The year of 2000, Vanity Fair contributing editor Sam Kashner composed a story about one of Hollywood’s more shrouded mysteries—the 1981 death of actress Natalie Wood. Only 43 when she fell off a yacht and drowned in the Pacific Ocean. Officially believed to be an accident by authorities at the time, Wood was allegedly overheard crying for help by Marilyn Wayne, a witness who is speaking for the first time…only now, the yacht’s captain, Dennis Davern, has come forth to clearly connect Wood’s husband, Robert Wagner, in her death. As authorities have reopened the investigation into the death of the legendary actress, we look back at Natalie’s life, nearly 30 years to the day since she died. (For more on this case and Vanity Fair’s findings, tune in to “Vanity Fair: Hollywood Scandal,” airing in conjunction with 48 Hours on Saturday, November 19.)
As a child actress, Wood starred as young Susan Walker in the 1947 version of Miracle on 34th Street. She’s shown here with Edmund Gwenn (Santa).
19 years old when she married, Wood wore a beguiling lace hood over a strapless white dress and elbow-length satin gloves. They were married on December 28, 1957, in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Their couples match was reportedly an odd one: he cultivated those in the Hollywood establishment, such as Spencer Tracy and Clark Gable; she relished being called “a juvenile delinquent” by police.
The gleaming couple seated together in July of 1960
In 1962 Wood posed for a promotional portrait for Gypsy in ostrich feathers and diamond, the same year she and Wagner ended their first marriage
Actor Warren Beatty puts his hand on the waist of Wood in France, on the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival in 1962. The pair co-starred in Splendor in the Grass, igniting a romance offscreen.
Standing as a family at the airport in July of 1976, image including Wagner, Wood, and their children Natasha (center) and Courtney (right). Wood passed away five years later aboard the family’s yacht, known as Splendour.
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