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NOV
18
2 YEARS

Christopher Walken Hires Lawyer to Handle Natalie Wood Investigation (Exclusive)

Sources tell THR that Walken is not a suspect in the re-opened case looking at the actress' 1981 death by drowning.

Christopher Walken WhyHunger Horizontal - P 2011
Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images
Christopher Walken

As the investigation into the 1981 death of actress Natalie Wood heats up, Christopher Walken has hired a lawyer in connection with the case.

The Hollywood Reporter has learned that Mathew Rosengart, a former federal prosecutor turned litigation specialist at Los Angeles' Greenberg Traurig firm, is now representing Walken. The actor was one of the last people to see Wood, his co-star in the film Brainstorm, before she mysteriously died in 1981.

PHOTOS: Best Pictures of Natalie Wood

Sources tell THR that Los Angeles Sheriff's Department investigators do not consider Walken to be a suspect in the inquiry, which was officially reopened Friday.

PHOTOS: 12 of Hollywood's Most Mysterious Deaths

At a press conference, Lt. John Corina said the case is still being treated as an accidental drowning but refused to provide details on the inquiry or say who would be interviewed in connection with the probe. Corina said the department had received new, credible information that prompted further investigation.

VIDEO: 5 of Natalie Wood's Most Memorable Roles

Walken, Wood and Wood's husband Robert Wagner were all aboard a boat off the coast of Catalina Island when Wood disappeared and was later found dead in the ocean. Corina said at the Friday press conference that Wagner is not a suspect.

VIDEO: Natalie Wood's Boat Captain Admits to Lying, Says Robert Wagner 'Responsible' for Her Death

Sources say Rosengart has come aboard to advise Walken in the inquiry. Though the attorney spent 10 years as a prosecutor with the U.S. Justice Department, his hiring does not mean Walken is expecting an adversarial process. Rosengart is a civil litigator with a strong entertainment litigation practice, and Walken is expected to cooperate fully with investigators during the probe.

STORY: Christopher Walken Offered Natalie Wood Death Theory in Past Interview

On Friday, new organizations reported an erroneous story which claimed Walken called in to a radio station to comment on the night of Wood's death. However, the segment the station aired was done by a Walken impersonator who has a weekly bit on ESPN980, and not real

Email: Matthew.Belloni@thr.com
Twitter: @THRMattBelloni