Welcome To My Book Blog

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.

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Walls of Splendour

Here Robert Wagner approaches the opened swim step door on Splendour. Note how thick the top of the deck's surrounding walls are (and door thickness). It would be extremely difficult to accidentally topple over these walls, even for a tall person. Your body would have plenty of space to be caught by the thickness of the walls.


  1. Marti was that ever a serious theory, that Natalie accidentally "tumbled" over the wall?

  2. Only an idiot troll, and the shoe fits perfectly, would claim that Natalie "tumbled" over the wall. She was too short, RJ was too short. I would not dignify anything these trolls claim with a response. Talk about reaching!

  3. JamesV,
    I don't think that the possibility of Natalie tumbling over the wall was part of "official theories" as they had seen the wall, but many people have suggested the possibility.
    Many people do not realize what a secure layout the Splendour had. The deck and swim step were coated with non-skid. Dennis was very safety-conscious, and always tied the dinghy when in for the night with two lines. A few drinks over dinner did not make a difference, as this night was no different than the drinking on other "social evenings."

    I totally understand that readers will have questions. The post I presented last night about Dennis is not meant as an excuse for Dennis's mistakes that night, but it is an honest account of what he was emotionally experiencing while in the midst of that terrible night. There's an old saying "caught off guard" -- well, that best explains what happened the night Natalie died. Dennis was caught "off guard" and when he wanted to go into "guard action" he was outranked.
    I'm just trying to post some answers to many reader questions and comments coming my way.

  4. Falling over the rail would have been rather loud. She would have screamed and there would have been a splash. I believe that she was put in the water rather quietly as opposed to being pushed.

  5. A woman who identified herself as an African Amercian Babyboomer, aka "Denise" emailed me last night. Denise had just finished reading GNGS and she is appalled and angry about justice in this case. She compared the story in GNGS to the OJ Simpson trial, especially the differnece in the way the black celebrity was treated compared to the way the white celebrity was treated. What most appalled her was that she recalls O.J. Simpson being handcuffed the morning of Nicole's death. When she read in GNGS that Natalie's husband was provided a private helicopter to leave the scene, she said she wanted to tear her hair out. She believes both husbands are guilty to a certain degree in their wives' demise, but she points out how the justice system for celebrity where color is involved is also a whole different ball game.
    I posted the petition site at a forum she directed me to. Thank you, Denise. I appreciate that you took the time to read GNGS.

  6. So many of us are appalled at this case.

  7. I have a question . . . I am in the midst of reading your novel. I just got to the point where you and Dennis are sitting in a bar in NYC. Dennis says, "RJ is evil" and then states something to the fact that RJ put the red down jacket on Natalie. And you are shocked. I can't understand what the implication is. Are you implying that Natalie was unconscious before she hit the water? That was my original thought, but then in later chapters, that idea is not backed-up. So I am confused.

  8. Marti there is a significant difference between the OJ case and the RJ case. Mrs. Simpson was found with her head nearly decapitated -- a clear homicide. And Mr. Simpson did run from the police. So, I don't agree with the injection of the racial prejudice issue here. And of course, in the end Mr. Simpson also got away with murder.

  9. I agree with the above poster. There was no question that Nicole was murdered. There was no mystery about how she died.

  10. Denise implied that "innocent until proven guilty" was non-existent in the OJ case. With the Wood case, a few questions closed the case. She compared the cases and she made her point.

    The authorities did not check Wagner, Walken, or Davern for bruises or scratches although Natalie's body was full of bruises. They did not question the shattered wine bottle. They did not question the messy stateroom, or why Natalie would leave in her socks and nightgown. Rasure "assumed" high seas broke the wine bottle. That is not an investigation. When witnesses came forward, Rasure did not bother to interview them (Marilyn Wayne, who heard the woman's cry for help, for example, and there were others.)

    In these two cases, by comparison, because one death was by near decapitation and the other by drowning makes no difference in the way a death should be investigated. I would think that finding a woman who is deathly afraid of water, wearing a nightgown, socks, and jacket in the ocean would call for as many questions as a detective would have for a stabbed victim. The amount of blood or lack of it at a death scene should never be the criteria the degree of an investigation is based on.

  11. Now, to answer about the coat. That night I was in the bar with Dennis, he went from relaxed and smiling to tear-filled and remorseful within seconds. The way he said what he said always led me to believe there are things he has buried. His comment must've been something eating away at him. I wish I had asked more about it that very night, because when I later asked, Dennis could only surmise why he believed it.
    I felt it important to tell what Dennis had said that night in the bar because it was such a vulnerable moment for him, genuine, not something discussed over a phone call, or thought about: it sprung from him. Why? Is it something suppressed? Years later, in the hypnosis session, the doctor couldn't get to it.

    So, when we talked about it years later, Dennis recalled having looked out from the bridge when the argument went out to the back deck. Natalie was wearing only her nightgown, no jacket. Within 15 minutes, she was floating away in the ocean wearing her jacket. Dennis can only surmise that Natalie had not been planning to leave the boat when she first entered the deck, arguing with her husband.

    There will always be some mystery connected with Natalie's death, but Dennis knows that there were two people on the deck arguing. Two. And then there was one.

  12. Thank you for your response. I am very much enjoying your novel. I wish you continued success.

    Perhaps, I should wait until I have finished the novel before asking additional questions, but of course, how can one NOT ask questions? There are so many unanswered questions. So here I go . . . Do you personally have a "theory" as to how Natalie got into the water?

  13. To Anonymous asking if I have a theory --

    Yes, I do. But because it was important to present only information I could verify, in my position, I must let that information speak for itself.

    What I think is the important revelation in Goodbye Natalie is that Robert Wagner argued with Natalie on the back deck after fighting with her in their stateroom. After she went missing, waiting four hours to call for the Coast Guard should have been the number one red flag in the investigation, but no timeline was ever even remotely established for an official report. Their very first report (Pam Eaker's) has Wagner calling for help immediately after discovering Natalie was gone. How this could happen in such a high-profile case astounds me. It would be so different today.

    There was no banging dinghy disturbing Natalie's sleep. There was no sleep. There was no "pleasant weekend" -- it was, as Dennis says, a tension-filled weekend from hell.
    The entire mood of the weeklend should have been discussed with the investigating detectives, if not by Wagner who would never want the police to think he was with Natalie on the deck when she went missing, than it should have been mentioned by Walken and Davern. The bottle smashing was not the end of the trouble that Saturday night, it was only the beginning of what ended up as death scene.
    But, in this particular "celebrity case" all were allowed to flee the scene and hire lawyers to fend the questions. Lawyers most always advise their clients to keep the peripheral details to themsleves, and the three surviving cruise members did just that.

    Thank you for reading Goodbye Natalie, and I hope you will sign the petition if you haven't already. It truly will be delivered to the LA County Sheriff's Dept. Also, if you purchased the book at Amazon, I would appreciate reading your review. The reviews are mixed, which is understandable with any high-profile, controversial subject, but it astounds me when readers say this book offers nothing new. Cases are not determined on one fact alone: Cases are decided by what's called the "body of evidence" -- all of the facts and interviews and circumstances are put together like a puzzle. There are sometimes pieces missing, but answers usually unfold and become clear when proper procedures are followed. Not one proper procedure was followed in Natalie's case. NOT ONE!
    I believe that Goodbye Natalie offers most of the puzzle pieces. I would hope the officials might now want to see if they can fill in the missing pieces. That would require interviewing the other two cruise survivors.

    I'm proud that Goodbye Natalie comes with a certified polygraph test. There is a lot of compelling information in it. And, there's more to come.

  14. Why was #290 signature and comment deleted on the petition?

    In addition, who deleted it?

  15. The person who started the petition removed #290 because it was a bogus email address with the same IP address as signature #288. The petition curator wants it to stay clean with verifiable email addresses and signers. I have no access to the petition other than looking at it like any other signer or viewer.

  16. Truth Seeker,
    I have posted on the Death of Natalie Forum that the petition is not a joke and I am not going to allow anyone to treat it as such. It could not be more serious and I could not be more serious. Everyone and anyone is encouraged to sign and is free to make whatever comments they want, but they will not be allowed to turn it into a farce. - JamesV

  17. Has Lana Wood said anything about this? Because I heard her interviewed on the radio last month, and she said that she has read the book but didn't give any details on what she thought about it. She was blurry on the subject, didn't say anything about prosecuting Robert Wagner. Why won't she speak out against him? I think he should be charged with murder, but the case needs some cooperation from Christopher Walken, who has kept quiet about this.

