"THE DEATH of a beautiful woman is, unquestionably, the most poetic subject in the world," wrote Edgar Allan Poe.
Natalie Wood, the exquisite child actress turned even more exquisite adult star, died in 1981. The actress, always fearful of the water, somehow fell from her and husband Robert Wagner's yacht, and drowned off Catalina Island. That death rocked Hollywood to its core. Natalie (and Wagner) were still-vibrant survivors of a show biz much altered by changing times and tastes. They entertained with panache. They were beautiful. And so in love, in their second marriage. Wood was branching out to try her hand at stage work, encouraged by the success of her friend and idol, Elizabeth Taylor.
There was always an element of mystery surrounding Natalie's death, conflicting stories, salacious speculation. But after a few weeks of headlines, the story vanished from the front pages. From time to time, the terrible tale would resurface but always faded. This year, however, the L.A. police decided to "reopen" the case. Not surprisingly, this action appeared to have been sparked by a new book about Wood. Most everybody predicted nothing would come of this, and nothing did. The police announced several weeks later that no new evidence had been found and the case was closed. Not quite. Last week, the cops piped up again. The investigation was still open, and Wood's death was now classified as "undetermined." Neither accident or homicide. They hastened to add that Robert Wagner was "not a suspect."
Good grief, let it rest. Thirty years have gone by. It was a horrible accident/incident. This is agony for Natalie's two daughters one of whom has some serious issues. Nothing will bring her back.
A new documentary about the terrible end of Diana and Dodi, titled "Unlawful Killing" was supposed to debut next month. It was financed by Al-Fayed. But now, it appears to have been shelved, permanently. The producers were unable to secure insurance against almost inevitable lawsuits that would occur. Distributors would not handle the film without protection. I don't see Mohamed Al-Fayed defeated in this. Somehow, some way, "Unlawful Killing" will be seen.
But, as with Natalie and Diana, there were always issues in Monroe's death--time discrepancies, varying accounts from this or that intimate. But at the time, her suicide--or an accidental overdose--was pretty much accepted. It fit her image--the tragic Cinderella. However, as the years rolled on, and more came to light about Marilyn's involvement with John and Robert Kennedy, conspiracy theorists began to weave at least a dozen tales of Monroe being murdered, for one reason or another. The cast of characters became a Marx Brothers movie of chaotic assassins, wire-tapping, red diaries, tell-all press conferences and the kitchen sink. Today, almost nobody accepts Monroe as a suicide. The very idea than she might have had a sudden depression and attempted to end her pain--as she had several times in the past--is utterly dismissed.
Last week, a check Monroe wrote out a day before she died was put up for auction. It was also "analyzed." The purchase was for a chest of drawers for her new home in Brentwood. A forensic psychologist chimed in and insisted this was proof positive Monroe was not "planning to commit suicide." Well, gee. Nobody ever said she was planning it. If that had been the case she certainly would have had a touch up to her roots, not to mention a manicure and pedicure. (These things were noted by the police who first saw her body.) Suicide often just "happens" to people who struggle with depression, and who also have an inordinate amount of medication handy, as the chronically sleepless Marilyn did. But the "she was murdered" posse are pleased with one more notch on their side. Marilyn's moods were reportedly mercurial the last day of her life, as they had been most of the days of her life. We will simply never know what happened on that hot August night in Brentwood. Period.
But I think even Marilyn herself might say, in that soft, girlish voice, "Oh, come on now, enough. I'm dead. I'd much rather you talk about 'The Prince and the Showgirl.' That's still alive."
Check out other Celebrity Photos of the Week:
Jason Sudeikis shared a laugh with Rebecca Hall on set of "Tumbledown" in Boston on April 22
Taylor Swift engaged in some retail therapy in NYC on April 22.
Drew Barrymore gave birth to her second child, a baby girl named Frankie Barrymore Kopelman, on April 22.
Katy Perry headed to Jimmy Kimmel's studio in Hollywood, Calif., on April 21.
Sofia Vergara wowed at "Good Morning America" on April 21.
Selena Gomez went on a coffee run in Studio City, Calif. on April 21.
Busy Philipps and husband Marc Silverstein had some fun at Coachella on April 20.
Gwen Stefani headed to her parents' house on Easter Sunday, April 20, with her husband Gavin Rossdale and three kids, Kingston, Zuma and Apollo.
Tia Mowry soaked up some sun in Cabo, Mexico with her husband Cory Hardrict on April 19.
Jennifer Lopez and boyfriend Casper Smart had a casual dinner at Madeo in West Hollywood on April 17.
