The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department announced that it is re-opening the investigation into the 1981 death of actress Natalie Wood. While the coroner originally ruled the death an accident, new evidence has come to light that has them thinking otherwise — and taking a good hard look at the actress’ husband, actor Robert Wagner.
The circumstances surrounding the young actress’ death have long been considered suspect. She disappeared from a yacht off of Catalina Island where she had been drinking — and arguing — with Wagner, her “Brainstorm” co-star Christopher Walken (yes, that Christopher Walken), the ship’s captain, Dennis Davern, and others. Her body was discovered the next morning about a mile away from the yacht with the ship’s dinghy beached nearby. At the time the coroner categorized her death as an accident, assuming she had slipped off the boat while trying to launch the dinghy.
On Friday, almost 30 years to they day after the incident, Davern told the Today Show that he lied to investigators about Natalie Wood’s mysterious death. When the show’s host David Gregory asked Davern, “Was the fight between Natalie Wood and her husband Robert Wagner what ultimately led to her death?” He replied, “Yes.” This isn’t the first time Davern has told his tale, having been interviewed by Vanity Fair in 2000 and Geraldo in 1992, but for the first time, the LA sheriff’s department thinks he “made comments worthy of exploring.”
Wood, a three-time Oscar nominee most known for her roles in “West Side Story,” ”Rebel Without a Cause” and “Miracle on 34th Street,” was 43 when she died. She and Wagner, star of the TV series “Hart to Hart,” were married twice, first in 1957 and again in 1972.
According to the LA Times, Wagner released a statement through his spokesman expressing support for a new investigation into his wife’s death.