Actress and model Natalie Wood tragically passed away, while taking her private yacht around the Santa Catalina, with her husband, Robert Wagner, and the pair’s friend, Christopher Walken. Exactly what happened is one of the greatest Hollywood mysteries, although recent developments have caused Wood’s cause of death to change.
Wood’s death was initially ruled an accidental drowning. Wood was afraid of water, stemming from a psychic’s prediction that she would die in “dark waters”, and never learned how to swim. However, in 2013, her cause of death was changed to “drowning and other undetermined factors” and her husband, Robert Wagner, was named a person of interest.
Wood’s daughter, Natasha Gregson Wagner, has denied any suspicion of Wagner in the documentary Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind. Wagner also denied involvement on camera.
Christopher Walker, for his part, fulfilled a promise to Wood’s younger sister, Lana, and told the police everything he knows. He only spoke publicly about the tragic incident once, telling Playboy,
“You hear about things happening to people – they slip in the bathtub, fall down the stairs, step off the curb in London because they think that the cars come the other way – and they die. You feel you want to die making an effort at something; you don’t want to die in some unnecessary way. What happened that night only she knows, because she was alone. She had gone to bed before us, and her room was at the back. A dinghy was bouncing against the side of the boat, and I think she went out to move it. There was a ski ramp that was partially in the water. It was slippery – I had walked on it myself. She had told me she couldn’t swim; in fact, they had to cut a swimming scene from [Brainstorm]. She was probably half asleep, and she was wearing a coat.”
Natalie Wood’s Death True Story Timeline – How Did Natalie Wood Die? (harpersbazaar.com)
Christopher Walken on Natalie Wood’s Death | Heavy.com
Natalie Wood’s sister says Christopher Walken spoke to detectives working her reopened case, but made them promise not to reveal what he said (yahoo.com)
Christopher Walken Offered Natalie Wood Death Theory in Past Interview – The Hollywood Reporter