Natalie Wood – The Mystery Revealed

When Natalie Wood was found dead on November 29, 1981, her fans demanded answers. They wanted to know what happened on the night of her disappearance from the yacht she shared with husband Robert Wagner and co-star Christopher Walken during filming of Brainstorm. To learn more about Natalie Wood Death keep reading the article below.

Natalie Wood

In 2011, detectives reopened the case after Dennis Davern, the yacht’s captain, published a book claiming that, before Wood disappeared, he heard them arguing.

The actress Natalie Wood was a beloved star who appeared in some of the most enduring films of her era. She started out as a child actor, transitioning into teen and young adult roles as she grew older. By the time she was 43, she had carved out a successful career in Hollywood. Whether she was playing a spunky teenager in Rebel Without a Cause or a neurotic actress in The Searchers, audiences loved her for the character’s flaws as well as their strengths.

Yet despite her popularity on screen, she was not necessarily happy off of it. In real life, Wood was a woman plagued by demons she tried to hide behind her big-screen persona. The dark-haired, doe-eyed actress suffered from a host of mental and physical ailments.

One of the biggest was a phobia of water, which she had developed at a very young age. She would often refuse to have her hair washed and had recurring nightmares about drowning. It wasn’t until she was a teenager, when she was forced to jump off the back of a boat for a role in The Star, that her fear became a reality.

The actress died in November of 1981 in a mysterious drowning off of the coast of Southern California’s Catalina Island. The case was never resolved, and even now it’s not clear what really happened that night. In 2020, Wood’s daughter from her second husband released an HBO documentary that casts doubt on the official account of events leading up to her death.

Now, a Los Angeles County sheriff’s detective has reopened the investigation into Wood’s death. And author Suzanne Finstad has rereleased her book on the matter with new details.

Finstad claims that the evidence she presents makes it “increasingly likely” that Wood was murdered by her ex-husband Robert Wagner. The book includes what she believes is critical physical evidence that establishes homicide as the likeliest outcome.

Her Cause of Death

In November of 1981, Natalie Wood drowned off the coast of California’s Catalina Island. The famous actress, who had starred in classic films such as West Side Story and Rebel Without a Cause, was just 43 years old when she died. At the time, her death was ruled an accident. However, over the years many questions have been raised about the circumstances of her death.

The first question is how Wood got overboard from the yacht she was sailing on. Her death certificate initially stated that she fell overboard accidentally, but this was changed to “drowning and other undetermined factors” in 2013. In addition, bruises found on her body have led some to suspect that she may have been assaulted before she fell into the water.

Another question is why it took so long for the authorities to discover her body. After all, they had a good idea of where she was. The yacht was anchored near Doug’s Harbor Reef, a popular seafood restaurant on the island. The night manager of the restaurant said he was worried that all four people aboard the yacht would be too drunk to make it back to the boat in their dinghy after dinner. He therefore asked the harbor patrol to watch over the group.

Yet, for some reason, it took them a full two days to find the actress’s body. This is especially strange since her body was only about a mile away from the yacht. There are several theories as to why it took so long to find her body, but none of them are very convincing.

One theory is that the tide turned while she was in the dinghy, and it swept her overboard. The police have not officially endorsed this theory.

In addition to being a mystery, Wood’s death is also a tragedy because of the way her life ended. She was a beautiful and talented actress who had just reached the pinnacle of her career. She was nominated for three Oscars, and her work on movies like West Side Story, Rebel Without a Cause, and Splendor in the Grass had made her one of the most famous stars of her generation.


In life, Natalie Wood was one of Hollywood’s most alluring actresses. She was nominated for three Academy Awards and appeared in classics such as Miracle on 34th Street, Rebel Without a Cause, and West Side Story. But even in death, questions surround the actress’s mysterious drowning.

On November 28, 1981, she went missing while sailing with Wagner and Walken aboard their yacht Splendour off the coast of Catalina Island. Her body was found the next day, floating in the ocean, with her dinghy lying nearby washed up on the rocks.

A coroner ruled her death an accident—the result of drowning and “other undetermined factors.” But the fresh bruises on her arms, legs, and neck and scratches on her neck and head raised suspicions that she might have been assaulted before she went overboard. But nothing ever added up to point to an attacker. Even though Wagner and Walken gave different accounts of what happened that night, and witnesses contradicted them, no charges were filed.

As time went on, the doubts about what really happened to Wood continued to grow. In 2011, 30 years after her death, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials reopened the case and changed the cause of her death to suspicious. Detectives have heard new, seemingly credible information and are interviewing witnesses who weren’t part of the original investigation.

But despite the renewed probe, it is still unclear whether anything will change. The sheriff’s department says it hasn’t received any big break in the case, and Wagner, now 91, is refusing to talk with investigators.

Many people, including the actress’s younger sister Lana, believe her brother-in-law is hiding something. She has said that she doesn’t think the original investigation was thorough and she suspects that Wagner knew what happened to her. But he has denied that claim. The reopening of the investigation comes at a time when there’s a renewed fascination in old Hollywood mysteries. It seems likely that the case will linger on for some time to come.

Renewed Investigation

The case has ebbed and flowed like the tides over four decades since Natalie Wood’s death was officially ruled a drowning accident in November 1981. But a new podcast, featuring an investigative reporter who has long held the view that she didn’t die of natural causes, offers fresh evidence.

The new podcast series, entitled The Natalie Wood Files, is a 12-part audio documentary from the American Media Inc. Celebrity Group’s Dylan Howard, who oversees publications such as Us Weekly and OK! It debuts on Friday, the day after what would have been Wood’s 80th birthday.

It opens with a brief history of the actress’s life. Then, it focuses on the events of Nov. 29, 1981, when the Oscar-nominated actress went to her demise on a yacht with husband Robert Wagner and their co-star Christopher Walken while boating off Catalina Island.

Interviews with the Los Angeles County coroner and investigators who worked on the case in 1981, as well as interviews with the star’s sister, Lana, paint a picture of a troubled time for the actress. A new LA County report released Monday questions the original findings that led to the conclusion that the star died accidentally, citing fresh bruises and scrapes found on her body.

In 2011, the investigation was reopened and Wagner, who is now 89, was named as a person of interest. He has denied involvement, but detectives say they want to speak with him.

On NBC’s “Today” show on Friday, Davern, the skipper of the Splendour, made a bid to change the official story of what happened the night of Wood’s death. He cited an unnamed source who says he heard that the couple had fought, and urged sheriff’s homicide investigators to reopen the case.

But the host of NBC’s morning show, David Gregory, pushed back on the theory that the fight may have contributed to the actress’s death. He also questioned the veracity of Davern’s claims that he was told by Wagner that he wanted her dead, which he denies.