Natalie Wood, in her heyday, was as big a star as anyone in Hollywood. Her tragic – and suspicious – death in 1981 shocked the world. Was it murder? Certainly no one could prove foul play. But, reports the Guardian on Monday, Jan. 14, the words “accidental drowning” have been removed from her death certificate, to be replaced by “drowning and other undetermined factors,” and a new, supplemental medical examiner’s report issued Monday says: "Since there are many unanswered questions and limited additional evidence available for evaluation, it is opined by this Medical Examiner that the manner of death should be left as undetermined.”
In other words, a re-evaluation of the evidence found at the time cannot rule out that Natalie Wood’s death was no accident. Bruises and scratches on her arms and upper body appear to have been made before the actress went into the water. Did she fall? Was she pushed? Or possibly, did she jump?
The new interpretations of autopsy reports and pictures did not go so far as to call what happened a homicide, but they did not uphold the original determination that it was an accident.
This gorgeous actress-from-the-past is one everyone has admired in oldies such as “West Side Story” and “Rebel Without a Cause,” and even as the beautiful child who saved Santa Claus in “Miracle on 34th Street.”
But on Thanksgiving weekend, 1981, she somehow slipped into the cold, dark waters off Catalina Island and drowned. Her off-and-on husband, Robert Wagner (who first married the star when she was only 19) is not, at this time, a suspect. But if not the husband, then who might have pushed her off the yacht? Christopher Walkin, a family friend and guest? Or the boat captain? Fans may never know. The case is ongoing, and the mystery has only deepened.