  18. Lana Wood has read GNGS and has made a few public statements. She supports GNGS. We will hear more from Lana.

  19. Marti,
    I agree with you that to really understand the information given in "Goodbye Natalie, Goodbye Splendour, " you have to read the book a few times. The way that weekend played out and the way the information is brought out "is convoluted." I have read and reread these chapters many times and I am convinced Robert Wagner knows exactly what happened to Ms Wood; he knows the exact route she took to get into that ocean water.
    It pains me deeply to write this because I always respected Mr Wagner, and I grew up watching, both, his television shows and Ms Wood's movies.
    God, I wish I could go back and change the outcome of that weekend. I don't want to be writing this; I really don't.
    I can understand how a sensitive man like Mr Davern would have a great deal of trouble with this kind of information; he knew what it implied when it finally hit him what actually took place. Two little girls who just lost their mother...I don't know if I could have done it, and I understand why it took so long.
    He loved these people like family; I understand because I loved them like family, and I never met either Mr. Wagner or Ms Wood; I can see how hard this would be with people who's lives you have interacted with for years.
    It's not a Hollywood show; these are real people who will be impacted by this.
    I thought if Mr Wagner had answers for the information revealed in your book I would have read about it by now, but I haven't.
    What really prompted me to write to you is that when I just checked to see if any new information came out I only found that he was on Sports 610 Radio on January 12, 2010 (you can google it and listen to the show.)
    Mr Wagner this is directed to you personally. I find it disrespectful to the memory of your late wife Natalie Wood and her family that you would do a sports radio program before you have answered the questions that many, many people (people like myself who have respected you and your work) expect you to answer to. You have to be a man about this and do what is right. I know it is a hard thing to deal with, but you can't wish it away anymore. I'm sure there are many people who will help you through this and offer you support. I would myself because I don't want to believe you wanted what happened that weekend to really happen. I'm an adult man and I understand how people play on each other's emotions and things can get out of hand.
    As a man, you have to answer to the information Ms Rulli and Mr Davern have written and have had published in the book "Goodbye Natalie, Goodbye Splendour," and this must be done In a legal and proper way. Respectfully, Kevin Raftery

  20. Kevin,
    I don't know who you are, but I appreciate your letter deeply. There are "categories" of people when it comes to the story of Natalie Wood's tragic death. In fact, there are several categories but 3 distinct ones:

    1) Those who suspected long before any articles and books on the subject that something sinister happened that night. These astute people accept Goodbye Natalie Goodbye Splendour as this book confirms their own beliefs. They've done their own "homework" ...

    2) Those who will never believe what is factual because they convince themselves that something so sinister could never be attached to someone they admire so much. In other words, RJ fans. (Look at celebrity news these days: celebs are human ... capable of what any human is capable of ...but, steadfast fans are unwilling to read once, let alone twice.)

    3) Those "on the fence" -- those who may not have followed the lingering, convoluted details of this tragic Hollywood story. (This is the category of potential readers I hope GNGS will influence, such as it did you.)

    I can't thank you enough for you caring enough to evaluate this story and to form an opinion of your own. I also really appreciate you taking the time to post your thoughts here. I'm willing to answer any questions you may have. I totally agree with your every word. I believe, and always will believe, that this case can come to a satisfactory conclusion, but it would require all participants to be truthful. Again, thank you, Marti

  21. Marti,
    I just finished reading your novel and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I will post a strong, positive review on Amazon.com momentarily.

    In the meantime, I think there is one key piece of evidence that would really push this case forward. The evidence is the Harbor Master's log book from that fateful evening. We need to find evidence that Marilyn Wayne did in fact report hearing a woman's screams the night prior to finding out that Natalie Wood drowned. This would prove that Marilyn is telling the truth. If for some reason, there is no evidence, then John Payne must publicly come forward and back-up her claims.
    (People doubt Ms. Wayne's account for two reasons - First, the helicopter she claimed the Harbor Master was sending never came; Second, if she heard Natalie screaming for 15 minutes, then why didn't Christopher Walken also hear those screams? I can understand that Dennis had a radio blasting music in his ear, but Chris Walken should have heard something.)

  22. After reading your novel, Robert Wagner's autobiography, and remembering restaurant witnesses' statements back from 1981, here's my THEORY as to what happened that night . . .

    I believe Dennis's account of everything that happened up until RJ & Natalie were fighting on the back deck. Dennis hears RJ screaming for Natalie to get off his boat. RJ opens the swim step door and pushes Natalie into the dingy. She tries to hit him, but he grabs her wrists tight. He even pushes her face into the boat. He wants to scare her, not kill her. He wants her to take the dingy and go away. He wants to punish her for flirting (and possibly previously cheating) with Chris Walken on HIS yacht. Worst-case scenario, he figures, is that she won't be able to maneuver the dingy, and she'll spend an hour or so floating in the dingy until he decides it's time to rescue her. That is his thinking. Not murder. But something goes wrong. . .

    Natalie panics, and tries to get out of the dingy and back onto the yacht. Maybe she even makes several attempts to climb out of the dingy and back onto the yacht, but RJ is standing in her way at the swim step door. Hence, she receives numerous bruises to her legs. She even hits her face against the stern of the boat while trying to climb upward onto the yacht. RJ unties the ropes from the dingy while Nat is inside. He yells 'adios' to her and she drifts off inside the dingy. He walks away to get another drink, job completed, then realizes that his actions will have serious repercussions. He returns a few minutes later to see an empty dingy in the distance. He can't understand why Natalie is no longer inside the dingy. Dennis comes up behind him. RJ, deep in thought, is white as a ghost. Several awful possibilities enter his mind - but he hopes that Natalie jumped out of the dingy, swam back to the boat, and climbed back onboard. (Remember Natalie often stated that she could "swim a little".) He asks Dennis to look for her on the boat. even though this is a long shot. When they cannot find her, he hopes she either swam to shore or was possibly rescued by another boater. After all, it's only been a few minutes. How far could she have drifted? (Keep in mind that most adults in that situation would have been able to remove the down jacket and swim the short-distance to shore.) That's why he waits. He is hoping that she is safe and they will be able to resolve things one way or another in the morning, without bringing the incident into the public's eye. He doesn't want Dennis turning on the search light because he fears what he may find. He doesn't realize the down jacket would have kept her afloat and alive, and assumes that if she didn't swim to shore that she is already dead. Therefore, he believes the search light cannot help them. His mind is racing. He envisions his grieving children, the awful headlines, himself in jail. He completely panics and decides to "do nothing" until he can think of the solution. But the solution never comes and he eventually calls for help.

    Obviously, none of us know what happened that night. And I agree that the facts indicate that RJ is covering something up. But I don't think he actually murdered her. His actions may have lead up to her death, but I don't think he actually threw her in the water to purposely drown her.

    Where was the splash that Dr. Lyndon Taylor spoke about? I think it makes much more sense that she fell from the dingy.

  23. I hope you don't mind, but here's my third post to you today. Your novel has me hooked on the details of this case. May I ask you some questions?

    1) How could Chris Walken have slept through all of this? I can understand his "hiding" inside his state room, not wanting to interfere in a marital spat. But how could he fall asleep? The arguing was so loud that Dennis had to drown it out with music. Could he not have heard RJ and Dennis running through the yacht, opening doors, looking for Natalie? Does Dennis really think he could have slept through this entire incident? He would have been a lot closer to the back deck than Dennis was up on the bridge. Is it possible that Chris Walken overheard everything and didn't run out to help!?

    2) In your chapter mentioning the autopsy report, you state that the medical examiner's notes reported, "Sexual Assault Evidence Collection". Are we certain that there was NOT any sexual assault?

    3) If Lana Wood is so certain that Dennis told her he saw Natalie in the water, then why wouldn't Lana have run to the police? (I realize Dennis later passed a polygraph refuting these claims.) Lana's actions strike me as odd.

    4) I disagree wholeheartedly that RJ had an "encounter" with another man during the first marriage. (If Natalie had been offended by RJ's alleged bisexuality to the point that she felt she had no choice but to divorce him, why on earth would she re-marry him less than a decade later?) The incident that broke up Nat & RJ's first marriage was a similar incident to the one that "broke up" the second marriage . . . RJ's jealous, drunken rage over Natalie's indiscretions with Warren Beatty.

    5) Where is John Payne hiding? Why can't anyone interview him? His statements are KEY to this case. (His statements would not prove that Natalie didn't accidentally fall off the boat while securing the dingy, but they would prove that RJ waited hours after Natalie was in the water before calling for help.)

    6) If Dennis "looked away" from the back deck long enough to NOT have seen how Natalie got into the water, how is he so certain that RJ was with her the entire time? And if he "looked away" for only 10 or 15 minutes, why couldn't he hear or see Natalie in the water at the time he finally made it to the back deck? How fast could she have drifted away if Marilyn Wayne could still hear her?

    8) Dennis mentions RJ's face being wet with perspiration when Dennis found RJ on the back deck and RJ reported Natalie missing. Does Dennis remember RJ's clothes or arms being wet? I want to rule out any possibility that RJ held Natalie's head under water until she drowned.

    9) Assuming Natalie didn't accidentally fall off the boat while securing the dingy, I can only think of 4 other possibilities of what may have happened:
    a) She was knocked unconscious in the heat of an argument and then thrown into the water;
    b) She was picked up and thrown into the water while still conscious;
    c) She was punched/slapped in the face and somehow fell overboard (this would be a possibility if the swim step door opened outward onto the water);
    d) She fell into the water while climbing into or being pushed into the dingy.

    Given her state of dress and her fear of dark wate, we can rule out Natalie willingly leaving the yacht.

    If we can prove that Marilyn & John heard Natalie's cries for help, then we know she was conscious when she hit the water. That leaves us with Dr. Taylor's splash theory. How loud would the splash had been if she indeed was thrown from the yacht? I still think option "d", falling from the dingy while trying to get back onto the yacht, makes the most sense.

    Have you considered all the possibilities?

