It’s a mystery that has transfixed Hollywood for almost 40 years.
On November 29, 1981, actress Natalie Wood drowned while on a boat trip off California with her husband, film actor Robert Wagner.
At the time, her death was ruled as an accident, but questions have always lingered.
And now, in a new documentary, which will air on CBS in the United States, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Lieutenant, John Corina, says he considers Wagner a ‘person of interest’ in the case.
“I haven’t seen him tell the details that match all the other witnesses in this case. I think he’s constantly changed his story a little bit. And his version of events just don’t add up,” he says.
Listen: Holly Wainwright and the Stephens Twins explore our obsession with true crime: is it simply our love of a good story, or something more sinister? (Post continues after audio…)
So what do we really know about what happened that night?
It was Thanksgiving weekend. Wood, who starred in West Side Story and Rebel Without a Cause, was aboard her family’s yacht, Splendour, with Wagner and their guest, Christopher Walken – Wood’s co-star in the movie Brainstorm at the time.
Dennis Davern was skipper of the 60ft luxury vessel on its trip off Santa Catalina Island in California.
On the Saturday night, November 28, the group enjoyed a boozy dinner at the upscale restaurant, Doug’s Harbour Reef, before returning to the boat where they continued to drink heavily.
This is where things get rather murky.
At around midnight, Wood was discovered missing from the boat. The following morning, the 43-year-old, who was said to have a lifelong fear of open water and drowning, was discovered floating around a mile away. She was dressed in a flannel nightgown, knee-high socks and a red down jacket, and was covered in bruising.
The initial investigation concluded that Wood had slipped and fallen in the water, and died of hypothermia.