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Natalie Wood's sister relieved at new probe into star's death

November 18, 2011 |  5:55 pm

Natalie Wood's sister said Friday that she's pleased that the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Departmernt has reopened the investigation into her sister's 1981 death.

Lana Wood told CNN on Friday that she's always believed there was more to the death than authorities revealed.

“I think what’s important is not what I think happened or someone else thinks happened,” Wood said. “I think what’s important is to get to the bottom of what actually did happen.”

PHOTOS: Natalie Wood | 1938-1981

Natalie Wood, 43, was boating off Santa Catalina Island on Thanksgiving weekend 1981 with her husband,  Robert Wagner, Christopher Walken and others when she somehow went overboard and died. Officials at the time ruled her death an accident, but there has since been much speculation about whether there was more to the story.

Wood and Wagner spent the holiday weekend on their 60-foot yacht, Splendour, along with Walken, then Wood's co-star in the film "Brainstorm."

On the evening of Saturday, Nov. 28, authorities said, the boat anchored and the trio had dinner at Doug's Harbor Reef restaurant on Catalina. Later, they returned to the yacht and had drinks. Wagner and Walken had an argument. Wagner said in a 2008 interview with The Times that the argument concerned how much of one's personal life should be sacrificed in pursuit of one's career and art.

They eventually calmed down and said good night, Wagner said, but when he went to bed, Wood wasn't there.

Wagner thought that his wife had taken a small inflatable boat by herself, as she had done before, his spokesman said after the incident. After 10 to 15 minutes passed without her returning, Wagner went to look for her on a small cruiser, the spokesman said. When he couldn't find her, he contacted the harbor patrol.

Authorities discovered Wood's body about 8 a.m. Sunday, about a mile away from the yacht. The dinghy was found beached nearby.


Robert Wagner supports inquiry into Natalie Wood's death

Yacht captain blames Robert Wagner for Natalie Wood's death

Natalie Wood investigation prompted by boat captain's comments

-- Richard Winton

Photo: The Los Angeles Times front page article reporting Natalie Wood's 1981 death. Credit: Los Angeles Times