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Official says Wagner not a suspect in Wood death
On the show, Davern mentioned a book he co-wrote last year on Wood’s death, but refused to say precisely why he blamed Wagner for the three-time Oscar nominee’s death. Davern also denied that he was seeking to profit from interest in the case.
Vanity Fair and the television program “48 Hours Mystery” have teamed up and are including Wood’s case for a television special airing this weekend.
Corina said his agency would talk to Davern at some point and other witnesses would likely be interviewed. He downplayed the role Davern’s book or the anniversary would play on the investigation.
“We’re not concerned with the anniversary date,” Corina said. “It may have jarred some other people’s memories.”
Wood, who was 43 when she died, received three Academy Award nominations, for “Rebel Without a Cause,” “Splendor in the Grass” and “Love with the Proper Stranger.” She appeared in numerous other Hollywood classics, including “West Side Story.”
Wood and Wagner were married twice, first in 1957 before divorcing six years later. They remarried in 1972. Her death during the Thanksgiving weekend in 1981 has long sparked tabloid speculation that foul play was involved.
Wood, Wagner and actor Christopher Walken and Davern spent time on Thanksgiving weekend 1981 both on Catalina Island and drinking on the yacht.
Wagner has dismissed any suggestion that the actress’ death was anything more than an accident. In a 2008 autobiography, he recounted drinking with Wood and Walken at a restaurant and on the boat.
Wood went to the master cabin during an argument between the two men, Wagner said. The last time Wagner saw his wife, she was fixing her hair at a bathroom vanity and she shut the door, he wrote.
Despite various theories about what led Wood to the water, which she feared, he said, it was impossible to know what happened.
“Nobody knows,” he wrote. “There are only two possibilities; either she was trying to get away from the argument, or she was trying to tie the dinghy. But the bottom line is that nobody knows exactly what happened.”
Coroner’s officials said at the time that she was “possibly attempting to board the dinghy and had fallen into the water, striking her face.”
Wood was found wearing a flannel nightgown, socks and a red down jacket, and Davern identified her body for authorities, according to an autopsy report. Her body had superficial bruises, according to the report, but those were considered consistent with drowning.
Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter said the agency hadn’t been asked to do any additional investigation into Wood’s case.
Wagner, star of the television series “Hart to Hart,” wrote in his book that he blamed himself for his wife’s death.
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