Natalie Wood would recently have celebrated her 80th birthday. Sadly, the talented actress died in a mysterious drowning accident in 1981 when she was just 43 years of age. As her death was so sudden and the circumstances were so unusual, there were many theories that her death may not have been an accident and it may have been as the result of foul play. To mark the anniversary of what would have been her birthday, American Media Inc. is launching a 12-part podcast in the hope of uncovering the truth surrounding her death.
They have already launched the first two episodes of the podcast, which is called ‘Fatal Voyage: The Mysterious Death of Natalie Wood.‘ This series will highlight the events surrounding her death and the different theories that have been proposed since.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office reopened the investigation into Natalie Wood’s death in 2011. Rolling Stone reported several months ago that the investigation had begun to focus on Robert Wagner and that the actor had been described as a person of interest.
It is hardly surprising that Wagner is of interest to the investigation as he was married to Natalie Wood at the time of her death. The couple had initially been married from 1957 to 1962 before separating and then remarrying in 1972. He was also on board the yacht with Wood when the alleged accident took place.
The pair were sailing on the yacht off the coast of Santa Catalina Island, California, in November 1981. Joining them on the yacht were Christopher Walken, who was co-starring with Wood in ‘Braintrust’, and Dennis Davern, the captain of the ship. Wood suddenly disappeared, and she was discovered the following morning a mile from the yacht wearing nothing but her nightgown.
The initial investigation into Wood’s death ruled that she had died from accidental drowning. However, there were several pieces of information that made this seem unlikely. For one thing, Wood had an extreme fear of deep water, so it was unlikely that she had decided to go for a swim. Secondly, her fellow passengers on the yacht gave conflicting statements.
The original investigation also left many questions unanswered. For example, it was never revealed how Wood and the yacht’s dingy had both ended up in the water. Such unanswered questions are what has provoked suspicions regarding the circumstances of her death.
A year after the investigation into the actress’ death was reopened, a second coroner ruled that she had died of drowning and other determined factors, and her autopsy report was amended accordingly. While this hinted that other factors contributed to her death and suggested that it was not necessarily an accident, it did not clear up the events surrounding the tragedy or confirm exactly how the actress died.
The first episode of the podcast takes a closer look at the other determined factors. One contributor to the podcast is Ralph Hernandez who works as a homicide detective for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. He explains in the first episode of the podcast that Wood had bruises that were consistent with being an assault victim. This is in contrast with the findings of the original autopsy report which claims she got the bruises while trying to climb back onto the yacht.
Hernandez goes on to explain that the information that is now available surrounding the events of that fateful night and the evidence that they have collected indicates that foul play is a definite possibility. It certainly seems that Natalie Wood’s death is more suspicious than the original reports suggested and that not all the information was taken into account at that time.
Dylan Howard from American Media Inc. is hosting the podcast. He has also been working alongside researchers for the last seven years to investigate the case and this has involved going over the case files. As this podcast has been so thoroughly researched, it should be extremely revealing for viewers to watch and provide some insightful information about the actress’ untimely death.
Howard is the vice president and content officer for AMI and this means he oversees several publications, including The National Examiner, Globe, RadarOnline.com, OK!, The National Enquirer, Star, and US Weekly.