- Jul 26, 2005
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Homicide detectives have re-opened their investigation of Natalie Wood's death nearly 30 years after the actress drowned in the waters off Southern California in one of Hollywood's most enduring mysteries.
The renewed look at Wood's Nov. 29, 1981, death was prompted by new information detectives received about the case, Los Angeles County sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said Thursday.
No additional details were provided, but a detective planned to hold a news conference Friday, and anyone with information about the case was being asked to contact sheriff's officials.
Wood drowned after a night of partying with husband Wagner and "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.
The office wrote that Wood was "possibly attempting to board the dinghy and had fallen into the water, striking her face."
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 Wood's death.
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 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 any suggestion there was foul play.
Laura Wood wrote in a biography on her sister, "What happened is that Natalie drank too much that night."
Wagner wrote in a 2009 autobiography that he blamed himself for his wife's death.
Phone and email messages to Walken's publicist were not immediately returned. Attempts to contact Davern were unsuccessful.