"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:
Cameron Diaz and Leonardo DiCaprio attended the Tag Heuer Yacht Party in Monte Carlo, Monaco on May 25.
Hayden Panettiere was spotted departing on a flight at LAX airport in Los Angeles, Calif., on May 24.
Jessica Alba promotes 'The Honest Life: Living Naturally and True To You' at Redwood Restaurant and Bar on May 24.
Heidi Klum attended the "Nebraska" premiere during The 66th Annual Cannes Film Festival at the Palais des Festivals on May 23.
Khloè Kardashian Odom celebrated the launch of HPNOTIQ liqueur`s Glam Louder Program at the Mr. C Beverly Hills hotel in Los Angeles, Calif., on May 22.
Jennifer Lopez joined Verizon Wireless COO Marni Walden to announce the launch of Viva Movil by Jennifer Lopez at the Venetian Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nev., on May 22.
Carey Mulligan posed on the red carpet for the Sydney premiere of "The Great Gatsby" at The Entertainment Quarter on May 22 in Australia.
Heather Graham looked incredible as she attended "The Hangover III" premiere at the Empire Cinema in London on May 22.
Andrew Garfield was spotted out and about with his pal Tom Sturridge in New York City on May 22.
Jessica Chastain walked the red carpet at the "Behind The Candelabra" screening at Palais des Festivals et des Congres as part of the 66th Cannes film Festival in Cannes on May 21.
Kim Kardashian and her mother Kris Jenner enjoyed a day in Paris, France on May 21.
Michael Douglas and Matt Damon attended the "Behind The Candelabra" photo call at the Palais Des Festivals in Cannes, France on May 21.
Anne Hathaway and a friend were spotted out shopping at Haute Hippie in New York City on May 20.
Halle Berry and fiance Olivier Martinez were seen leaving Whole Foods after buying a cart full of groceries in West Hollywood, Calif., on May 20.
Marion Cotillard posed on the red carpet for the screening of the film "Blood Ties" at the 66th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France on May 20.
Jennifer Lopez looked amazing at the Billboard Music Awards held at The MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nev., on May 19.
Miley Cyrus wowed at the Billboard Music Awards held at The MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nev., on May 19.
Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis were spotted holding hands in London on May 19.
Garrett Hedlund, Justin Timberlake and Carey Mulligan attended the "Inside Llewyn Davis" photocall at the 66th Cannes Film Festival, in Cannes, France on May 19.
Camila Alves-McConaughey and Ramshackle Glam's Jordan Reid co-hosted INC's Macy's Fashion Show in Las Vegas, Nev., on May 18.
Keith Urban strolled through LAX Airport with his daughter Sunday Rose in Los Angeles, Calif., on May 17.
Liv Tyler enjoyed some ice cream at the MAGNUM Cannes Lounge in Cannes, France on May 17.
Dianna Agron and a female friend were seen out and about in SoHo, New York City on May 17.
Isla Fisher attended the Opening Ceremony and premiere of "The Great Gatsby" during the 66th Annual Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals on May 15 in Cannes, France.
Emma Stone stepped out in New York City on May 15 looking adorable as always.
Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan and Baz Luhrmann posed together at "The Great Gatsby" photocall at the 66th Cannes Film Festival on May 15.
A very pregnant Penelope Cruz and her brother Eduardo visited their sister Monica at the hospital after she gave birth to a baby girl on May 14 in Madrid, Spain.
Zoe Saldana looked incredible at the "Star Trek Into Darkness" premiere held at The Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Calif., on May 14.
Nicole Kidman arrived at the Martinez Hotel in Cannes, France to attend a photocall of the Jury on the eve of the 66th edition of the Cannes Film Festival on May 14.
Katie Holmes was spotted on the set of "Mania Days" in New York City on May 14.
Emma Watson arrived on a flight at the Nice Airport on May 14 to attend the upcoming 66th Annual Cannes Film Festival in France.
Lea Michele attended the FOX 2013 Programming Presentation Post-Party at Wollman Rink Central Park in New York City on May 13.
Angelina Jolie revealed that <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/14/angelina-jolie-double-mastectomy_n_3271514.html?utm_hp_ref=celebrity" target="_blank">she had a double mastectomy</a> after discovering she carried a cancer gene on May 14.
Owl City's Adam Young took a snack break while helping launch the new OREO cookie "Wonderfilled" campaign in NYC on May 14.
Alyson Hannigan was spotted leaving the AOL office after visiting The Huffington Post in New York City on May 13.
Angie Everhart <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/13/angie-everhart-cancer-diagnosis_n_3267500.html" target="_blank">confirmed that she's been diagnosed</a> with thyroid cancer.
Selma Blair was seen enjoying her Mother's Day with her son, Arthur Bleick at the beach in Malibu, Calif., on May 12.
Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux took a stroll after shopping at Barney's and dining at Fred's Restraunt in New York City on May 12.
Sienna Miller attended the Arqiva British Academy Television Awards at the Royal Festival Hall on May 12 in London.
Reese Witherspoon flaunted her legs in short shorts while watching her son's football game in Brentwood, Calif., on May 11.
Selena Gomez was spotted spending some time at the pool in Miami, Fla., on May 11.
Halle Berry flaunted her baby bump at the 20th Annual EIF Revlon Run/Walk For Women held at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, Calif., on May 11.
Liv Tyler took a walk with a male friend around West Village in New York City on May 10.
Stephen Amell hosted the F*ck Cancer event on May 9 at Bootsy Bellows in Los Angeles, Calif.
Pregnant actress Jenna Dewan headed out of her home in London on May 9.
Kerry Washington stopped by "Extra" at The Grove in Los Angeles, Calif., on May 8.
Bradley Cooper went incognito as he headed to the set of "American Hustle" on May 8 in Boston.
Ryan Reynolds was spotted walking his dog Baxter while sporting the new Fitbit Flex Wireless Activity Wristband in Bedford, NY on May 7.
Olivia Wilde was spotted rocking Carrera shades at Carrera Ignition Night in New York City on May 7.
Jennifer Lopez and Casper Smart held hands while leaving their hotel in New York City on May 7. Check out J.Lo's tight leather pants!
Blake Lively rocked thigh-high boots and a little black dress for a photo shoot in New York CIty on May 7.