Aubrey Plaza, Jason Ritter, Dade Constantine, and Kayla Dobson attended the "About Alex" premiere afterparty during the Tribeca Film Festival at Kutsher's Tribeca in NYC, April 17.
Pregnant singer Christina Aguilera and her fiance Matthew Rutler were photographed out and about in New York City on April 17.
Katie Holmes spotted out and about in New York City on April 17.
"Downton Abbey" actress Jessica Brown Findlay hopped on a train at Manchester Piccadilly Train Station after her interview on "BBC Breakfast" on April 17 in England.
Heather Graham visited NBC Studios for an appearance on "The Today Show" on April 17 in New York City.
Justin Bieber and his crew, including Lil Za, were spotted out for dinner at The Grove in Los Angeles, Calif., on April 16.
Georgia May Jagger, daughter of Mick Jagger, filmed a commercial for Rimmel London in London, England, on April 15.
Halle Berry filmed scenes for her TV series "Extant" in Century City, Calif. on April 15.
Lauren Conrad did some shopping in West Hollywood on April 15.
Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx and Dane DeHaan posed during a photocall for their film "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" prior to the German premiere of the film in Berlin on April 15.
Kim Kardashian and her fiance Kanye West walked hand-in-hand as they went shopping in Givenchy, Balmain and Lanvin on April 14 in Paris, France.
Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan-Tatum joked around backstage at the 2014 MTV Movie Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live in Los Angeles, Calif., on April 13.
Lupita Nyong'o arrived at the 2014 MTV Movie Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live in Los Angeles, Calif., on April 13.
Taylor Swift and a friend were spotted out and about in New York City on April 12.
Jessica Biel was all smiles as she headed out for an espresso in New York City on April 12.
Leonardo DiCaprio stopped by the McDonald’s® and Stingray Desert Coachella Pool Party at the Bootsy Bellows Estate on April 12 to celebrate the launch of McDonald’s® Bacon Clubhouse Burger™ and the 2014 Corvette Stingray.
Julianne Hough looked Coachella cool at The Old Navy Oasis in Indio, Calif.m on April 12.
Selena Gomez and Kendall and Kylie Jenner at the first weekend of The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on April 11.
Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield visited BBC Radio 1 in London on April 9 to promote their new film, "The Amazing Spider-Man 2."
Pregnant Kristin Cavallari was spotted running in West Hollywood on April 9.
Danica McKellar left "Dancing with the Stars" practice in Hollywood on April 8.
Julianne Moore was pretty in white while out in NYC April 8.
Anne Hathaway wrapped herself up in a giant coat while out in NYC on April 8.
Lady Gaga struck her usual unique pose outside the Roseland Ballroom on April 7.
British socialite <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/07/peaches-geldof-dead_n_5105968.html" target="_blank">Peaches Geldof died</a> of an "unexplained and sudden" cause on April 7. She was 25.
"Dancing with the Stars" star Derek Hough took a break from rehearsal on April 7 to snack on the new Ritz crackers.
Jamie Lynn Sigler was spotted purchasing a Rembrandt whitening kit at Target in New York on April 7.
Faith Hill and Tim McGraw at the 2014 Academy Of Country Music Awards at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada on April 6.
Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton at the 2014 Academy Of Country Music Awards at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada on April 6.
Carrie Underwood at the 2014 Academy Of Country Music Awards at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada on April 6.
Taylor Swift at the 2014 Academy Of Country Music Awards at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada on April 6.
Cameron Diaz made an appearance on "Wetten, dass..???" TV show on April 5 in Offenburg, Germany.
Heidi Klum attended the "America's Got Talent" red carpet event at Madison Square Garden on April 4 in New York City.
Nicole Richie attended Lucky FABB: Fashion and Beauty Blog Conference at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills on April 4.
Shakira and Usher attended NBC's "The Voice" red carpet event at The Sayers Club in Hollywood on April 3.
Dianna Agron was spotted out and about West Hollywood on April 3.
Kiernan Shipka, Jessica Pare, Elisabeth Moss, Jon Hamm, January Jones and Christina Hendricks attended the "Mad Men" season 7 premiere at ArcLight Cinemas in Hollywood on April 2.
Kate Upton, Cameron Diaz and Leslie Mann attended the U.K. premiere of their movie "The Other Woman" on April 2 in London.
Lady Gaga arrived at the "Late Show with David Letterman" taping in NYC April 2.
Heidi Klum joined Dr. Scholl’s to announce the DreamWalk line of insoles to help women everywhere bring their uncomfortable shoes out of the “shoe closet" in New York on April 2.
Jennifer Connelly and Russell Crowe posed together before the screening of their new film "Noah" in Paris on April 1.