I had a crush on Natalie Wood. Still do, truth be told.
She was beautiful and dark haired. In fact, I liked her type so much that I married one.
But I was just 18 when Wood, the actress, died tragically on a night clouded with mystery back on November 29, 1981. She had been enjoying a night on a yacht with husband Robert Wagner and actor Christopher Walken, with whom she had just wrapped filming of the movie "Brainstorm."
The official cause of death was drowning, which would have made sense normally, as Wood had clearly fallen overboard. But friends---and Wagner---noted that Wood was afraid of water and it was out of character for her to put herself in a situation where drowning was even a possibility.
Even after it was determined that Wood had been drinking prior to the accident, rumors and innuendo swirled.
The presence of a second man, Walken, only added to the whispers. Wood and Walken had been acting cozy, according to some, and speculation arose that he and Wagner may have gotten into a lively discussion sometime the night of the accident.
Yet how that supposed argument played a role in what happened to Wood was never fully explained, of course.
Natalie Wood was just 43 when she perished.
Maybe we'll get some more answers about her death, maybe we won't---but the Los Angeles homicide detectives have re-opened their investigation into what happened that fateful night, regardless.
The news of the LA police department taking another look at Wood's death happens to come on the same week that the film version of "West Side Story," in which Wood starred, was released on Blu-ray Disc to mark its 50th anniversary.
So why the re-opening of the investigation?
According to the Associated Press, it's "because of new information detectives received about the case, Los Angeles County sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said Thursday."
No additional details were provided, but a detective planned to hold a news conference Friday, and anyone with information about the case was being asked to contact sheriff's officials, the AP reported.
The AP also said that a spokesperson for Wagner said that the actor has yet to be contacted by police, but that he has faith that the department will take "appropriate action."
The police news conference should be interesting.
I was never one to be infatuated with Wood's death, as mysterious as it may have been. I don't think anything malicious happened to her. But it wouldn't shock me if Wagner, who blamed himself for his wife's death in a 2009 book, or Walken know more than they've been letting on.
Regardless, Natalie Wood was a beautiful woman and at 43 died way too young.
"Brainstorm," by the way, is a good movie. The concept is that Walken, a scientist, invents a machine that can record your thoughts and even physical feelings (including pain) by placing a device on the head, which lays everything down onto this wide, shiny gold recording "tape."
Wood plays Walken's girlfriend in the movie, released after her death.
Wood and Wagner were married twice: from 1957 to 1963, then again in 1972.
Maybe Lana Wood, Natalie's sister, has it pegged right, after all.
"What happened is that Natalie drank too much that night," Lana Wood wrote in her biography.