The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department announced Thursday that it was reopening the investigation into "one of Hollywood's most enduring mysteries," the Thanksgiving weekend death in 1981 of actress Natalie Wood. She was found in the water of Catalina Island's Two Harbors near the yacht she shared with husband Robert Wagner. Actor Christopher Walken was also on board. At the time, L.A. coroner Thomas Noguchi said "It was not a homicide, it was not a suicide, it was an accident," ruling that Wood had apparently slipped while trying to get into a dinghy alone after a night of drinking. But among some, questions had always lingered. Wood was 43 when she died. From the L.A. Times:
Sheriff Lee Baca said detectives want to talk to the captain of the boat after learning of comments he recently made about what happened on board. Baca did not provide further details, adding only that the captain "made comments worthy of exploring."
The captain, Dennis Davern, co-wrote the book "Goodbye Natalie, Goodbye Splendour" last year. In the book he described bitter arguments aboard the boat that weekend. In an interview last year on CNN, Davern said he believed the original investigation was woefully incomplete....
Wagner released a statement through his spokesman expressing support for a new investigation into his wife's death.
Wagner says he "trusts they will evaluate whether any new information relating to the death of Natalie Wood Wagner is valid, and that it comes from a credible source or sources other than those simply trying to profit from the 30 year anniversary of her tragic death," Wagner's spokesman, Alan Nierob, said in a statement.
Wood was nominated for three acting Oscars before she turned 25, for "Rebel Without a Cause," "Splendor in the Grass" and "Love With the Proper Stranger." She played Maria in the 1961 film version of "West Side Story."