Natalie Wood (1938 – 1981)

Natalie Wood harlequin


The body of Natalie Wood, the actress, was found today in a rocky cove off Santa Catalina Island, the Los Angeles County sheriff’s department said. Investigators attributed her death to accidental drowning, pending further inquiry. The discovery was made about 7:45 A.M. from a sheriff’s department helicopter after a seven-hour search, said Pat Soll, a sheriff’s deputy.

Miss Wood, 43 years old, was staying in a 55-foot cabin cruiser with her husband, Robert Wagner, 51, star of the television series “Hart to Hart,” while visiting the island 22 miles off the Southern California coast. Miss Wood, her husband and Christopher Walken, her co-star in the nearly completed film ”Brainstorm,” arrived at the island Saturday afternoon. They had dinner on the island before returning to the yacht, the Splendor.

Shortly after midnight the others learned that Miss Wood was missing, and Mr. Wagner, Mr. Walken and the ship’s captain began looking for her. At 3:30, the Coast Guard was called, and at 6, the Los Angeles County lifeguard division at Catalina Island joined the search.

Miss Wood’s body was found floating just beneath the surface about 200 yards from where a small inflatable motorized dinghy was lodged in a small cove at Blue Cavern Point. The point is half a mile from Isthmus Cove, where the Splendor was moored.

It is not known if the actress had slipped or had jumped from the boat, the sheriff’s department said. Miss Wood’s body was fully clothed except for shoes, said Roger Smith, who operates rescue boats for Los Angeles County on Catalina Island. He added that there was no evidence to suggest her death was anything but accidental.

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