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Police Reopen Investigation Into Movie Star Natalie Wood's 1981 Death

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Police in Los Angeles have reopened an investigation into Natalie Wood's death, three decades after the actress drowned in the waters off Santa Catalina Island, California.

The 43-year-old died after falling overboard her anchored yacht, the Splendour, on 28 November 1981. She was found floating wearing a nightgown and socks. Her husband, US actor Robert Wagner, and fellow actor Christopher Walken, had also been on the boat.

Los Angeles Sheriff Lee Baca said detectives want to talk to the captain of the boat after receiving new information about the circumstances surrounding her death.

Investigators said they had "additional information" about the drowning but did not elaborate.

The captain, Dennis Davern, mentioned sharp altercations that weekend in his book "Goodbye Natalie, Goodbye Splendour", published last year. In an interview on CNN, he described the original investigation as incomplete.

However it is not clear if the two developments are linked.

Wood's death was ruled at the time as an accident, but mystery has surrounded the incident. She is said to have slipped while trying to enter a dinghy and drowned. Bruises on her cheek were proof of her striking the yacht as she went into the water.

The star once said her greatest fear was of dark seawater, and her sister, Lana Wood, said the actress would have never gone to another boat dressed in a nightgown and socks.

Wood, who was nominated for three Oscars, was best known for her performance opposite James Dean in the 1955 film Rebel Without A Cause. She also starred in a number of musicals, including West Side Story and Gypsy. At the time of her death, Wood was filming Brainstorm with Walken, which was later released posthumously.

The case has become one of Hollywood's most fascinating affairs. Tabloids speculated that foul play was involved, but both Wagner and Wood's sister dismissed the allegations. Laura Wood wrote in a biography on her sister : "What happened is that Natalie drank too much that night."

Wagner wrote in a 2009 autobiography that he blamed himself for his wife's death.

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