  24. JSam, this story certainly invites a lot of speculation. The only two people who know what happened are Natalie and RJ, and RJ has built his "empire of lies" very sturdily. Walken has been very dishonorable, in my opinion, and I think of what a complete shame it was that Natalie ended up losing her life because she wanted to entertain that creep on their cruise. How I wish another guest had been on board--I think she'd still be alive today if only one other person were around. Walken wasn't worth any trouble--but it cost Natalie her life because of Wagner's jealousies and drinking.

    The speculation is just part of why it's so disturbing. I have not gotten Marti's book out of my mind since reading it about seven weeks ago. I have been haunted and depressed thinking about how my favorite actress died--because of the actions of her supposedly devoted, loving husband who took up with another woman only two months later.

    Re: their first marriage, if you read Suzanne Finstad's book, "Natasha," it says that Natalie did not take up with Warren Beatty until after her marriage ended. She sought solace with Beatty (not that she got much). She actually did not like Beatty all that much during filming. Several people, including friends and co-stars, claimed nothing happened between them while Natalie was married. It was not in Natalie's nature to cheat. Even Wagner said that he did not think that Natalie cheated on him with Beatty.

    I believe the reports that said Natalie took the blame in their first marriage and let people have the perception that she and Beatty must've been carrying on during filming because she protected RJ. Isn't that ironic? Natalie was ALWAYS thinking of other people--that is just how she was.

    Also in that book, after Natalie and RJ reunited, she told Lana that she knew what she was getting with RJ and that "these things will not hurt me" because she knew RJ and his problems. She always saw him as her "fantasy husband," and she was willing to forgive and forget. However, those problems continued into their second marriage.

    It seems clear to me that Wagner's same insecurities from their first marriage were coming to a head around the time that she died. He couldn't handle her making a comeback, being bigger than he was, and he questioned her devotion to him and the girls. He should've known her better. Wagner had a major drinking problem, and that just fueled the insecurities--and they all lead to her being taken from us.

  25. JSam, I think much of your scenario makes sense, although I imagine a few points differently.

    I assume that the wine bottle smashing was the final straw for Natalie, and she let him have it when he went to the stateroom. (Oh, if she had only locked the doors and let it go until the morning.) But Natalie was a feisty woman, and she was not going to let Wagner get away with humiliating her. Dennis' account of Friday night leads me to believe this--Natalie probably told Wagner that she had had it, she was thinking of leaving, and he said, "Fine--get off my f-ing boat!" And he then saw to it that she did. He even went to get her coat for her.

    I believe that he tried to push her into the dinghy and either she fell out of it or didn't make it in. She probably was fighting him a great deal to not get in it and she fell in the water instead. (If the investigators had asked to examine Wagner for marks, I feel certain they would've found some.) She certainly would not have gone willingly--everyone knew how terrified she was of the water, and she never took the boat alone. Of course, that was one of the lies Wagner would have us believe.

    As she went overboard, I would think that she would've screamed so much that someone would've heard THAT. Why didn't Wayne and Payne hear anything else besides her calling once she was in the water?

    In any event, Wagner thought he'd torture her a little in the water. He knew she couldn't swim that well at all. She could dog paddle. I don't think he would've thought that she could've made it to shore or back to the boat if she drifted away. I disagree with that part.

    I don't think he meant to kill her but things got out of hand. The rest is murky--maybe he went in the stateroom for a little while to let her stew--who knows? In any case, I believe Wagner has justified in his mind what happened to her. If she told him she was leaving (whether or not she really meant it), he probably figured, "I can't have that again! What about my image?" and he has hence justified the whole tragedy. It probably even convinced him that she WAS cheating on him and he was right all along.

    Like Kevin said above, I wish I wasn't writing any of this and that someone, anyone could've stopped the events of November 28, 1981. What a bizarre and sad chain of circumstances that whole weekend! Natalie was a dear and lovely soul, and I am sickened by her fate.

  26. I believe Christopher Walken was taking motion sickness pills. The pills can make a person very sleepy...let alone mixed with two days of drinking. It is plausible that he slept through Natalie and RJ's fight.

  27. But like Wagner, Walken has told inconsistent, confusing stories about what happened. Just as one example, he has said he was awake when Natalie was found missing, then he has said he was asleep and woke up the next morning to be told that she was gone.

    He has given various accounts of that night and of the weekend in general. As I have noted before, I think he's dishonorable, and his role in that whole thing is shameful. Everyone had a part in that rotten weekend.

  28. In Mr Walken's case I have to give him the benefit of the doubt; if only because Dennis Davern does say that he saw Chris Walken "Sound asleep" when he checked all the rooms after Natalie went missing.
    Mr Walken was probably the one most in the dark that entire weekend because he knew Natalie and RJ the least.
    I just don't think he wants to believe something criminal happened, and remember his memory of that night is clouded from the pills and alcohol.

  29. JSam, (and everyone)

    First of all, JSam, thank you for your review at Amazon. I appreciate that you clearly see this case needs professional attention.

    The only part of that entire weekend that I consider murky, too, is exactly how Natalie got into the water. Common sense dictates that she did not fall over the side walls, and also that she would not leave the boat by choice. As for swimming, no, it was a ways to the shore. Splendour, being a huge yacht was always moored the furthest out.

    It would be very difficult for a struggle to have occured "at the dinghy" -- in other words, if Wagner was struggling with her while trying to release the dinghy at the same time ... remember, the dinghy ropes were about 12-ft apart. The same principle that there could've been no float-away dinghy if Natalie had been adjusting it (as the theory goes) applies in this scenario, too. If there was a struggle at the dinghy, Natalie could've easily reentered the yacht while RJ would have to walk 12 ft away to release BOTH dinghy lines.

    These little details were essential to this case, yet none were checked into with the official investigation. As for the harbor patrol report... well, there really isn't one. Isn't that amazing? Doug Bombard took some notes that night...that's about it. An official timeline was NEVER established.

  30. To answer your questions:
    (1) Walken had been drinking heavily, smoking pot, and taking seasickness medication. After the bottle smashing, his hands were trembling. He wanted nothing to do with this marital argument. He, who didn't know the couple well, like Dennis, who DID know the couple well, probably never in a million years thought such a tragedy could occur. It was a night to retreat early to bed, fall fast aslepp, and to deal with the embarrassment in the morning. NO ONE THOUGHT MORNING WOULD BRING A DEATH TO DEAL WITH! Walken fell fast asleep. His cabin was far forward... almost as far away from the back deck as you can get on the yacht. The only cabin more forward was Dennis's. (The bridge Dennis was on during the argument was right over the back deck.) There were three rooms between Walken and the back deck, plus a generator was running.
    When Dennis checked in Walken's room, there was no doubt in Dennis's mind that Walken was in a deep sleep.
    That's not to say it's impossible Walken didn't hear anything, but I truly believe he didn't. Even if he did, unless it was Natalie's cries for help, he probably still might've decided to stay out of the fight and mind his own business. I'm sure he has his own regrets. But again, he really thought he was on a social cruise, and as it turned out for him, too, it was the cruise from hell!

    2) There was no sexual assault, only the embarrassing bottle smashing and then a terrible marital argument because of it.

    3) Lana Wood has had so much to deal with since the tragedy of her sister's death. For years, she had no choice but to accept "accident" so she did accept it. But she was someone Wagner did not want around. He made it clear. He has since humiliated her, slandered her, and spent much time in Lambert's book and in his own book to degrade her. Lana truly mourned Natalie's death, and when she learned from Dennis in the early 90's more about the truth of that weekend, she still needed to depend upon Dennis to come forward. Getting Dennis to come forward with ALL of the details was quite a chore. I do not and have never approved of the way Dennis handled his information, yet I've understood why. Being as close as I am to him, I saw firsthand how he was manipulated, I saw his true fear when threats came, and I saw a once vibrant young man to become broken. That's a difficult thing for me to convey, as I am accused of siding with him because I am his close friend. I do not "side" with him. I simply "understand" -- many of us close to Dennis witnessed his demise and it was frightening. If he hadn't called me that August night in 1983, I doubt Dennis would have lived more than another year. Lana was just as confused over the loss of her sister. She, too, was "intimidated" and then abandoned by her brother-in-law.

  31. 4) I knew very little about RJ's sex life, and Dennis didn't know much either. To Dennis, RJ was a happily married man. I had heard rumors, some very believable, but it wasn't applicable to what I was writing about which was Dennis's experience with the Wagner family and the night Natalie died. Finstad's information stunned me! However, after reading Lambert's and RJ's book, I was left with the impression that something is askew. I've never read a MAN'S kiss and tell autobiography that also includes the MEN he DIDN'T bed. To me, that was odd.
    If Natalie had indeed caught RJ in a compromising act with another man, as told in Finstad's book, I can understand her remarrying him in spite of it. She crossed paths with him again at a vulnerable time in her life, she had a daughter, and she did love him. She had many, many gay friends, so bisexual or gay sex was not something that offended her at all.
    In her first marriage with RJ, they were young ... Natalie wanted a marriage and she loved motherhood. She was happy to give that all another chance with RJ.
    I agree with you that RJ's jealousies could've been the primary reason for the divorce, and then for the argument that led to Natalie's death. I truly have no clue what the deal breaker was in the first marriage. If Finstad's research is true, I can understand Natalie moving beyond it for a bigger picture.

