Natalie Wood's sister speaks out on 'suspicious' death: 'All that matters to me now is the truth'

Lana Wood is hoping to finally get closure for the mysterious death of her older sister, Hollywood actress Natalie Wood.

Natalie's body was found floating in the water off Santa Catalina Island on Nov. 29, 1981. She was 43.

"It's very overwhelming and I don't know what to think right now," Lana told Fox News in a written statement. "... I have made my feelings clear over the years as to what I think went on that night. What do I think happened? A lot of lives were ruined, that's what I think happened. All that matters to me now is the truth."

Lana added, "[This is] certainly a step in the right direction into finding out the truth."

The 71-year-old fellow actress, who starred as Bond girl Plenty O'Toole in 1971's "Diamonds Are Forever," also told Inside Edition in a report Friday that she believes Robert Wagner has not fully explained what happened to her sister in 1981.

Actress Natalie Wood, shown in this undated file photograph, is the subject of a new book titled ["Natasha -The Biography of Natalie Wood" by author Suzanne Finstad.]  &W ONLY  - PBEAHUKZBBN

Natalie Wood died in 1981 after a night of drinking.  (Reuters)

“Somebody's lying," said Lana. "Somebody hurt her. Somebody's hurting all of us. Stand up and tell me the truth! I know things go bad. I know people lose their tempers! I know bad things happen when you don’t want them to. So, stand up and tell me that... Tell me what happened to her.” 

FILE - This Nov. 29, 1981 file photo, the 55-foot yacht "Splendour," belonging to actor Robert Wagner and his wife, actress Natalie Wood, sits in the waters at Avalon, Calif., on Santa Catalina Island, near where rescuers found the body of Wood, an apparent drowning victim. Investigators are now calling Wagner a "person of interest" in the 1981 death of Wood. Mystery has swirled around Wood's death. It was declared an accident but police reopened the case in 2011 to see whether Wagner or anyone else played a role (AP Photo/Paul J. Harrington, File)

Natalie Wood was traveling on her family's yacht, Splendour, at the time of her death.  (AP)


Wagner, who is now 87, was married to Natalie at the time of her death. The “West Side Story” star was traveling on her family’s yacht, Splendour, with Wagner, the ship’s captain Dennis Davern and Natalie's friend, actor Christopher Walken.

robert wagner natalie wood ap

Natalie Wood's then-husband Robert Wagner has been named a "person of interest" in her death.  (AP)

Her body was found in the water by a restaurant owner in November 1981 after an apparent night of drinking. She was wearing only a nightgown and a red jacket.

Police originally deemed Natalie's death an accident after Wagner told authorities he believed his then-wife slipped while trying to board a dinghy, hit her head and drowned.

Lana is skeptical of Wagner’s account.

“She would have never, never in a million years left the boat undressed," she said. "Undressed! She was in a nightgown!" 

On Thursday, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office announced Wagner has been named a “person of interest” in the “suspicious” death.

FILE - In this April 9, 1979 file photo, actress Natalie Wood is shown at the 51st Annual Academy Awards in Los Angeles. Los Angeles sheriff's homicide detectives are taking another look at Wood's 1981 drowning death based on new information, officials announced Thursday, Nov. 17, 2011. (AP Photo, file)

Natalie Wood's death has been deemed "suspicious" by investigators.  (AP)

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Lieutenant John Corina told “48 Hours” that investigators would like to talk to the actor about the events leading up to Natalie's death. After excerpts of the “48 Hours” interview were released, the office confirmed Natalie’s drowning was being investigated and that new witnesses had come forward.

Davern, the ship’s captain, said he heard Wagner and Natalie fighting before her death. Another witness told investigators they heard yelling and crashing sounds from the couple’s room.

FILE - In this April 23, 1972 file photo, actor Robert Wagner and his former wife, actress Natalie Wood, pose at the Dorchester Hotel in London, England. Investigators are now calling Wagner a "person of interest" in the 1981 death of his wife Natalie Wood. Mystery has swirled around Wood's death. It was declared an accident but police reopened the case in 2011 to see whether Wagner or anyone else played a role (AP File Photo)

Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner married in December 1957.  (AP)

Soon after that, other witnesses claimed they heard a man and woman arguing on the back of the boat. They believe the voices belonged to the couple.


Lana said not a day goes by when she does not think about her sister.

“I don’t imagine that even when I know, there's going to be a single day that passes when I don’t wish Natalie was here and wish that I could talk to her,” she said.

A rep for Wagner has declined to comment. He has refused to talk to officials about Wood's death since the case was re-opened in 2011.

Natalie and Wagner married in December 1957. The two began dating when she was 18 and he was 26. They divorced in April 1962 and re-married in 1972.