Natalie Wood Death Report Changed From 'Accident' to 'Undetermined'

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  • Actress Natalie Wood
    (Photo: Reuters)
    Actress Natalie Wood
By Emma Koonse, Christian Post Reporter
July 9, 2012|10:02 am

The death of actress Natalie Wood over 30 years ago has not only been reopened, but has been changed from an "accident" to "undetermined" on her death certificate Friday.

The 1981 death occurred of the coast of Southern California near Santa Catalina Island after a night of partying with Wood's husband, Robert Wagner, and her "Brainstorm" co-star, Christopher Walken.

While on the couple's yacht, "Splendor," the trio was drinking, after which Wood's death was determined an accident. According to the police report, Wood was "possibly attempting to board the dinghy and had fallen into the water, striking her face."

A dinghy from their yacht was found in Catalina Cove.

The famous case was officially reopened last year over speculation that the actress was murdered, and many speculate that there is more to the story than an accidental drowning.

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department cited "many calls from the news media" as grounds for changing the death certificate on Friday.

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"It is an open investigation and we are cooperating fully with the Sheriff's Department," added Chief Coroner Craig Harvey in a statement, according to The Los Angeles Times. "This department is making no comments at this time."

Wood, a 3-time Oscar nominee famous for her roles in "West Side Story" and "Rebel Without A Cause," was 43 when she died. Her husband, Wagner, was the star of the television series "Hart to Hart," and they married twice: once in 1957, divorcing after six years, and again in 1972.

Wagner penned an autobiography in 2008 blaming himself for his wife's death. The couple had an argument before Wood supposedly fell overboard and drowned. He noted in the book that he has never returned to Santa Catalina Island.

Additionally, Wood's sister Lana also wrote a biography on her sister, stating, "What happened is that Natalie drank too much that night."

In a past interview, Wood divulged that her greatest fear was of dark seawater. Her body was found November 29, 1981 floating a mile from the yacht. According to the police reports, Wood was wearing a long nightgown, socks, and a down jacket.

Wood's sister told authorities that the actress "would never go to another boat or to shore dressed in a nightgown and socks," and that Wood did not know how to swim.

An autopsy report revealed that Wood had two dozen bruises on her body, including her left cheek and arms.

 

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