  32. 5) As fo John Payne -- Marilyn Wayne gave me his number to talk with him. He is a very wealthy, respectable gentleman, and he backs up Marilyn's account. Marilyn told me she would take a polygraph test. I never imposed upon her to do so, and I never felt I needed to impose upon Payne. I believe Marilyn. Her son heard everything, too. These people have no reason to lie. NONE. Marilyn is an extremely credible voice in this story. If the authorities would ask her, she would agree to a polygraph. Many people, at forums and discussion sites pick at the innocent bystanders of this night. Who should be picked at, in my opinion, are the authorities. It is their job to get this kind of work done thoroughly. All they need do is ask... we've got Dennis Davern and Marilyn Wayne, and Lyndon Taylor, and MORE standing by.

    There are many people KEY to this case. Dennis is chastised for not going to the police. (We've offered), but in essence, the police should be chastised for not going to Dennis. It would take a minute for them to pick up the phone. Dennis has a lot to tell them. Obviously, they must not want to hear it.

    6) Dennis is certain RJ was on the back deck with Natalie because he was only a few feet above them and he saw them out there, and he continued to HEAR them out there. There was no mistaking where they were arguing (on the back deck)... It's why he put on the music...to cover the cursing. He peeked out a few times, and then finally went down and only RJ was on the deck, and RJ said that Natalie was missing and rushed Dennis into the master stateroom...then Dennis went directly forward to look for Natalie INSIDE the boat. Natalie could've drifted away extremely fast as the currents were strong in the rain.
    Also, it's difficult to maneuver yourself wearing a down coat in water...it offers superb bouyancy, but makes it awkward to complete swim strokes.

    Dennis said, after the bottle smashing, everything went lightening fast... the argument in the stateroom, the carryover to the back deck... everything happened within a half hour, starting with the bottle smashing to Dennis hunting for Natalie on the boat.

    8) I asked Dennis many times if he recalls RJ being wet, and he doesn't. I doubt he held her down because Marilyn heard her crying for help for over 15 minutes. Natalie floated away from the yacht.

    9) About your assumptions: all scenarios are possible, but I agree with you most on the belief that Natalie did not go anywhere near that dark water willingly.

    Bottomline: this case should be REOPENED!

    JSam, thank you again for taking such an interest in this story. There is still a hope for the authorities to take another look. Please stay tuned!

  33. Marti,
    It is almost laughable (it it weren't so tragic) the way this case has been bungled by the police. I mean, there is just no way in hell that Natalie Wood is going near dark water alone at night. It's one of the best documented fears ,on file, of any actor or actress I can think of. I've read her accounts about the problem from the time of the film "The Star" up until the time she died. That is almost 30 years of Natalie (as well as co-stars and directors) talking about this incredible fear of dark water she had.
    Isn't Catalina part of Los Angeles County?Where's Lt. Columbo???

  34. Wagner released the dinghy only after the cries for help ended. Marilyn Wayne stated that after the cries for help ended, the music continued for a few minutes longer. Davern has stated that shortly after he turned off the music, he heard "boating sounds" that he has identified as the loosening of the lines to the dinghy. So the dinghy remained tethered to the yacht as Wood went into the water and carried by the undercurrent away from the boat. I can't see J Sam's theory, that Wagner just wanted her in the dinghy and away from the boat, likely.

    The way I see it, as Wood was having her jacket placed on her, Wagner took control of her arms and threw her upper torso overboard on the starboard side and took hold of her lower legs/ankles (the autopsy shows bruising on these places on the body, possibly from gripping). Using the threat of going into the water he interrogated her one last time of her infidelity and then placed her head first into the water, without making a loud splash. He probably thought that the jacket would absorb enough water to drown her quickly but she remained on the surface. It was only after she stopped crying for help that Wagner released the dinghy, to create the appearance of a boating accident.

    Michael B

  35. To Michael B,
    Wow, according to your theory, RJ is nothing short of a cold-blooded murderer. Shooting someone or strangling someone in the heat of drunken rage is bad enough. But to think that he threw Natalie overboard and never regretted his decision for the next 15 minutes while she called for help. Gee, I just find that hard to believe. 15 minutes of Natalie crying out - and with two witnesses on the boat - seems very risky to me. I can't believe he didn't get caught that night.

  36. To Marti,
    I understand your "2 lines" theory about RJ not being able to hold Natalie inside the dingy while walking across the stern 12 feet to untie the second rope. But what if he was able to untie one rope immediately after throwing her in the dingy? Wouldn't the dingy start to float a couple of feet away from the boat because it's now only being held by one rope at one end of the dingy? Natalie panics and continues to beg RJ to let her out of the dingy. He then walks over and quickly unties the second rope.

    I realize this is a difficult scenario, but I still think it makes the most sense for multiple reasons. The only other scenario is that RJ threw her overboard. But then why didn't anyone hear a great splash, as Dr. Taylor suggested?

  37. To Michael B,
    How do you think RJ put the jacket on Natalie? Do you think he knocked her to the floor and held her down while he forced the jacket on her? And why would he be so interested in putting a coat on her? If he was thinking of an alibi at that point for pre-meditated murder, why not knock her unconscious and completely change her clothes?

    Here's why I don't think the coat was put on her for an alibi . . . The fact that Natalie was in her nightgown actually gave RJ a better story. The banging dinghy theory is slightly more believable than Natalie taking the dinghy out for a midnight cruise. He had to know that everyone knew Nat was afraid of the water.

    There could be a simple explanation for the coat that we're not even considering . . . He sees Dennis take an occasional glance at them from the bridge. He looks at Natalie in the moonlight. He sees she's in a flannel nightgown with no bra or underwear. He worries that Dennis (and anyone else looking at the boat) can see her figure right through the nightgown. He walks a few feet into the master stateroom, grabs her coat, returns and suggests she puts it on.

  38. Here is the problem I have with the "thrown overboard" theory...

    I just can't see how RJ could take the risk of standing there for 15 minutes, listening to Natalie's screams, and watch her die. Throwing her overboard is one thing. But not rescuing her is another. 15 minutes is a long time! People can't understand why Marilyn Wayne didn't jump into the water and try to find Natalie because to listen and do nothing for 15 minutes is difficult to understand. It must have been PAINFUL to listen and do nothing. But this scenario is so much worse for RJ who knew - even drunk - that his wife was actually drowning. Second, think of the risks involved. There are nearby boaters who could hear Natalie scream. There are also two other men on the boat who could easily have walked onto the back deck at any moment and saw Natalie in the water and RJ not rescuing her.
    Third, how could Dennis have missed that? One would think peripheral vision and splashing sounds would have given him an inkling of what happened. Is it possible the "boat sounds" Dennis heard was actually Natalie being thrown into the water? Is it possible she drifted away so quickly that Dennis and RJ couldn't jump in and save her?

  39. I realize Dennis passed a polygraph, but I still get the feeling that he knows much more than he's admitting to. I understand he purposely turned his back to the arguing couple and turned the radio on in an effort to give them privacy. On the other hand, his timing of getting to the back deck after everything was over is a little too perfect.

  40. JSam, there are many people who think that Dennis will probably take some things to his grave with him. I can't imagine living with the torture that he's gone through at having failed his friend, Natalie. As Marti said, Dennis placed his faith in RJ, not in Natalie--definitely one of his biggest mistakes that weekend.

  41. Re: the idea that RJ held her overboard by her legs...

    Wouldn't this have been very difficult to do? Looking at the high, thick walls and from having been on a few boats myself, I think it would be very hard , even with a small person like Nat, especially when you're that drunk. Gross motor coordination is very impaired at that level of drunkenness.

    Of course, they were both very drunk. But we'll never know what Wagner's BAC was because they didn't dare examine the grieving husband--not for marks, BAC, or anything else. What an outrage.

  42. I'm very glad that GNGS has come out during Wagner's lifetime. He knows that this story is out, and his empire of lies has been exposed. He hasn't had a thing to say about it--how could he, since he has no defense. If it WEREN'T true, certainly he would challenge it, wouldn't he? He challenged Finstad, but there's been not a peep about GNGS. Why is that?!

    He has lived the last 28 years, something Natalie has not had the pleasure of doing. He's avoided questions, giving a few confusing or contradictory tidbits and leaving it at that, punishing or threatening others who seek answers, including members of Natalie's own family. He has done NOTHING to promote Natalie's legacy. His insecurity and resentment continue.

    It amazes me just HOW many things he has offered to the public that can be very easily refuted. For example, what were his actions after Natalie went missing? Records and witnesses attest to what happened!

    And there are various other things in his book that are far too numerous to mention here. He says that he used to drink more in the 1960s but he has never had a drinking problem. He consumed drinks "by bottles, not cases." Well, if you're knocking down multiple bottles at a time, that is still potentially a big problem! Why yes, it could even lead you to stalk Warren Beatty with a gun, punch out a man at the Polo Lounge, or try to hurl yourself through a motel room window because you were jealous over Natalie.

    Natasha said in a 2001 interview that Wagner could drink her and her friends under the table. He was 71 at the time.

    Wagner turns 80 tomorrow. I imagine his family and friends will be giving him a grand old party this week. Again, I am glad that he is aware that GNGS is out there and that people who have questioned Natalie's death have finally gotten some answers, the only ones that have EVER made any sense.

