LOS ANGELES – The death of Natalie Wood, who drowned during a 1981 boating excursion with husband Robert Wagner and co-star Chistopher Walken, was inadequately investigated at the time, according to the co-author of a book on the celebrated case.

“The case was never really investigated in 1981, and yes, I am relieved they are going to give the case the attention it has always deserved,” said author Marti Rulli, who wrote last year’s “Goodbye Natalie, Goodbye Splendour.”

Wood, 43, was boating off Catalina Island on Thanksgiving weekend 1981 with Wagner, Walken and others when she somehow went overboard and died. Officials at the time ruled her death an accident, but there has been much speculation since on whether there was more to the story.

Sheriff Lee Baca told the Los Angeles Times that detectives want to talk to the captain of the boat after learning of comments he recently made about events on board. Baca added only that the captain “made comments worthy of exploring.”

A law enforcement source added that the department recently received a letter from an unidentified “third party” who said the captain had “new recollections” about the case.

Rulli wrote the book with the captain, Dennis Davern. In it, Davern described bitter arguments aboard the boat that weekend. In an interview last year on CNN, Davern said he believed the original investigation was woefully incomplete.

In an interview Friday morning on NBC’s “Today” show, Davern said he lied to investigators about Wood’s death and he blames Wagner for her drowning.

Davern said he had urged Los Angeles County sheriff’s homicide investigators to reopen the case, according to the Associated Press.

Wagner released a statement through his spokesman expressing support for a new investigation.

Wagner said he “trusts they will evaluate whether any new information relating to the death of Natalie Wood Wagner is valid, and that it comes from a credible source or sources other than those simply trying to profit from the 30-year anniversary of her tragic death,” Wagner’s spokesman, Alan Nierob, said in a statement.

Mirren to co-host Nobel Peace concert


OSLO, Norway – Organizers say British actress Helen Mirren will co-host this year’s Nobel Peace Prize concert, featuring performances by Benin’s Angelique Kidjo and other world artists.

The Dec. 11 concert is held a day after the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony, which this year honors President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and women’s right activist Leymah Gbowee — both of Liberia — and democracy activist Tawakkul Karman of Yemen.

The lineup of artists includes Ahmed Fathi of Yemen and Liberian-born singer Miatta Fahnbulleh, as well as David Gray, Jill Scott, country duo Sugarland and the World Youth Choir. Organizers said Friday that Mirren’s co-host will be announced later.

Philbin makes final bow on morning show

NEW YORK – Regis Philbin couldn’t leave without a joke.

Signing off from morning television after more than 28 years, he brought to a close his final hour hosting “Live! With Regis and Kelly” by telling viewers, “I’ll always remember spending these mornings with all of you.”

Then, as the studio audience’s ovation subsided after the program’s fade-out, he voiced a kidding postscript to that crowd in attendance.

“I just thought of something I SHOULD have said,” he quipped. “I really want to stay!”

Philbin, who at 80 years old has logged more than 16,000 hours on television in a career that dates back to the 1950s, was making good on his decision to leave the daily TV grind, an announcement he delivered on his show last January. And Friday’s tribute was good for instant TV history, both on- and off-the-air.