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It Won't Bring Her Back.

Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood on "Splendour"For those of you wondering why I haven't written about the reopening of the Natalie Wood drowning case from 1981 there are three reasons. First, recalling a childhood trauma is unpleasant (Natalie was my first experience with the death of a loved one. An abstract "loved one", sure, but still... Traumatic!). Second, it won't bring her back and I'd rather remember the actress than the death. In fact, I have West Side Story 50th anniversary prizes to give out soon. Third and finally, I've been swamped time-wise. But if you'd like the latest updates, The Wrap has been steadily updating the information. It's all still very inconsequential so one wonders why exactly they reopened the case. There were only four people aboard: Natalie, the captain (who claims to have been drunk and has changed his story), her husband RJ (who is supposedly not a suspect), and her then co-star Christopher Walken (who has now hired a lawyer). Natalie and Walken were making Brainstorm at the time which was released two years after her death.

Christopher Walken was 38 (and a recent Oscar winner) and Natalie was 43 when they made "Brainstorm"

CBS 48 Hours Mystery is airing a new special on the 30 year old tragedy tonight. (The boat they were on was long since sold but it's now docked in Honolulu.) I probably shouldn't watch it but I suspect I will.


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Reader Comments (11)

Agreed! We should celebrate the 50th anniversary of her best film rather than her passing. Yey! West Side Story prizes!

November 19, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterajnrules

It IS the 50th anniversary of her best film... but it's not West Side Story. Splendor in the Grass!! I am very curious to know what this new information is that the police have is. If Wagner isn't a suspect then what is the new theory? Although it sounds morbid, I am glad to see Natalie back in the news. Her legacy doesn't get the attention of Audrey or Elizabeth. I hope this will make people remember how fantastic she was and bring her to attention to a whole new generation.

November 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRM

I really don't want to hear anything about it unless they have actual new information. Saw this yesterday and the headline was "Robert Wagner not a suspect". Geez, the media is just trying to find a new celebrity scandal aren't they?

November 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCity_Of_Lights

If Wagner isn't a suspect, then who would be?

November 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJohn T

I've often wondered what kind of career Natalie might have had in her 50's, 60's and now in her 70's. To think she'd only be 73 and what the past 30 years might have brought us. A well deserved career resurgence maybe? She could have been an american Judi Dench (i'm speaking trajectory-wise). Intermitent success as a young adult but really only hitting her stride in later life. Think of what today's auteurs could do with her. Sigh.

November 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTim L

I always wondered why Robert Wagner wasn't a suspect. I want ANSWERS!

November 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterClark

I have to say, it was spooky to see the updates about her death on TMZ as if it just happened this week, as if she was 43 years old in 2011. The obsession over it isn't surprising, she's old Hollywood and damaged--but she's not someone people bring up a lot a la Grace, Elizabeth and Marilyn.

November 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBia

I was thinking about her the other day for no particular reason - I know she was supposed to be in a stage version of Anastasia with Lawrence Olivier when she died (or so my memory tells me) and I guess like Tim I was wondering what sort of career she might have had.

I didn't know they were reopening the case, Nat, but I do remember clearly that it was the first time (and possibly the last) I ever cried at the death of a celebrity, so I had the very same sense as you - the loss of an "abstract loved one".

November 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJanice

Nat do u like Natalie 'cos her name is similar,did u ever notice,sue you must've done,how do u think her career would have gone as she got older?

November 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMARK

Mark -- from my understanding of her career decisions around the time she was definitely leaning towards television. Hollywood still has ageism problems with actresses but the 80s were much worse for 40somethings -- now it seems you don't run into trouble till your late 40s and 50s. My guess is she would have ended up being a prime top soap opera sensation (a la Joan Collins or what have you)

She would be 73 now. Actors from the same vintage as Natalie to give us a movie sense of how old she'd be now (though its immediately noticeable that the men get more work than the ladies) in this age range.

Terence Stamp
Frank Langella
Claudia Cardinale
Jon Voight
Diane Baker
Liv Ullman
Connie Stevens
Christopher Lloyd

November 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNathanielR

John T -- apparently saying someone is "officially not a suspect" is not the same thing as saying they aren't involved. "person of interest"? I don't watch procedurals so i don't understand these things ;)

November 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNathanielR
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