Investigation into Natalie Wood’s mysterious drowning reopened
Summary of story from The New York Times, November 18, 2011
Los Angeles County sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore said Thursday that they will be reopening the investigation into Natalie Wood’s death nearly 30 years after the actress drowned in the waters off southern California.
The case has been one of Hollywood’s most enduring mysteries. The renewed look at the death of Ms Wood on November 29, 1981, was prompted by new information detectives received about the case.
Ms Wood drowned after a night of partying with her husband, Mr Wagner, and her “Brainstorm” co-star Christopher Walken, on the couple’s yacht anchored off Santa Catalina Island.
Her death was ruled an accident and it was determined that she had been drinking before her death.
No additional details were provided but the Los Angeles Times reported that detectives were prompted to look at the case again after comments by the ship’s captain, Dennis Davern.
He was recently interviewed for a collaboration between the magazine Vanity Fair and the television series “48 Hours Mystery” that focuses on Ms Wood’s death.
Ms Wood, a three-time Oscar nominee famous for roles in “West Side Story,” ‘‘Rebel Without a Cause” and other Hollywood hits, was 43 when she died.
She and Mr Wagner, star of the TV series “Hart to Hart,” were twice married, first in 1957 before divorcing six years later. They remarried in 1972.
Wood’s drowning sparked tabloid speculation that foul play was involved, but Wagner and Wood’s sister have dismissed that suggestion.
Mr Wagner wrote in a 2008 autobiography that he blamed himself for his wife’s death, claiming that she went to the master cabin after an argument with her husband and Mr Walken.
The last time Mr Wagner saw his wife, she was fixing her hair at a bathroom vanity and she shut the door.