    And ironically, on Wagner's birthday, two of Natalie's best-known movies will be on t.v. I plan to watch them and remember her with great admiration and fondness. She was so touching and real, and she made you feel like you knew her. I'll probably shed a few tears, too.

  43. There is a lot to address here, but I first want to mention an interview Dennis and I had today with a very important media person who introduced to us another possible scenario for Natalie's coat.
    What she said makes sense, but still leaves a few questions, but Dennis agreed her scenario is a possibility.
    The interviewer did not see the relevance to the coat, and she was not receptive to the idea of Wagner having put the coat on Natalie. She suggested that perhaps Natalie, in anger and frustration, like the night before, went to retrieve her coat and was going to ask Dennis to take her ashore. They had just left the restaurant less than an hour before, so maybe she wanted to go there to seek any kind of shelter in place of spending the night on the boat.
    Dennis said it is possible that she put on her coat to go get him, but my question is: why would she go back outside to get Dennis when he was INSIDE the boat? My next snag in this scenario is that Natalie was wearing her nightgown. She wouldn't have gone to the island in her nightgown.

    The coat mystery is one that may never be answered, but I stand behind my belief that there was no reason for Natalie to put her coat on. She wasn't leaving the yacht alone. If she was cold, she would've gone back outside willingly, and she wasn't leaving in the dinghy alone. We have to go with what makes sense.

    As for the timing that Dennis went to the back deck, it fits with WHY he went to the back deck.
    After a lot of loud yelling, things had quieted. He was worried. Dennis didn't go down until he heard things quieting. Even with the music playing, he could still hear yelling. After Natalie was in the water, she was a good 15 feet below him, so he didn't hear her. But the yelling/arguing had stopped, so he waited a few minutes, turned off the music, and went to see if all was okay. His timing in reaching the deck is another sad part of this fateful cruise. Had he gone down just a couple of minutes before, he might have seen what was happening with Natalie in the water.

    Hopefully there is new, fresh blood in the LA County Sheriff's Dept. who will agree this case should be reveiwed. It's all we can hope for. Talk about this story to your friends and family. If they'd like to sign the petition, every signature helps. This story is not going away.

    Thank you all for the comments.

  44. How Natalie actually ended up in the water is the most difficult part of the story to comprehend. I say I'm convinced Robert Wagner knows how this occured because she just would not be on that swim step alone. I think that this is something everyone can agree on, and once we agree that she wasn't there alone...well, there is only one other person who would have been there with her...her husband Robert Wagner.
    The fact that Marilyn Wayne said that Natalie's cries for help didn't sound urgent always bothered me...they should have been bloodcrudling screams. There could only be one explanation for this...she was in a semiconscious state.
    Because of Marti's great detective work, we know that Natalie didn't sink due to the down jacket. I think she went into the water unconscious and it was thought she would instantly drown. I think she floated a bit and the cold water woke her slightly. I don't think she was consciuos enough to realize how dire her circumstances were--this is probably why no kicking of the legs and feet(why her socks didn't come off) and no bloodcurdling screams. The man reacting to her was like appeasing a drunk person so she wouldn't get more rowdy. Since her cries didn't really sound life threatening I think it is entirley possible that the man could have done this without feeling sick to his stomach. We have all done this at one time in our lives...we say yes, yes, okay to drunk people just to shut them up. From Marilyn Wayne's description I can't think of anything else. It probably wasn't long before she was unconscious again.
    Of course Ms Wayne heard Natalie's (and only Natalie's) cries because I believe Natalie was the only person that drowned that night within a mile of Ms Wayne's boat. I'm being sarcastic here, but to show up again how the detectives really botched this case.

  45. Kevin:

    Re: Natalie's cries for help, I am not sure how someone calling out, "Help me, I'm drowning," wouldn't be considered urgent by anyone listening. I realize that she heard, "Yeah, we're coming to get you," so maybe that is where the "lack of urgency" came from, as it implied help was imminent. But still...

    How could Wagner have rendered Natalie unconscious without there being evidence? The autopsy revealed no head trauma or other evidence to suggest she could've been made unconscious.

    Natalie's cries were heard for 15-20 minutes by Wayne and her boyfriend and son. I assume that they stopped hearing Natalie's voice not because she had died but because she had been carried away from all the boats and was out of earshot. She probably survived a little while, even in the cold water, which is even sadder when you think of Dennis not being permitted to search for her, the harbormaster not picking up calls and going out to look for her, and Marilyn and her boyfriend not using their boat to look for her. I think even if they had managed to inflate it, it could've allowed enough time to find Natalie alive if they went looking (or if the harbormaster had picked up their calls or if Dennis had looked).

  46. Marianne 9:

    I guess I just can't believe that those cries could have really sounded urgent enough because of the lack of panick in Natalie's voice. It's because of the lack of panick about the situation that I feel Natalie was only partly conscious.
    In other words, I would think her cries would have brought out immediate
    assistance from anyone within hearing range, but as we know it was more of a "should we" help her or is she really OK.
    Something is wrong with this situation.

  47. J Sam

    One of Davern's impressions is that the Wagners had reconciled, because Wagner had either handed Wood a jacket or was placing it on her. Davern later referenced Wagner as "evil" for having done this because it strongly suggests premediation. Remember, it was Wagner who came up with the idea of Wood out on the swimstep trying to resecure the dinghy and this idea wouldn't have been as plausible without Wood having a jacket on. It was a cold, wintery night afterall.

    I don't think Wagner retrieved her jacket on account it was revealing her figure to Davern. Wood routinely came out of the stateroom after preparing for bed to say goodnight and have a cup of tea, so the kind of nightgown Wood was attired with wasn't likely the kind found in a Victoria Secret's catalog.

    Michael B

  48. The nightgown was flannel, not a sexy, revealing nightgown. PLUS, if Natalie were to enter the main salon from her stateroom she would have put a robe on over the nightgown.
    My feeling on why he retrieved her jacket is that she may have expressed the fact that she was cold OR he was telling her to get off the boat and he went to grab to jacket to further express his desire that she leave the boat. The rear deck was not a large area, he could have simply reached back into the stateroom, grab the jacket and proceeded with their agrument.

  49. To Gail and Michael B,
    We don't know why or even IF RJ retrieved Natalie's jacket. But you're missing my point. You assume that putting a jacket on her points to pre-meditated murder. But frankly, it doesn't prove anything. What famous movie star would go sailing in their coat with a nightgown underneath? If he was thinking murder at that point, why not knock her unconscious and change all of her clothes? Along the same lines, how long does it take to tie down the dinghy? A couple of minutes at most. Again, no need to run and put a coat on. A robe would have been the logical thing to grab if she was indeed coming from the stateroom.

    All I am saying is that - like the reporter suggested - the coat may not imply anything. Natalie could just have been cold.

    And by the way, I own a flannel nightgown and one would definitely be able to "see through" it if you shone a light (like the moon) on me. Flannel pajamas are not lined. That's why God created robes. Just like a woman wearing a heavy wool skirt, she would have to wear a slip underneath it IF it were not already silk-lined. You can see through most fabrics - when you apply light - unless there is a second layer.
    - JSam

  50. To Marti,

    I vaguely remember reading that Dennis heard RJ contemplating suicide in the year following Natalie's death. Can you elaborate? Did he say anything to Dennis during this time to indicate his suicidal thoughts were guilt-based and not just grief-based?

    I've seen RJ on television interviews through the years and he looks like he doesn't have a care in the world. Is it possible, like OJ, that he actually believes he is not to blame? Or are we overlooking something less sinister that may have happened? I just can't understand how he can live with himself.

    And frankly, don't you think it's odd that his daughters and all the family friends (some of whom were Nat's friends first) have heard the rumors, reviewed the facts, and still believe whole-heartedly in RJ? Are we certain we're not missing something?


  51. To all,

    I've seen RJ interviewed many times through the years and it's my understanding that's he's always been MUCH smarter than you've given him credit for. You see he's never stated what happened that night. He has only theorized "Natalie might have been taking dinghy out for a moonlight ride" or even, "She must have heard the dinghy banging against the boat and went to tie it".

    This is ingenious, because he doesn't take ownership of either theory.

    Rather, he has repeatedly said, "I don't know. She went to bed. Later, when I went into the master bedroom, she wasn't there. I realized she was missing. I have no idea what happened. I heard nothing."

    Only after he makes this consistent statement does he add, "We THINK what MAY have happened is that . . ." and then he has given the two theories through the years. (I believe it was the coroner that originally came up with the banging dinghy theory.)

    You see by consistently stating "I don't know", rather than come up with a complicated lie that night to explain an innocent drowning, he has put himself in a position of never having to explain anything. He never contradicts himself, he never gets caught in any lies, no one is able to prove anything. If you walked up to him and said the banging dinghy theory makes no sense because of the "two lines", he would just shrug and say, "I don't know what happened. I was just guessing." You see, you haven't proved anything.
    - JSam

  52. I've said it before and I'll say it again, if you want this investigation to move forward, the key is John Payne. He has to come forward in a public and visible way. No secret phone call between him and Marti. He has to call the police (or the L.A. Times) himself.

    Can you imagine if Natalie drowned off the coast of New York and Donald Trump heard her screaming for help? No one would ignore his claims! John Payne is a credible AND INFLUENTIAL witness. It would be very difficult to "keep him quiet" with threats.

