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Movie star Natalie Wood's death being reinvestigated

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
November 20th, 2011
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The drowning death of movie star Natalie wood is being reopened by detectives. Her death by drowning in the waters off Southern California has remained one of Hollywood's most enduring mysteries. She was part of the trio of stars in the classic film, "Rebel Without a Cause" - which included James Dean and Sal Mineo who came to an untimely end.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - New information authorities received about Wood's death on November 29, 1981 have led detectives to reexamine the case, Los Angeles County sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said Thursday.

A detective planned to hold a news conference tomorrow. Anyone with information about the case was being asked to contact sheriff's officials.

Wood's husband at the time of her death, Robert Wagner, says that the family trusts the sheriff's department will take appropriate action -- but has not been contacted about the case being re-opened.

"Although no one in the Wagner family has heard from the LA County Sheriff's department about this matter, they fully support the efforts of the LA County Sheriff's Dept. and trust 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 spokesman Alan Nierob wrote in a statement.

Wood drowned after a night of partying with Wagner along with "Brainstorm" co-star Christopher Walken on the couple's yacht anchored off Santa Catalina Island. Wood's death was ruled accidental and it was determined that she had been drinking before her death.

The official explanation was that Wood was "possibly attempting to board the dinghy and had fallen into the water, striking her face."

Detectives were prompted to look at the case again after comments by the ship's captain, Dennis Davern. He was recently interviewed for the magazine Vanity Fair alongside a TV show entitled "48 Hours Mystery" that focuses on Wood's death.

Wood was a three-time Oscar nominee famous for roles in "West Side Story," "Rebel Without a Cause" 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.

Wood's sudden demise caused her final feature, "Brainstorm" to be drastically re-edited, opening to lukewarm reviews upon its completion. Ironically, the subject of the film was on the concept of life after death.

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