LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is reopening its investigation concerning the death of actress Natalie Wood who drowned on November 29, 1981 while boating off the coast of Catalina Island.
The former captain of the boat, Dennis Davern appeared on the TODAY show on Friday saying Wood’s husband Robert Wagner was responsible for her death. Davern said he believed Wagner had intentionally kept the investigation into her death low-profile.
And when asked if he thought Wagner was “responsible” for Wood’s death, Davern said, “yes, I would say so. Yes.”
According to Marti Rulli who authored a book about Natalie Wood, the yacht named Splendor was moored with Wagner and Christopher Walken on board. At the time of the incident, Walken was starring with her in the motion picture “Brainstorm.”
That evening Rullie said the couple got into a “terrible argument” that was never reported in the original investigation. Wagner became so angry, Rulli said he smashed a wine bottle on a coffee table that caused those on board to scatter. Mortified by Wagner’s behavior, Wood went to her stateroom and it was then that an argument began.
“Dennis made an attempt to stop it, and was told to go away by Robert Wagner,” Rulli said in his book. “Then minutes later, Natalie was missing…Dennis wanted to do everything. Make a phone call, turn on the search light. His instincts told him something was terribly wrong, and Robert Wagner asked him not to.”
Asked why Davern would come forward now especially since it has been 30 years since Wood’s death he said while the details concerning the incident is in his book, he believes that now since it is the 30th anniversary of Wood’s death, the Sheriff’s department is listening.
“Why now is because I’ve been trying to tell information about this for many, many years, but there wasn’t really anyone listening until now,” he said. “I’ve been trying to get somebody to listen for a long time and now somebody is listening and they’re going to carry on with this investigation. I’m not saying anything different. All the information that I’ve revealed in the past, it’s all in that book, and now it’s just up to the investigators to do an investigation.”
Lt. John Corina told a news conference Friday that new information is substantial enough to take another look at the case. He said the information came from multiple sources.
According to Wagner’s memoirs, he had affairs with Yvonne de Carlo, Joan Crawford, Elizabeth Taylor and Joan Collins. The affair he had with Barbara Stanwyck after they acted together in the movie Titanic lasted four years. However because he was 22 and she was 45, they kept their affair a secret to protect their careers.
Photos – Natalie Wood & Robert Wagner.
Video – Boat captain alleges Robert Wagner responsible for Natalie Wood’s death.