"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:
Stylish Nicole Scherzinger caught a flight to Los Angeles out of Heathrow airport on Dec. 17.
Alec Baldwin braved the New York snow on Dec. 17.
Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber enjoyed the day at Bondi Beach with their sons in Sydney, Australia, on Dec. 16.
Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep arrived at The Weinstein Company's Los Angeles premiere of "August: Osage County" on Dec. 16.
Abigail Breslin shone on the red carpet at the premiere of "August: Osage County" at Regal Cinemas L.A. Live on Dec. 16.
Kim Kardashian was mobbed by the photographers while out and about with her daughter North on Dec. 16 in Los Angeles, Calif.
Amanda Seyfried took her dog Finn for a stroll in New York City on Dec. 16.
Kristen Wiig and Christina Applegate attended the "Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues" premiere at Beacon Theatre in New York City on Dec. 15.
Liv Tyler was seen out and about in the West Village in NYC on Dec. 15.
Pregnant actress Emily Blunt took her dog for a hike in Hollywood, Calif., on Dec. 14.
Katy Perry attended the 15th NRJ Music Awards in Cannes, France on Dec. 14.
50 Cent supported Ricky Martin and Eva Longoria and dropped by the Global Gift Foundation & Noor Dubai Foundation charity event in Dubai on Dec. 14. The rapper helped raise funds by auctioning off a pair of his SMS Audio Headphones.
Sofia Vergara was spotted shopping in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Dec. 12.
A newly brunette Courtney Stodden attended the World of Wonder's 1st Annual WOWie Awards at The Globe Theatre on Dec. 12 in Universal City, Calif.
Julia Roberts looked beaming outside the "Late Show with David Letterman" studio in NYC on Dec. 12.
Hilary Duff did some shopping at James Perse in West Hollywood, Calif., on Dec. 12.
Pregnant Emily Blunt was seen out and about in Los Angeles, Calif., on Dec. 12.
Josh Duhamel and Fergie took their baby boy Axl to his Baptism at a church in Brentwood, Calif. on Dec. 12.
Zoe Saldana, Aziz Ansari and Olivia Wilde announced the nominations for the 71st Annual Golden Globe Awards on Dec. 12 in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds were spotted holiday shopping at the Nespresso Beverly Hills Boutique in L.A. on Dec. 12.
Khloe Kardashian arrived at The Hollywood Reporter's 22nd Annual Women In Entertainment Breakfast at the Beverly Hills Hotel on Dec. 11.
Christina Applegate attended the premiere of "Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues" at the Vue West End Cinema in London on Dec. 11.
Paris Hilton, in full leopard print, enjoyed a night out at Mastros Restaurant in Beverly Hills with boyfriend River Viiperi on Dec. 11.
Reese Witherspoon channeled her inner Elle Woods while on a grocery run at Whole Foods in Brentwood, Calif. on Dec. 11.
Well, she <em>is</em> Ozzy's wife: Sharon Osbourne covered up in all black while out and about in New York on Dec. 11.
Kim Kardashian did some Christmas shopping with fiance Kanye West and her mom Kris Jenner at Barneys New York in Beverly Hills, Calif. on Dec. 11.
Miranda Kerr braved the New York cold by herself on Dec. 11.
Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum filmed scenes on the beach for "22 Jump Street" in Puerto Rico on Dec. 11.
Olivia Palermo got her christmas shopping started at the Old Navy Holiday Bazaar in NYC on Dec. 11.
LeAnn Rimes posed in the press room during the American Country Awards 2013 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center on in Las Vegas on Dec. 10.
Rita Ora posed for a photo shoot on the back seat of a Chrysler convertible on the streets of Miami on Dec. 10.
Josh Duhamel was spotted taking pictures of the perfect Christmas tree on his red Moto X in Los Angeles on Dec. 10.
Jay Z hung out at Hollywood's Lure Nightclub for his concert after party on Dec. 9.
Tom Hanks, Emma Thompson, Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke attended the U.S. premiere of Disney's "Saving Mr. Banks," the untold story of how the classic film "Mary Poppins" made it to the screen, at the Walt Disney Studios on Dec. 9.
Reese Witherspoon and her husband Jim Toth went shopping together at APC in Paris, France on Dec. 9.
Lady Gaga looked all dolled up as she left the Langham Hotel in London, England on Dec. 9.
Amy Adams, Christian Bale, Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper and Jeremy Renner attend the "American Hustle" cast photocall at Crosby Street Hotel on Dec. 8 in New York City.
Josh Duhamel and Fergie at the 15th Annual Trevor Project Benefit at the Hollywood Paladium in Hollywood, Calif., on Dec. 8.
"Top Chef" host Padma Lakshmi soaked up the sun in a bright orange bikini on Miami Beach, Fla., on Dec. 8.
Rose McGowan rocked a printed one-piece on the beach in Miami on Dec. 7.
Amanda Bynes headed to outpatient rehab with her mom on Dec. 6 in L.A.
Adrian Grenier soaked up the sun on the beach in Miami on Dec. 6.
Lady Gaga left The Langham Hotel in London, England, on Dec. 6 looking like a Picasso painting.
Anne Hathaway and husband Adam Shulman were spotted running errands in L.A. together on Dec. 6.
Demi Lovato totally rocked it at Nylon magazine's December issue party at Stage One in West Hollywood on Dec. 5.
Victoria's Secret model Jessica Hart posed on the beach for a photo shoot on Dec. 5 in Miami, Florida.
Lindsay Lohan rocked an awesome black one-piece as she hung out with her brother and friends poolside in Miami, Dec. 5.
Jessica Simpson left her NYC hotel on Dec. 5 stylish as ever in high boots and a tiny dress.
Malin Akerman hit the tennis courts to film scenes for her show "Trophy Wife" on Dec. 5 in Los Angeles.
Gerard Butler shared a laugh with some friends in Miami on Dec. 5.
Jennifer Lopez filmed scenes for her new movie "The Boy Next Door" in Chinatown, L.A., on Dec. 4.