The death of actress Natalie Wood will be re-examined by Los Angeles County detectives, the Los Angeles County sheriff's office announced on Thursday, November 17.
Homicide detectives have reopened their investigation into the 1981 drowning death of the "West Side Story" and "Rebel Without a Cause" actress. Sheriff's office spokesman Steve Whitmore told the Associated Press that the agency is taking another look at the case after recently receiving additional information.
A news conference will be held on Friday with the detective leading the investigation. No further information was released.
Wood drowned on Nov. 29, 1981, at the age of 43 after a night of partying with husband Robert Wagner and "Brainstorm" co-star Christopher Walken on the couple's yacht anchored off Santa Catalina Island in California. Coroner's officials ruled the death of the actress an accident at the time."Although no one in the Wagner family has heard from the LA County Sheriff's department about this matter, they fully support the efforts of the L.A. County Sheriff's Deptartment," Wagner's spokesperson said in a statement obtained by OnTheRedCarpet.com.
The actor and his family members "trust they will evaluate whether any new information relating to the death of Natalie Wood Wagner is valid, and that it comes from a credible source or sources other than those simply trying to profit from the 30-year anniversary of her tragic death," the statement added.
Wood, whose real name was Natalia Zakharenko, started out as a successful child actress in films like "Miracle on 34th Street." She later went to star in several films including the 1955 film "Rebel Without a Cause" opposite James Dean and the movie adaptation of "Gypsy." She earned two Oscar nominations for "Splendor in the Grass" in 1961 and "Love with the Proper Stranger" in 1963.
Special editions of the DVD and Blu-ray of "West Side Story," which starred Wood as Maria, were released two days ago, on November 15, to mark the musical film's 50th anniversary. Woods' co-stars from "West Side Story" recently had their handprints immortalized at Grauman's Chinese Theatre to mark the occasion.
"I wish Natalie were here - that would really complete the quartet," Rita Moreno, who played Wood's character's sister, said at the ceremony.
UPDATE on Friday, November 18: Robert Wagner is not a suspect in Natalie Wood's death, a Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department detective announced. Check out more details about the investigation.
Check out a video from the event handprint ceremony.