    Marti, you have to regain your objectiveness. Step back and see that the police don't have enough evidence to re-open this very public case. They are afraid of lawsuits (defamation of character) and public embarrassment if they make accusations against RJ that cannot be proven.

    John Payne coming forward would establish a definitive time line of when Natalie went into the water. This would put pressure on RJ because it would prove that RJ waited four hours to call the coast guard. THIS IS THE MOST DAMNING EVIDENCE AGAINST HIM!!!!

    Because of the original bungled police investigation, we may never know what happened that night. I doubt a conviction against RJ is even possible at this point. But if you want to draw attention to this case, John Payne is the key. And this is coming from someone who thinks the drowning was a "throw her in the dinghy to get her off my boat" gone wrong.


  53. JSam, I do not feel that the jacket indicates any such thing. My feeling is that she had the jacket on her, no matter how she came into possesion of it, because she was cold. That's my gut feeling about the jacket.
    And as I said, if she was to appear before guests she would have put on a robe.
    I don't see premeditated murder here. I see a very angry, jealous man in a drunken rage.

  54. RJ is not the smart one, it's his lawyers and his PR people who are the smart ones. He has been advised on what to say and what to commit to.
    But even with that, he has contradicted himself.
    We may never know how Natalie ended up in the dark water she feared but we do know that she was not alone on that rear deck and we do know that RJ lied to the police. The investigation was based on those lies. PLUS, Rasure was star struck.
    I believe that there is a lot that we don't know.

  55. Anonymous:

    Wagner's behavior and words over 28 years increasingly disturbed me. Then everything came together with what I learned through Marti's and Dennis' book. Now it all ties together. And it's sheerly painful and dreadful to comprehend. This will never leave my head and soul.

    This is how I see it--I think Wagner has managed to live with himself and even claim to have had a "charmed life" because he has completely rationalized what happened to Natalie. As I've mentioned, I believe that in the stateroom, Natalie very likely told him, "I've had it with your b.s.! I'm seeing the lawyer on Monday." (Just like she told Dennis on Friday night. But at THAT time, it sounded like she was just contemplating that to try to get Wagner to shape up).

    Remember that Natalie also told Dennis on Friday night, "RJ knows I'll do something about this." And that was after only FRIDAY'S behavior!

    After the humiliation of the bottle smashing, Nat might really have been leaning toward leaving. And she made a point to tell Wagner that, I think. She was so angry that she couldn't let it go until morning. (But Wagner would have us believe that she calmly got up without a word and left the main salon to get ready for bed. She took care to fix her hair, as well. He saw her! Sure...)

    Oh, had I wish she HAD just gone to bed and locked him out of the stateroom. But Nat was proud and feisty and angry and wasn't going to take crap from anyone, including her foolish, drunken husband. I am sad to say that one of the things I loved about her was probably what got her killed--her feistiness.

    He has managed to live with himself because he rationalized, "Well, she WAS going to leave me, so I was right--she WAS cheating on me. So she deserved it." I think this also explains why:

    (1) He didn't dedicate his book to her

    (2) He was able to gussy himself up and celebrate Valentine's Day, 1982, with Jill St. John a mere eleven weeks after Nat died.

    (3) He sold the surrounding Westwood Cemetery plots around Natalie because he didn't want to be buried next to her. (And he kept the kids from having the option of being next to her). Ah, but there's room for them in Aspen, right by Wagner, St. John, and the dogs!

    (4) There is a clear strain of resentment toward Natalie in his writing and in Lambert's book on her (which he authorized). "Her Russian moods could drive me up a wall." "Natalie liked to swish her tail." "I felt that she was being at least emotionally unfaithful" (while filming "Brainstorm").

    (5) He got "Pieces of My Heart" as his book title after he was questioned why he was tearful over an excerpt in it. "Writing this book has taken pieces of my heart." WHAT part was he crying over? Not regarding his years of memories of Natalie, the love of his life. No! He was crying over Barbara Stanwyck.

    WHO directs this type of behavior and language toward his wife that died suddenly, tragically, and ACCIDENTALLY? Not an innocent person.

    People who are abusive and/or sociopathic do this. It's how they function and continue to do what they do in life. Combine that with Wagner's alcohol problems and that is it.

    My anger and sadness over this will not go away.

  56. J Sam

    Striking anyone in the head to knock them unconscious risks leaving physical evidence for the police to determine as a blow to the head. I think Wagner was thorough in his thinking and knew that to get his wife in the water necessitated the absence of injury to her as well as himself. There were no bruises, scratches, cuts to him that we are aware of, to alarm the police, so I believe whatever physical struggle involved was quick and one-sided.

    Michael B

  57. Marianne9

    Re: the idea RJ holding her by her legs

    My idea came from handling sacks of cement. Wood probably weighed little more than a 90lb sack of cement. If Wagner held her by her legs it probably wasn't at arm's length and he may have been aided by the wall of the boat in bearing some of the weight. The easiest time in holding such weight is when it's close to one's own upper torso level, near the shoulder, where upper body strength is at work. In this scenario, the weight of her body was pulling at those points that held her up, the places that were gripped. From this manner, I can see the formation of bruises on the lower extemities.

    Michael B

  58. Gail

    I don't think that you give enough credit to Wagner in his intelligence. He ran an entire gauntlet and came out unscathed:

    1)He somehow got his wife in the water without injury to himself or to his wife that would cause suspicion of any struggle.

    2)He releases the dinghy to create the appearance of a boating accident.

    3)He gets the only witness very drunk, to help persuade his allegiance, and to aid any future defence attorney in attacking the witness's credibility by the impairing influence of alcohol.

    4)He instructs Davern not to clean up the glass debris because it would signal a cover-up.

    5)He instructs Davern to come to his residence immediately when available where he is instructed by Wagner's lawers.

    There's a lot of intelligence here and probably unaided entirely by any lawyer's counsel. That came later. There's knowledge of the law, crime scenes, as well as insight into human nature in regards to Davern. There's also the knowledge of the power of celebrity.

    The only slip-up I can recall is that he mentioned to the first rescuer that he had a fight with his wife.

    Michael B

  59. He went into self-preservation mode, he's shrewd but there is no question that he is and has been advised on what to say and what not to say.

  60. The first story that came out was that Natalie died after taking the dinghy out around the harbor...it said this was something she did...that just wasn't true.
    Wagner was not going to go to Natalie's funeral. We have Dennis' testimony and the reporter who heard it from the owner of Westwood Cemetery.
    No, Wagner wasn't so smart; he had lawyers advising him and correcting the "mistakes" he was making.
    Also, he used his celebrity and he took advantage of a nice guy named Dennis Davern...and pretty much destroyed Mr Davern's life...Wagner didn't care. He did the same thing with Natalie's family.
    The sympathy has always been directed towards him...and he uses it wisely.
    One of the first things I did when I read his biography was look to see the dedication. Natalie's name was not mentioned...the mother of two of his daughters and the "Love of his life" is not mentioned. Not smart!

  61. This story comes down to whether you believe Dennis Davern or not. If you believe him than you know Wagner lied "big time" to the police. He concocted a story so it wouldn't be known that he was standing alongside Natlie up until the time she ended up in the water.
    I had to read this a few times before it sunk in that this was an eyewitness account. It took me a few reads to realize just who Mr Davern was and what he meant to the Wagner family...and what the Wagner family meant to him.
    I think we have been so jaded by sensational stories in the news for so many years that when the real thing is informing us we don't recognize it immediately.

  62. Mr Wagner needs to deal with this if only for Natalie's daughters. I can't imagine what is going through there minds at this time.
    The book has been out almost 6 months and they must have seen references to it on line.
    The oldest daughter probably remembers Mr Davern very well. She has to decide whether she believes him or her stepfather (a man who has meant so much to her).
    I would think this has got to be difficult for both daughters. This kind of testimony can't simply be ignored...not forever.

  63. JSam, I find it interesting, too, that Wagner has never stated what happened that night. It took him over 20 years to admit to the bottle smashing, and we would never have heard his confession about it had Dennis not brought that part of the story to the media. The bottle smashing is a part of the story hard to hide, so Wagner admits it but modifies it.

    His "theories" are, as you say, ingenious, as he does not have to take ownership of the theories. He gets to "speculate" along with the rest of us!
    His theories, however, are all based on his claim that he was not with Natalie when she went missing, and we have two witnesses now with information to prove otherwise. Dennis heard and saw him on the deck with Natalie at the time of her "disappearance" and Marilyn Wayne heard a man's voice answer the woman's cries for help from drowning. Put this together with the circumstances of the night, and that this tragedy occured on a boat the size of a very small house, and it makes more sense that Wagner knows a lot more than he is telling.

    Michael: I like the comparison of the bag of cement... Dr. Lyndon Taylor who helped me tremendously to assess evidence for the book, studied the patterns of Natalie's lower leg bruises. He believes that her small circular bruises at the ankles are pressure bruises from being grabbed at the ankles... Same principle involved as carrying a sack of cement or anything awkward to handle as you must grasp firmly at a "convenient" part of what you are holding to lift, pull, push, or drag. Dr. Taylor believes the facial abrasion came from non-skid surface applicant of the deck or swimstep.

