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Natalie Wood likely slipped and fell to her death: Christopher Walken

November 18, 2011 |  2:17 pm

Christopher Walken told Playboy that Natalie Wood probably slipped and fell from a yacht dinghy before she died
Actor Christopher Walken has rarely discussed the 1981 death of Natalie Wood, telling Playboy magazine in one of the few times he's talked about the case that the actress probably slipped and fell from a yacht dinghy while off Catalina Island.

"She was probably half asleep, and she was wearing a coat," said Walken, who was aboard the yacht owned by Wood and husband Robert Wagner at the time. "She apparently moved the boat around, slipped, hit her head, fell into the water.

"She was discovered separate from the boat: Why would she get into the boat, then get out of it and into the water? She couldn't swim. She hit her head, went into the water, the boat floated away, she floated away," Walken told Playboy.

The actress' death has again moved into the spotlight as authorities announced Friday that they are reopening their 30-year-old investigation into a case.

Her death was ruled an accidental drowning, and authorities said Friday that has not changed, even though the case is being reexamined.

The Associated Press reported Friday that Walken had discussed the case on a sports talk station in Washington, but the wire service later withdrew the report, saying the radio interview was a hoax.

FULL COVERAGE: Natalie Wood investigation reopened

During the 1997 Playboy interview, Walken brushed off questions about a fight with Wagner.

"The police thoroughly investigated the whole thing, everybody was questioned. If there had been anything wrong, certainly the police would have looked into it," Walken said.

But now authorities are taking a new look into the case after receiving what they say is "substantial" new information.

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Lt. John Corina said Friday that several sources had come forward with new information that warranted "another look at the case," but that Wagner is not a suspect in the death.

Corina said the two investigators assigned to the reopened case would be talking to Dennis Davern, captain of the yacht, Splendour. Davern said on national TV Friday morning that he lied to investigators 30 years ago about some details of the case.

The 30th anniversary of Wood’s death is Nov. 29.

Davern said in the TV interview and in a 2009 book he co-wrote that there was a heated argument between Wood and Wagner on the night of her death.

Wagner on Thursday released a statement expressing support for a new investigation. The actor "trusts they will evaluate whether any new information relating to the death of Natalie Wood Wagner is valid, and that it comes from a credible source or sources other than those simply trying to profit from the 30-year anniversary of her tragic death," Wagner's spokesman, Alan Nierob, said in the statement.

In a Twitter message, Lana Wood, the actress’ sister, said: "Its gonna be tough for us all ... but Natalie deserves the truth."


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

-- Steve Marble

Photo: Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood at the London premiere of "The Godfather" on Aug. 9, 1972. Photo: Tom Wargacki / WireImage