Wood – who was married to actor Robert Wagner – starred opposite James Dean in Rebel Without A Cause.
The actress – who also starred in Miracle on 34th Street – drowned while boating off Santa Catalina Island, California, with Wagner and their friend Christopher Walken. Wood had been filming a science fiction drama, Brainstorm, with Walken at the time. The film was released posthumously.
The incident occurred in 1981, when Wood was just 43. It was initially ruled an accidental drowning.
However, according to reports, the actress’s sister, Lana Wood, and the boat’s captain, Dennis Davern, had requested that the case be reopened more than a year ago.
The Los Angeles Times quoted the sheriff’s department as saying: “Recently, sheriff’s homicide investigators were contacted by persons who stated they had additional information about the Natalie Wood Wagner drowning.
“Due to the additional information, sheriff’s homicide bureau has decided to take another look at the case.”
The autopsy report on Wood’s body showed she sported two dozen bruises, including a facial abrasion on her left cheek, and bruises on her arms.
According to police reports around the case, Wood was found a mile from the yacht she had shared with Wagner and Walken, wearing a long nightgown and socks.
Lana Wood told CNN last year: “My sister was not a swimmer and did not know how to swim, and she would never go to another boat or to shore dressed in a nightgown and socks.”
She added: “I just want the truth to come out, the real story.”
Davern, the boat’s captain, told CNN in 2010 that he believed the police’s original investigation was incompetent and regretted misleading investigators by keeping quiet at Wagner’s request.
Wagner has admitted that he and Wood had a heated argument onboard shortly before her death. His publicist issued a statement that said the actor’s family “fully support the efforts of the LA County Sheriff’s Department and trust they will evaluate whether any new information relating to the death of Natalie Wood Wagner is valid, and that it comes from a credible source or sources other than those simply trying to profit from the 30 year anniversary of her tragic death.”