    Gail, I find it odd that the very first thing RJ's attorney advised him was to NEVER respond to questions, especially because, from a psychological viewpoint, it would be healthier to vent about a tragic accident than to not. Why not explain the tragedy if it was truly an accident? Natalie had worldwide fans who wanted answers, too. I'm not suggesting that Wagner should have interviewed with media, but at least a few comments would have helped people to understand. There was NOTHING! Dennis says the subject of Natalie's last night was taboo in Wagner's circle, always, and he never once heard RJ talk about it with anyone the entire year he lived with him after the tragedy (Dennis also worked with RJ on Hart to Hart). Wagner never brought up the subject, and carried on with his life. soon after Natalie's death. The only period Wagner displayed deep remorse was in the immediate aftermath -- the first week after the tragedy. One has to wonder if a lot of that true grief was for himself, if he were afraid of being interrogated to the point of some truth possibly surfacing. But, the lead detective, Rasure, who observed Wagner's tremendous grief, didn't question it. He bought right into it. So,
    Wagner's claim that he promised his attorney to never address Natalie's death in public is another of his convenient answers to avoid hardball questions. He claims he was advised to NEVER address the "innuendo." Trouble is, every detail about Natalie's death, because of an inept investigation, has been considered "innuendo."

    Marianne, your observations about Wagner's actions and inactions since Nov. 1981 are what I would hope the authorities could see with clarity. It is so frustrating to be dismissed when the answers seem so clear, and many people who could do this story justice continue to dismiss it. Hopefully, that will soon change.

  64. To Marianne,
    I didn't know RJ spent the first Valentine's Day with Jill St. John - less than 3 months after Natalie's death. I thought he didn't start seeing her until that summer. (Of course, this is still too soon in my opinion.)
    I would think that he would have spent St. Valentine's Day alone just for appearances sake, if nothing more. Where did you read this?
    - JSam

  65. Michael B,
    I love your post pointing out how smart RJ was that evening BEFORE speaking to his lawyers. I couldn't agree more. However, I disagree with the last part about it being a mistake to admit to the first rescuers about fighting with his wife. There were so many restaurant witnesses who saw them all drunk and fighting inside the restaurant earlier that night, that it would have been suspicious for him to hide that information.
    He's gotten away with this for 28 years because he handled everything as best as one could in that situation. Of course, he was also aided by the limited technology back then in comparison to today's CSI teams we now have.

    - JSam

  66. I can understand not responding to innuendo, but GNGS places Mr. Wagner with Natalie at the exact time that she went into the water. That is not innuendo, it is a direct statement of fact. It is curious, at the least, why there has been total silence from him about this. - JamesV

  67. Robert Wagner began dating Jill St. John is February 1982. There were pictures of them everywhere, out together. RJ lied in his book when he said 6 months. Jill gave an interview recently about in which she said that their first date was on Valentine's Day.
    It's common knowledge of those who are old enough to remember that Wagner and Jill began seeing each other two months after Natalie's death.

  68. James V
    Exactly! I don't see how ignoring this will make it go away. This is not the same as one of those stories about their sexual escapades during the trip (of which there were none). This man is saying that he saw , and heard, Mr Wagner and Ms Wood having a terrible fight just before Ms Wood went missing. This man says that he saw Mr Wagner standing directly alongside Ms Wood up until the moment she was gone...this changes things quite a bit. By saying this, he's also saying that what has been reported before was a lie.
    I don't think the tactics he used before (ignoring it) will work here.
    I would think that this must be terribly troubling for Natalie's daughters, also.

  69. RJ will never admit that he saw Natalie in the stateroom and that they agrued. He does not go there. He does not touch that. In his book he told that fable about seeing her in front of a mirror fixing her hair. That was not mentioned in any of his previous statements nor did he tell that police about that. He is lying and will continue to lie. If the case is re-investigated, re-opened, he may have to answer the questions raised in GNGS. If the case is not looked at by investigators he will take the truth to his grave. I don't know how he lives with himself nor do I know how Duanne Rasure lives with himself.

  70. He's never been directly implicated before...this is something new for him.
    I don't think he's just going to confess out of the blue. Public pressure--and what goes on at home--could force a confrontation with him.
    Marti, can Dennis Davern go on Oprah and tell his story? Are there legal problems that would prevent that from happening?

  71. It is really disturbing, and telling, that he has remained silent. It is one thing to "no comment" an accusation that there was an argument; it is quite another to "no comment" an accusation that he was with her when she went overboard and knew she was in the water. The continued "no comment" in the form of absolute silence can be taken as an admission that this is in fact the truth. - JamesV

  72. It's not new. Dennis told the story some time ago in The Vanity Fair article. RJ was well aware of the Vanity Fair article. He spoke of it in an interview. RJ has had years to respond and he has not and he never will.

  73. I agree, JamesV. His silence speaks volumes.

  74. I think a book is different...it brings a greater attention to it, and the story is in much greater detail...and hopefully it will reach a wider audience. I think what we are doing here goes a long way.
    I think it gives credence to the story that a company is willing to publish it in book form.

  75. That's true, Kevin. Good point.

  76. As Marti stated in GNGS, you would think a grieving husband that DIDN'T know what happened to his wife would want to talk to ANYONE who might've heard something that night. But not only did Wagner avoid Marilyn Wayne in that restaurant, Marilyn ended up with threats to not speak about it.

    Wagner didn't ask any questions of anyone--not Wayne, not the authorities, not other boaters--no one at all. He already knew. He got away with it for almost THREE decades! But thanks to Marti and Dennis, the truth is out during his lifetime. I wonder just how easily he rests nowadays.

    Innocent people answer such things. They try to help find the answers, not squelch them. I always wanted to believe that Natalie's death was an accident--I thought they were a great and happy couple. But from very early on, I thought and feared that there was more.

    Wagner's book convinced me that there WAS more to it. His tone and his language were very troubling in his book, and the decision not to include Natalie in the dedication was just glaring.

    Natalie has just had one injustice upon another heaped on her--not only her senseless death, but the shoddy investigation, the silence of all those who supposedly loved her, Sinatra helping kill the investigation in an effort to "protect" her, Wagner's behavior and language toward her all these years, and Jill St. John brazenly moving in on Natalie's children, husband, and home.

    There is just layer upon layer upon layer of sadness in this story. It's beyond shocking.

  77. Marti I agree as time goes by it has just become more layers of sadness!

    But WHY, oh why oh why would she ever marry Robert Wagner? I mean just.....why? That is one thing I will never understand. What attracted to her to him? He is the scum of the earth! Pure GARBAGE! One of the most pathetic men who ever lived.

    I do hope justice is served. Every time I hear his name and hers mentioned in the same sentence I just get mad.

  78. There are a lot of comments here I would like to address. Everyone here seems to have a good grasp of this story. In indsight, I see so many things I wish I had covered in more depth for GNGS. Some things were cut from the manuscript, and there were some key people I wasn't able to contact before the book's release, but I now am getting new compelling information, some of which I will touch upon tomorrow.

    Here is a complete passage that was edited from GNGS before publication:

    Once again, I called on Dr. Lyndon Taylor, whose Ph.D. is in nonverbal communication. He described some of the “tells” that professionals such as law enforcement officials are trained to watch for to help them distinguish honesty from deception.
    - An introverted liar avoids making eye contact; an extroverted liar makes intense eye contact.
    - Dishonest expression of emotion is slightly delayed, lasts longer than is generally expected, and stops suddenly.
    - A liar’s facial expressions are limited to the mouth when someone fakes emotions.
    - Liars tend to imply a lie rather than deny a truth.
    - Liars tend to overstate their points, adding unnecessary details to convince the listener.
    - Liars are uncomfortable with pauses in conversation.
    - Liars tend to omit pronouns, whereas pronouns are emphasized in a truthful statement.
    - Liars often speak in a monotone, garble their words, speak softly or mumble at important points, and stumble on grammar and syntax.
    - Liars use humor, sarcasm, or redirection to avoid a subject.
    Some of these characteristics are evident in the King/Wagner interview.

    Now here is a direct part of the interview Wagner had with Larry King when Wagner got his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2002. These conversations are from the King Show transcript. Decide for yourself what you think these kind of answers signify!

    ROBERT WAGNER, ACTOR: There’s a lot of people that are not with us today that were my mentors, and they meant a great deal to me and to all of us. And so I’d like to thank all of my friends who are here today, all of you, the fans who have made this possible, and all of those people who have left us but I know are here today and with me in spirit.
    KING: It was an honor to be part of that presentation along with Mike Myers. Who were you referring to?
    WAGNER: You were wonderful. Thank you for today.
    KING: Who were you referring to? Who are those mentors?
    WAGNER: Well, there’s so many. You know, so many of my heroes are gone, Larry, you know. Spencer Tracy, Clark Gable, Gary Cooper, Barbara Stanwyck.
    KING: Knew them all? Worked with them.
    WAGNER: Oh, yes. Knew them all.
    KING: Spencer was your mentor, right?
    WAGNER: Yes, he was. But, you know, I have a lot of loved ones that have left me, and we all have. You don’t get a tribute like that, receive an honor like that without having a lot of people touch that and be a part of it and make it possible.
    Wagner goes on to talk about always having wanted to be a movie star, how his father from the steel business was leery of his desire to work in Hollywood. Wagner says, “But as it turned out, Larry, I think I fared out pretty well, because the steel business went in a different direction.

  79. continued...


