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Death of Natalie Wood: Top 5 Facts to Know

VO: EB WRITTEN BY: Spencer Sher
Script written by Spencer Sher Even till this day, the death of iconic actress Natalie Woods remains a mystery. In this countdown we take a look at the facts behind the death of Natalie Wood’s suspicious passing. On the day of her death there were actually several people on the boat including Christopher Walken. Wood was very scared of dark waters, so the fact that it was said she tried to maneuver a boat in the dark waters by herself is very odd.

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Top 5 Facts About the Death of Natalie Wood

Will the truth ever come out? Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 5 Facts About the Death of Natalie Wood.

For this list, we’ll be breaking down the facts surrounding the mysterious death of film actress Natalie Wood.

#5: She Was A Big Deal

Natalie Wood was a movie star in the ‘50s and ‘60s (and before, as a child star). She appeared in such classics as “Rebel Without a Cause” and “West Side Story,” and was nominated for three Academy Awards before turning 25. Tragically, Wood later drowned in a boating accident off the coast of California’s Santa Catalina Island, on November 29th, 1981. She was with her husband, fellow star Robert Wagner, and at some point during the night, seemingly fell overboard from their yacht. Her body was discovered a mile away, in the ocean. However, conflicting witness testimonies have caused many to speculate over how she ended up in the water.

#4: There Were Others on the Yacht

Like all great mysteries, this one has twists and secrets.Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner were not the only people on the boat when she drowned. They were accompanied by Dennis Davern, the ship’s captain, as well as . . . Christopher Walken. Yes, that Christopher Walken. He’d been shooting the film “Brainstorm” with Wood and had been invited by the couple to spend the night aboard their yacht. There was considerable speculation at the time that Wood’s death was not an accident, and that her husband may have played a part. After two years of keeping silent, Walken finally spoke, remarking, “The truth is, there is nothing more to it. It was an accident.”

#3: Wood Was Terrified of the Ocean

As if falling overboard in the middle of the night isn’t bad enough, Natalie Wood had, according to famed director Elia Kazan, a “terror of water, particularly dark water, and of being helpless in it.” This fear would rear its head numerous times throughout her life and career, most notably during the filming of the 1961 film “Splendor in the Grass”. A scene called for her to be stranded in the middle of a reservoir, and Kazan attempted to capitalize on the aesthetics of her genuine terror by refusing to shoot it in studio. That phobia, coupled with her inability to swim, makes Wood’s death all the more tragic.

#2: The Official Cause of Death Was Amended in 2013

In 1981, the LA County Coroner labeled Wood’s death an “accidental drowning”. However, the case was reopened in 2011, after the LAPD stated that they had received new information about the case from witnesses. Davern had also previously changed his original version of events, now claiming that Wagner and Wood had quarrelled that evening. It was also determined that Wood might have sustained a number of bruises prior to entering the water. This all made the events surrounding Wood’s demise that much murkier. In 2013, a 10-page addendum was added to the autopsy report, and the cause of Wood’s death was officially changed to “drowning and other undetermined factors”.

#1: The Case Has Been Reopened

Why is Natalie Wood’s death in the news again? Well, despite the cause of death being changed in 2013, no charges were ever leveled against Wagner, (or Walker or Davern). But it appears that this may change, as new witness testimony has led to Robert Wagner being named a “person of interest” in Wood’s death. According to a spokesman from the LA County Sheriff’s Department, additional statements now “portray a new sequence of events on the boat that night.” Wagner has continued to deny that he was in any way involved in his wife’s death. We may never know what really happened that night in 1981.


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