After we finished dinner, we were still laughing. I don't remember at what.
Suddenly, although until then I wasn't concerned at all, I had to know what time it was. I stopped laughing and asked Sal to let me see his watch. He was talking and didn't hear me. I had spoken in a low voice. Then I said, "Sal, Sal, what time is it?" I felt as if I were dreaming. Sal checked his watch and said, "It's nine thirty-one, Nat. Why?"
I said, "I don't know, but I think I'm going to cry." For no reason I could understand, my whole being was swept by a wave of almost unbearable sadness. It only lasted for an instant. Then I told the others to forget it.
The next day, Nick told me that Jimmy Dean had been killed in an auto accident in California the night before.
It wasn't until days later that I realized that Jimmy's death had occurred at about 5:30pm in California. At that moment, because of the difference in time zones across the states, it was 9:30pm in New York.
This post is the final part of our republication of the 1957 Motion Picture magazine article that featured seven actresses sharing stories of moments of intuition. We hope you enjoyed reading it. Please be sure to check out the first post and the second part here!