Natalie Wood died November 29, 1981 under mysterious circumstances. She went missing in the night while her yacht the Splendour was anchored off the coast of Catalina Island in California.
Onboard the yacht at the time was Captain Dennis Davern, friend and Wood’s co-star of Brainstorm Christopher Walken and her husband Robert Wagner. Wood was with them, until Wagner discovered at some point she was no longer there and a dinghy was missing from the boat.
The next day Wood’s body was found floating in the cove. The actress was dead at the age of 43.
It was a tragic, unexpected and shocking death of the beloved actress. Her death was ruled accidental, but almost immediately rumors and speculation swirled around the circumstances of Wood’s death and suspicion that the whole truth had been kept secret of what really occurred that night and how Wood fell into the water.
There have books, news reports, endless tabloid headlines that have continued to examine her death and present theories of how this woman, who had a lifelong fear of drowning, had died and who was truly responsible for it.
In 2011 the case of Wood’s death was reopened. Her death certificate was changed from ‘accidental drowning’ to ‘drowning and other undetermined factors’. Davern had come forward saying he initially lied to police in 1981 about what happened onboard the yacht that night. He has since described a much more sinister story of what transpired and how exactly Wood fell into the dark water – and that her husband has never revealed all that occurred.
Now 37 years later, Wagner has been redefined as a ‘person of interest’ and the death of Wood is now being considered a ‘suspicious death’.
I would have thought he was always a ‘person of interest’ in her death since he was the last person to see her alive. I’m not sure what this reclassification all these years later exactly means.
Are authorities going to re-interview the 87-year-old actor? Are they searching for new evidence against him? Are they actually looking to charge him with her death? Can anyone’s account of that night be trusted after such a long period of time?
Or are these recent headlines just a disgusting way that CBS is using to promote their upcoming report on Wood’s death on their show 48 Hours and the media is just helping it along with this hype?
I’m not sure where or if this news will lead anywhere. It seems every five or so years there has been some kind of news about the investigation into Wood’s death, it then dies down and ends up leading nowhere. I doubt that this latest news about Wagner being ‘a person of interest’ will be any different from the others. I would think if there was some kind of huge revelation that was to ever come out into the case of Wood’s death it would have happened a long time ago.
Even if some kind of foul play or unintentional accident took place on that yacht that resulted in Wood’s death, I doubt it will ever be revealed. Even if Wagner knows something that he has kept hidden all this time it seems very unlikely that he would ever reveal it.
I don’t think there will ever be any definitive answers surrounding her death that will satisfy everyone. It will endure as one of Hollywood’s most tragic mysterious and theories and suspicion will continue to be attached to it. The only thing that we will ever know for sure is that this beautiful actress died that night.
Some of the original news reports of Wood’s death
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