7:58 PM PST 11/17/2011 by Sofia M. Fernandez, Philiana Ng, Chris Godley
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said Nov. 17 that it was reopening its case in the death of actress Natalie Wood, who died at the age of 43 in 1981 while boating off the Southern California shore at Santa Catalina Island. She was nominated for three Academy Awards during her career, for her work in "Rebel Without a Cause," "Splendor in the Grass" and "Love With the Proper Stranger."
Wood is said to have developed a fear of drowning after she was nearly swept into a waterfall when a stunt went wrong on the set of The Green Promise. Well aware of this, director Elia Kazan allegedly tricked her into doing the scenes at the water reservoir for Splendor in the Grass.
Second Time Around
Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood were married twice -- from 1957 to 1962 and again from 1972 until her death. They had one child, a daughter named Courtney, and appeared together in projects including the TV movie The Affair and TV adaptation of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.
Warren Beatty and Natalie Wood
Warren Beatty and Natalie Wood attend the Academy Awards in 1962. The two reportedly began their romance while Beatty was still engaged to Joan Collins.
'60s Screen Siren
Wood, seen here circa 1960, was at the top of her game in the '60s with screen credits that included West Side Story, Splendor in the Grass and Gypsy.
Natalie Wood and Tab Hunter attend a fancy dinner event in 1955. Wood and Hunter co-starred in two films: 1956's The Burning Hills and The Girl He Left Behind, released that same year.
Three-time Oscar nominee
Wood was nominated for the Academy Award three times during her lifetime. She earned a supporting actress nom for 1955's Rebel Without a Cause, and best actress noms for Splendor in the Grass and Love With the Proper Stranger.
Natalie Wood poses in an Yves Saint Laurent outfit on Sept. 19, 1964, in Paris. She got her first role at the age of four in a movie titled Happy Land, which was released in 1943.
Tennessee Williams, Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner
Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner have a smile with writer Tennessee Williams (left) at the Cannes Film Festival in May 1976. Wood starred in the 1966 film adaptation This Property Is Condemned, which also featured Robert Redford. That project was based on Williams' one-act play of the same name. Wood also starred in a TV version of Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof with Wagner.
Natalie Wood with Robert Wagner and children
Natalie Wood, seen here with then-husband Robert Wagner, also an actor, and her children Natasha (center) and Courtney (right), arrives at a London airport on July 4, 1976. Since she began her career at a young age, Wood appeared in 56 projects, most notably 1961's West Side Story.
Natalie Wood did her own singing to play burlesque dancer/stripper Gypsy Rose Lee. Lee actually came to the set and read from her memoir during the making of the film.
One of the 'Cool Kids'
On the orgy starring “all the cool kids” of the Rebel Without a Cause era, which Dennis Hopper claimed Wood would only attend if they gave her a champagne bath, which gave her such a crotch rash she shrieked and had to be rushed to the hospital, thus missing the whole orgy, Hopper told THR's Tim Appelo: "God, I’m weird that I would talk about this. But it was funny."
Sean Connery, Henry Fonda, Wood and Karl Malden were among the high-wattage cast members in the 1979 doomsday film.
'Miracle on 34th Street'
The holiday classic stars Wood as a girl who does not believe in Santa Claus until a department store employee, Kris Kringle, wins her over.
Robert Wagner told the U.K.'s Daily Mail of Wood's mysterious death, "Did I blame myself? If I'd been there, I could have done something.
"I wasn't, but ultimately, a man is responsible for his loved one. Yes, I blamed myself. I would have done anything in the world to protect her. Anything. I lost a woman I loved with all my heart, not once but twice, and I will never completely come to terms with that."
'Rebel Without a Cause'
Natalie Wood and James Dean in the 1955 cinema classic.
'Scudda Hoo! Scudda Hay!'
The 1948 family film is best known for being one of Marilyn Monroe's first efforts. She's credited as "Girl in Canoe."
'Splendor in the Grass'
The 1961 drama won a slew of awards and nominations including a screenplay Oscar win for William Inge, a best director DGA nom for Elia Kazan, and best picture, actor and actress Golden Globe noms for the film and leads Warren Beatty and Natalie Wood.
Walk of Fame
The Hollywood Walk of Fame gave Wood a posthumous star in 1986. It sits at 7000 Hollywood Blvd.
'The Girl He Left Behind'
In this 1956 film, Wood works her way through college while her sweetheart, played by Tab Hunter, does military service.
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office Reopening Case
At a press conference held Nov. 18, L.A. County sheriff’s detective John Corina said there was "substantial" and "credible" information to reopen the case involving Wood's 1981 death. Corina noted that Wood's husband, Robert Wagner, was not a suspect.
Jared Leto, Lupita Nyong'o and Alfonso Cuaron took home top honors at the Academy Awards on Sunday, held at Hollywood's Dolby Theatre, with performances by Pharrell Williams and Idina Menzel, selfies with host Ellen DeGeneres and a photobomb by Benedict Cumberbatch. View gallery