Oscar-winning actress Natalie Wood died nearly 30 years ago, on Nov. 29, 1981 in the icy waters off of California’s Catalina Island. She had, the story goes, been drinking on a boat with husband Robert Wagner, actor Christopher Walken and the boat’s captain, Dennis Davern. At the time, her death was ruled an accident — the result of too much drinking.
But on Thursday (Nov. 17), the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department re-opened the case, claiming to have new information from Dalvern — who, not for the first time, is claiming that Wagner is in fact responsible for Wood’s death. A sheriff’s department press conference is scheduled for Friday.
Dalvern appeared on NBC’s “Today” Friday and claimed he had made a mistake by not divulging the truth 30 years ago. Dalvern claims that a fight between Wagner and Wood — possibly over a possible affair between her and Walken — led to the actress’ death.
“Was the fight between Natalie Wood and her husband Robert Wagner what ultimately led to her death?” “Today’s” David Gregory asked.
“Yes,” Davern replied.
“Like I said, that’s going to be up to the investigators to decide,” he said.
“We didn’t take any steps to see if we could locate her,” he added. “I think it was a matter of, ‘We’re not going to look too hard, we’re not going to turn on the searchlight, we’re not going to notify anybody right now.'”
On Thursday, a spokesman for Wagner released a statement saying the family fully supports the investigation, but hinted that Dalvern is merely trying to profit from the 30 year anniversary of Wood’s death. Dalvern is the subject of a collaboration between Vanity Fair and “48 Hours Mystery” about Woods’ death.
Coincidentally, one of Woods’ most enduring movies, “West Side Story,” is also celebrating its 50th anniversary with a re-release on Blu-ray.