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A place to update and discuss facts surrounding the controversial, tragic death of legendary Hollywood film actress, wife and mother, Natalie Wood who drowned mysteriously Nov. 29, 1981 off Catalina Island. Thank you for visiting.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Natalie Wood's Black Friday, 28 Years Ago Today

Natalie was up early, preparing for her planned weekend cruise aboard Splendour. She was on a Thanksgiving weekend break from filming a few last scenes of Brainstorm with co-star Christopher Walken.
Near noon she, husband RJ, and Christopher boarded Splendour and Captain Dennis Davern started the engines and headed to Avalon on Catalina Island, about 22 miles away from Marina del Rey, Splendour's homeport.
Natalie was cheery, ready to kick off the holiday weekend with some shopping and good company. She looked beautiful and radiant, and her red down jacket highlighted her rosy cheeks. But RJ didn't take too well to Natalie's cruise guest. Christopher sensed the tension and stayed close by the person he knew best--Natalie, who was determined to over-compensate for RJ's open dislike for the situation. Although many of Natalie's and RJ's co-stars were frequent guests for Splednour outings, Christopher was not a welcomed one by RJ. Natalie worked her social charm to try to prove to Christopher that he was welcomed.

It was a bad start to a cruise and Dennis recognized this. After anchoring at Avalon, Natalie, RJ, and Chris went shopping in Avalon and Dennis stayed behind to prepare a late dinner. Natalie, Chris and RJ spent the afternoon and early evening browsing the quaint Avalon shops and stopped in at the El Galleon for cocktails.  RJ bought Natalie an expensive piece of diamond jewlery, and Natalie bought herself a pair of earrings called Pieces-of-Eight. She also bought a matching medallion with chain for Dennis, called "Pirate's Gold." Later that night, soon after dinner, Natalie gave Dennis the early Christmas present. He immediately put the Pirate's Gold around his neck, to wear forever.

Chris went to his forward cabin after dinner, and as Natalie was going to prepare for bed, RJ came up with a plan to move the 60 foot yacht to the other end of the Island. Dennis tried to convince RJ that it was a bad idea, and Natalie became upset because there was no need to move the boat in dark to the secluded part of the Island twelve miles away. Dennis went to Chris's cabin to ask if Chris might help convince RJ to stay put, but Chris told Dennis to stay out of any martial spat. That's what Dennis saw -- a marital spat. Although he recognized that this spat was more serious than any he had ever witnessed between Natalie and RJ, Dennis just wanted it to blow over. But RJ was determined to wake up Saturday morning at the Isthmus and not in Avalon. RJ was relentless about his late night plan, so Natalie packed a bag and left the Splendour with Dennis. She and Dennis stayed at the Pavilion Lodge in Avalon while RJ and Christopher remained aboard Splendour.

Natalie expressed her anger at the situation to Dennis and claimed she was going to catch a sea plane in the morning because she "couldn't wait to fly her body out of there," away from the tense situation. Consumed  with confusion and embarrassment over why RJ had behaved the way he had to her co-star guest, she realized that her intentions for a pleasuable holiday weekend were ruined. Instead, she had a huge mess on her hands. She had left Christopher, who she had promised a fun weekend getaway, aboard the Splendour with her angry and obviously jealous husband, and she now had to find a way off the Island come morning.


  1. I dont think Natalie was confused. I think Natalie knew why RJ was behaving this way and her reaction to his jealous behavior may have fed into RJ's jealousy even more. But she never could have imagined that his anger would result in her death. There is no excuse for his behavior.

  2. I agree to a certain point. By Saturday, Natalie wasn't confused any longer, but she thought RJ had slept off Friday's booze and had come to his senses. Even if he hadn't, she was angry enough by Saturday to not care (as most wives would be). But Friday night, she was confused. She never expected RJ to treat Christopher the way he had, and never thought RJ would want to move the boat near midnight.
    RJ and Natalie had entertained many co-stars aboard Splendour. Natalie truly believed RJ would treat her guest with respect, just as she had always treated his co-stars with respect. When RJ failed her, she became angry and possibly a tad resentful. Her career meant a lot to her. RJ embarrassed her in front of her co-star. RJ was not her priority in her anger and embarrassment, and it cost her her life.