Natalie Wood death investigation: Robert Wagner cooperated, has no new info - lawyer
Robert Wagner's lawyer says the 82-year-old actor has for the last 30 years "fully cooperated" in the investigation of the 1981 death of his wife, actress Natalie Wood, and adds that he has no new information to provide amid the reopening of the case last year.
The case remains one of Hollywood's biggest mysteries. Wood, who played Maria in the musical film "West Side Story," died at age 43 on Nov. 29, 1981 during a yacht trip near Catalina Island in California with Wagner and actor Christopher Walken, who co-starred with her in the sci-fi thriller "Brainstorm." The men were never named as suspects. Her death was ruled an accidental drowning.
The inquiry into the case was reopened in November 2011 after new evidence was found. On Monday, following the removal of a security hold, an updated autopsy report was released and revealed that the coroner had questioned the cause of death, which was subsequently changed to "drowning and other undetermined factors."
On Thursday, the Associated Press quoted an investigator as saying that Wagner had refused to be interviewed by detectives since then, adding that he is the only person among those who were on the yacht on the night Wood died who have declined to talk to them following the reopening. More than 100 people have been interviewed in total.
"Mr. Wagner has fully cooperated over the last 30 years in the investigation of the accidental drowning of his wife in 1981," Wagner's family's attorney, Blair Berk, said in a statement obtained by OTRC.com. "Mr. Wagner has been interviewed on multiple occasions by the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department and answered every single question asked of him by detectives during those interviews."
"After 30 years, neither Mr. Wagner nor his daughters have any new information to add to this latest investigation, which was unfortunately prompted by those seeking to exploit and sensationalize the 30th anniversary of the death of his wife and their mother," the lawyer added.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office had no immediate comment.
In the updated autopsy report, the coroner cited "concern" about "non-accidental mechanism for certain bruises of the upper extremities," adding that there were also "conflicting statements" as to whether or not Wood went missing from the boat and whether she and Wagner had verbal arguments. (Check out more details about the new inquiry into Natalie Wood's death.)
Wagner, known to younger audiences as the villain "Number Two" in the "Austin Powers" films, married Wood in 1957. They divorced about four years later, then remarried in 1972 and had one child together -- a daughter. Both had another daughter each from previous relationships. Wagner married for the fourth time in 1990.
Wood was born as Natalia Zakharenko in California. She started out as a successful child actress in films such as "Miracle on 34th Street." She later went to star in several films including the 1955 film "Rebel Without a Cause" opposite James Dean and the movie adaptation of "Gypsy."
Wood earned two Oscar nominations for "Splendor in the Grass" in 1961, the same year "West Side Story" was released, and "Love with the Proper Stranger" in 1963.