Lifestyle & Belief

LA detectives reopen Natalie Wood drowning case (VIDEO)


American actress Natalie Wood, her husband actor Robert Wagner and their daughter, Courtney, arrive at London airport July 4, 1976.

Thirty years after a coroner ruled that actress Natalie Wood accidentally drowned near California's Catalina Island after an argument with her husband, actor Robert Wagner, detectives are reopening the case.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department wants to talk with the captain of the boat Wood, Wagner, fellow actor Christopher Walken and others were on "after learning of comments he recently made about what happened on board," the LA Times reported, quoting Sheriff Lee Baca. 

A law enforcement source added that the department recently received a letter from an unidentified "third party" who said the captain had "new recollections" about the case. 

Baca reportedly said only that the captain "made comments worthy of exploring." 

The case of Wood's death is considered one of Hollywood's "enduring mysteries," according to CNN

Wood, a three-time Oscar nominee, who made 56 films for TV and cinema, among them "West Side Story," ''Rebel Without a Cause," was 43 when she died. 

Wood's career reportedly began at age 4, when director Irving Pichel gave her a small role in "Happy Land" (1943). By 1950, she was considered the second biggest actress to Elizabeth Taylor.

It was determined that she had been drinking before her death, but her drowning sparked tabloid speculation of foul play, according to The Associated Press.

CNN reported that Wood's sister, Lana Wood, and the captain of the yacht had last year asked the sheriff's office to reopen the case.

Wood body was found Nov. 29, 1981, floating in the water about a mile away from her party's yacht in the Pacific Ocean off the isthmus of Catalina Island.

CNN quoted police reports as saying that Wood was found "wearing a long nightgown, socks, and a down jacket," and that an "autopsy report shows Wood had two dozen bruises on her body, including a facial abrasion on her left cheek, and bruises on her arms." 

"My sister was not a swimmer and did not know how to swim, and she would never go to another boat or to shore dressed in a nightgown and socks," said Lana Wood.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Wagner supports the decision to reopen the case.

Wagner has said that he Wagner, whom Wood married twice — from 1957-62 and again from 1972 until her death — has said that he blames himself for the incident.

"Did I blame myself? If I'd been there, I could have done something," he told the U.K.'s Daily Mail in 2009. "I wasn't, but ultimately, a man is responsible for his loved one. Yes, I blamed myself. I would have done anything in the world to protect her. Anything. I lost a woman I loved with all my heart, not once but twice, and I will never completely come to terms with that."

There has been speculation that a lover's quarrel between Wood and Wagner regarding Walken — with whom Wood was filming the sci-fi movie, "Brainstorm" — took place before the accident.