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Natalie Wood's Death Reopened as Homicide Investigation: VIDEO

An investigation into the death of actress Natalie Wood, whose drowning after a night of partying on a yacht with her husband Robert Wagner and actor Christopher Walken off Catalina Island in 1981 was ruled an accident, has been reopened as a homicide case, The Press Association reports:

WoodThe renewed look at Wood's November 29, 1981, death comes after detectives received new information about the case, Los Angeles County sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said.

No additional details were provided, but a detective planned to hold a news conference today, and anyone with information about the case was being asked to contact sheriff's officials...

...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.

The case has become one of Hollywood's most alluring mysteries. 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.

The WaPo adds:

TMZ reports the reason for the reinvestigation may be the 2009 book, “Goodbye Natalie, Goodbye Splendour,” written by Marti Rulli with the boat’s captain Dennis Davern. The book suggests foul play, according to TMZ. Wagner and Wood’s sister, Lana Wood, have both denied this in the past.

In an interview with “Today,” Davern said he “did lie on a [police] report several years ago.” He told David Gregory he thought Wagner intentionally kept the case low profile. When asked if he thought Wagner was “responsible” for Wood’s death, Davern responded, “Yes, I would say so.”

Watch the TODAY show interview, AFTER THE JUMP...


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  1. Call me cynical, but its hard not to notice that they just happen to be reopening this 30 year old case the exact same week that the studio has a big roll-out for the theatrical re-release and BluRay for the 50th anniversary edition of Natalie Wood's most famous film, West Side Story. I'd sure like to know where that interestingly timed "new information" came from.

    Posted by: bobbyjoe | Nov 18, 2011 8:31:57 AM

  2. How opportune!

    Next Monday's NCIS:

    "After Anthony DiNozzo, Sr. is found in a car with a dead body in the trunk and no memory of the previous night, the NCIS team must figure out if he is capable of murder."

    Anthony DiNozzo, Sr. is, of course, being played by Robert Wagner.

    Posted by: dave02657 | Nov 18, 2011 8:37:47 AM

  3. Okaaaaay???? Books to sell? P.S. I did always think the case smelled bad. I mean, unless Mr. Wagner was obliterated drunk why did he not look for his wife? Also, wasn't Natalie Wood wearing a life jacket? She is missed and hopefully no foul play was involved.

    Posted by: David C. | Nov 18, 2011 8:40:41 AM

  4. This man is not credible. Is it just me who feels that way? Don't reporters vet people before they interview them? This guy doesn't really seem to know what they heck is going on.

    Posted by: Gigi | Nov 18, 2011 8:57:44 AM

  5. Anyone else looking at this guy and thinking "If he's not the Unibomber - then he should, be arrested for something!"

    Posted by: bilikeme | Nov 18, 2011 9:01:18 AM

  6. It is inconceivable that RJ would murder Natalie. Let's see where this goes.

    Posted by: Chip | Nov 18, 2011 9:01:38 AM

  7. I'm glad that he was able to get an early morning interview. No way would he have made it to one during the late afternoon or early evening. His life was a mess *then*?

    I hope no idea what happened, but I don't recall that RW was leading the investigation. She was more of a legend than he was.

    Wonder what Atkins looks like now.

    Posted by: Paul R | Nov 18, 2011 9:51:16 AM

  8. And then there is the long-standing rumor that Natalie walked on RJ and Walken having sex and freaked out. According to legend, in the ensuing struggle to calm her down, she fell or was pushed overboard.

    Posted by: JeffNYC | Nov 18, 2011 10:20:05 AM

  9. Whoa. I just noticed something: Anne Hathaway could be a dead ringer to a young Natalie Wood.

    Posted by: Allen | Nov 18, 2011 10:30:32 AM

  10. Why wait this long to bring it up? Seems strange to me.

    Posted by: Jack M | Nov 18, 2011 10:48:11 AM

  11. Considering all the physical evidence is long gone, this could only happen as a result of new witness statements. However, the reopening of the case is mostly a formality as it could reclose just as quickly.

    Posted by: anon | Nov 18, 2011 11:28:22 AM

  12. Oh for Pete's sake.

    Posted by: Gianpiero | Nov 18, 2011 11:44:24 AM

  13. I do adore an old Hollywood whodunit!

    Posted by: Gregoire | Nov 18, 2011 11:58:26 AM

  14. This guy was so bewildered and unable to depart from his lone talking point that I'd bet my bottom dollar that the ghost writer is the one who came up with the homicide story.

    Posted by: RhymesWithClergy | Nov 18, 2011 12:07:06 PM

  15. i think they were all obliterated drunk....

    Posted by: chris | Nov 18, 2011 2:08:41 PM

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