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Natalie Wood's body was found floating in the Pacific, a mile away from where her yacht was anchored off Santa Catalina Island, on November 29, 1981. The star of such hit films as Rebel Without a Cause, West Side Story, and Splendor in the Grass was discovered wearing socks, a floor-length nightgown, and a down jacket. According to the autopsy report, there were numerous bruises about her face and body, including an abrasion on her left cheek. Thomas Noguchi, better known as Hollywood's "coroner to the stars," ruled her death an accident.

Wood spent the 1981 Thanksgiving holiday aboard her yacht Splendour with husband Robert Wagner and Brainstorm co-star Christopher Walken. I can't begin to print the wide variety of wild and salacious rumors told me throughout the years surrounding that night. They refuse to stop. A friend hit me with a doozy just last night!

If it doesn't gel, it isn't aspic, and this is one plot that continues to thicken. (For those unfamiliar with the factual details surrounding the case, this CNN report will bring you up to speed.) After 30 years, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office announced yesterday that it was reopening its case into what many still believe to be one of Hollywood's premier unsolved mysteries. Personally, I'm a George "Superman" Reeves conspiracy theorist (Perry White on the grassy knoll), but it's going to be fascinating to watch this homicide investigation unfurl.

Remember: Cameras in the courtroom + Walken on the stand = Emmy.

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Comments

oldetymejournalist Nov. 18, 2011 @ 2:06 p.m.

when i covered this story for 'the washington post,' the sheriff's office erected a brick wall of silence about the boat captain, mr. wagner, mr. walken and the coroner's findings. now, with election season publicity to be gathered, they are publicly reopening the investigaqtion into this accidental death and inviting us all in. but, honestly, we knew everything but the very fine details in any case. and all this has resulted from the manufactured hysteria to sell a book. i am familiar with that; have done so myself.

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Scott Marks Nov. 18, 2011 @ 3:36 p.m.

I feel the same way about the skipper's "findings," Olde Tymer, and purposely chose not to mention it.

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efren castillo Nov. 18, 2011 @ 4:23 p.m.

the captain was on t.v., a morning show and pulled the ol'- "you gotta read the book to know what I have to say" and failed to answer any question directly.........

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Colonna Nov. 19, 2011 @ 4:13 a.m.

My guess is if Natalie had lived, she would have made a few more movies; some biopics or supporting roles. She would have eventually made her way to made-for-TV movies and episodic television - the Sally Field career path.

What do you think? What movie roles in the 1980s or 1990s could you see Natalie Wood in?

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Scott Marks Nov. 20, 2011 @ 4:33 p.m.

She probably would have landed a role on "The Colbys."

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Twister Nov. 20, 2011 @ 7:54 p.m.

Yeah, all that gossip and guesses and premature conclusions may be true, but take a look at Wagner anyway. Not to mention Noguchi and the cops involved. Anybody who thinks the cops are as pure as the driven snow is just naive.

Natalie wasn't the only show-biz victim of husbandly homicide, and Wagner not the only one to get off scot-free. This case is not about the entertainment business, it's about murder. Stick to the facts. LAPD isn't going to re-open this case lightly, and murder isn't likely to be the only crime covered up here. There are inconsistencies and there always have been inconsistencies.

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