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Actress Natalie Wood starred in the films Rebel Without a Cause with James Dean and in West Side Story as Maria. She drowned during a boating trip in 1981.
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Her family and friends gathered at Los Angeles's Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery to say good-bye to the lovely, yet troubled, star. Mourners included Frank Sinatra,
Elizabeth Taylor and Elia Kazan. Former colleagues and associates also shared their remembrances. Director Sydney Pollack said that Wood "was a sensational actress, often underrated because she was a 'movie star' and as pretty as she was. She had a combination of vulnerability and a kind of aura."
Over the years, Wood's turbulent life and its unexpected end have been the subject of numerous books and television programs. Wood's younger sister, Lana Wood, and Dennis Davern, the captain of the Splendour have been especially outspoken about Natalie's death. Davern even co-authored a book about that fateful night, claiming that he had not told the authorities the truth. He later indicated he thought that Wagner was responsible for Wood's death. There were also reports of other boaters hearing a woman cry out for help late that night.
In November 2011, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department announced that it would be reopening the investigation into Wood's death. The department received new information about the case and would be following up on these new leads. While no specific details were released, authorities indicated that Wagner was not an official suspect. In June 2012, the mystery was further prolongued, when the official cause of Wood's death was changed from an "accident"—as originally noted by L.A. County coroner Thomas Noguchi—to "undetermined" on her death certificate.
In the more than 30 years since her passing, the public still remains haunted by Wood's untimely end.
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