    KING: Speaking of lost life, the Natalie Wood episode. I can’t talk to you without asking about it. What did you make of that book that came out and the story in Vanity Fair? And I know the police—the chief investigator said it was all distorted. Did you read it?
    WAGNER: You know, Larry, I didn’t read it. I didn’t read the book. The woman had approached me on doing the book. I’m sorry, she did not approach me on doing the book or my representatives. And the problem with this today is, as you know, they can write anything they want about anyone and you don’t really have any recourse, particularly about somebody who’s gone. They can write anything about anyone that’s said, that’s gone. Isn’t that extraordinary?
    KING: How long is she gone now?
    WAGNER: She died 21 years ago. Yes, 21 years ago.
    KING: Do memories recur?
    WAGNER: Oh, always. Oh, of course. You know, we were young together and I took her out the first time when she was 18 years old. As a matter of fact, I took her to see The Mountain, the clips that you saw there. Spence loved her. You know, people . . .
    KING: What a talent she was.
    WAGNER: She was a major—she was such a gifted woman. She was so gifted, you know. And she did so many wonderful, wonderful pictures. And she was a marvelous. . . .
    KING: How did you emotionally deal with that tragedy that night, the drowning?
    WAGNER: Oh, my God, Larry. I mean, I was in shock, you know, total shock. What really, really saved me were my children, you know? I went to a doctor, an analyst that I know, that I’d been with and I said, “What do I do?” You know, tell me what I do. And he said don’t minimize it. Don’t minimize it. Don’t do anything like that, just it’s what it is. And together, we stuck with each other. I think if I’d had been alone and didn’t have that responsibility to my daughters and my family, I don’t think I would have made it, you know. And then Jill came into my life, which was a very fortunate thing.
    KING: You’ve had some great women.
    WAGNER: Yes, I’ve been involved with some wonderful ladies in my lifetime, yes.
    KING: Wasn’t it doubly tough that not only had you lost her, but then the tabloids are making hay of how did you lose her, what happened, was there murder involved? How did you deal with all—it’s one thing to have a loss, and then it’s a loss that’s a public loss, and then it’s a loss with rumors.

  80. CONTINUED....

    WAGNER: You know what happened for me, Larry, I was involved and had a very, very dear friend that was very close to both Natalie and myself whose name was Paul Zifferin (ph). And he was our adviser and our lawyer. He came to my house and he sat there, and he said, I’m not going to leave here until you promise me one thing. I said, what is that? He said, that you will not read these things and that you will not answer them and I’m not leaving until you give me that promise. And I said, Paul—he said, believe me, I want that—that’s what I want you to do, and I want you to promise me. And I loved Paul and I respected him so very, very much. And he was so meaningful in my life. And so I said, all right. And I think it saved me.
    KING: You had to gut it out. Once you make that decision, no comment is what?
    WAGNER: Yes. So I just—I never, you know, I mean—you know, it’s all conjecture. And, you know, the thing is, Larry, it’s not what if, it’s what is. You know, she was gone like that. In an instant, our lives changed. Amazing.
    KING: Why did he give you that advice, by the way?
    WAGNER: I think that he felt that it was just a futile thing to try to answer those things.
    KING: No win?
    WAGNER: It’s an absolutely no-win situation. It’s an absolutely no-win situation because you’re explaining, you know, what these people are—and they can take and do whatever they want to with it, you know. And they have.

  81. CONTINUED...

    KING: What do you make that they still write—that a book would come out 20 years later.
    WAGNER: Well, this is another situation. This book is—you know, this woman has fabricated, you know, those things that are all these things that she talks to these different people and she says she knows this and that. You know, it’s—there have been other books written besides that one, you know. And there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it.
    KING: How well does Jill deal with the fact of how much you loved Natalie?
    WAGNER: Well, you know, Jill and Natalie knew each other. Their mothers knew each other. They were all kids together. You know, there’s a famous, famous picture of Stephanie Powers and Jill and Natalie all taking ballet class.
    KING: I didn’t know that.
    WAGNER: Yes. And they all knew each other. All the mothers were sitting there, you know, clicking the needles and watching the kids do their stuff, you know. And Jill, by being in our work and knowing was very sensitive to my situation. She had been married before to Lance Reventlow. And Lance Reventlow was. . . .
    KING: A football player.
    WAGNER: No, no, the race car driver, the son of Barbara Hutton. And he was lost in an airplane accident. So Jill had, you know . . .
    KING: Death around both of you.
    WAGNER: . . . felt a lot of the pain that (UNINTELLIGIBLE). But she’s been absolutely wonderful to me. And it was a great break that she came into my life, believe me.
    KING: Finality is hard to deal with, isn’t it? And, therefore, death, the ultimate finality.
    WAGNER: Yes, it’s—I think when all of our friends, which you and I have had many together, they leave you, it definitely takes something away. I mean, it’s gone. You know, but they’re in your heart. They’re in your soul and I know that they’re around somewhere.
    KING: You hope or you know.
    WAGNER: I got a great feeling that they’re around.

  82. CONTINUED ...


    KING: Another call from Cincinnati, Ohio for Robert Wagner, RJ, hello.
    CALLER: Robert, I love you. I love everything you do.
    WAGNER: Oh, thank you. How sweet.
    CALLER: The question I have for you is, if you could go back to any point in your life and relive it again, what would it be?
    WAGNER: Go back at any point of my life and relive it again? I don’t know. If I’d—I don’t know. I don’t know what it would be, if I could relive. . . .
    KING: Well, one obvious is you wouldn’t go out on the boat that night.
    WAGNER: Well, yes, but . . .
    KING: But that’s obvious. But is there a career thing?
    WAGNER: Yes, and I think that’s what you’re referring to, is it a career situation? You know, I think that if I had listened a little bit more to a few people at different times in my life, I may not have made some of the mistakes that I made that seemed to cause me to stop living my life—you know, that got in the way of me. And, you know, that can happen very easily. You know, sometimes you can speak to someone and they can kind of get you straightened out. And at other times can you get completely—you can take too much time on something that isn’t that important. And does that answer your question at all?


    And one last quick caller from Baltimore . . . FROM NATALIE.
    CALLER: Mr. Wagner, my name is actually Natalie (ph) and I’ve been a huge fan of your late wife’s for many years, and I just wanted to say, first of all, congratulations on getting your star today.
    WAGNER: Thank you very much.
    CALLER: And on a personal note, could you just share with me maybe one of your favorite memories of being married to Natalie and raising your three daughters together?

    WAGNER: Well, you know, Natalie, she was a wonderful mother, I can tell you that. I mean, she was just an absolutely marvelous mother to our girls. And do you know, I could share so many moments with you but, as I was saying to Larry before, you know, I took her out—I was very much involved with her in her younger life, when she was like 18, and to see her evolve into this wonderful woman and this wonderful actress and this—such a wonderful, kind-spirited person, that was, you can imagine, a big joy.
    KING: Are you, at 72 and all of the things you have gone through and gone up and at, are you a happy guy today?
    WAGNER: I am, Larry. I’m very happy. And, you know, today was—I never—I never expected that.
    KING: We only got less than a minute.
    WAGNER: Oh, trying to live in the moment, Larry. Just trying to live in the moment, and I’ve met so many great people and I’ve had so much—such a ride in this—in my life, it’s been great. And I want to thank you.


  83. I am just PRAYING that this case will get the attention it needs.

    How does that man live with himself

  84. You have to SEE the King interview. He fell all over himself when he was speaking.
    It does not help that King has a habit of interrupting his guest when they are speaking but RJ had a hard time expressing himself. He could not seem to look at King or his audience when he spoke about Natalie's death. He looked down and over to the side.

  85. Marti, can Dennis Davern go on Oprah and tell his story? Are there legal problems that would prevent that from happening?

  86. He can.....the problem is that they are avoiding this like the plague.

    Why? When RJ came out with his book last year, he was getting all kinds of media attention, going on talk shows, getting spreads in magazines, for his book which is full of shit.

    Mackenzie Philips got the same amount of media attention, for a book full of accusations against her dead father and she didn't have a polygraph test like Dennis does.

  87. I think a lot of it has to do with the PR person in charge of the book not doing her job.
    Wagner and Phillips undoubtedly had superior PR support from their publisher.
    Marti had shows that were taped but they never ran. Marti had shows that were scheduled, they were "postponed". That does not make sense and it's up to the PR people to find out why.
    When Wagner's book was promoted it was all about Natalie. Most of the internet promos were shouting that Wagner was finally doing to tell about what happened the night Natalie died. That was a big draw. So much so that Wagner kept repeating on talk shows etc, "That's not why I wrote the book." It does not make sense that it stopped being a draw when GNGS was published.

  88. Wow. So many contradictions. Wagner said he didn't read the [Finstad] book. Then he goes on to state "This book is—you know, this woman has fabricated, you know, those things that are all these things that she talks to these different people and she says she knows this and that." How does he know that if he did not read the book? And he never explains what Finstad supposedly "fabricated." "These things that are all these things?" What the heck does that mean? He does not explain or deny anything that is supposedly fabricated in the Finstad book.

    Another slip: he admits that Finstad approached him on doing her book - a fact that Finstad included in the forward to her book. Then he takes it back and says she did NOT approach him on doing the book. He slipped - he has to maintain that he was never approached -- if he admits that she approached him and he refused, then he has to explain why he did not cooperate to set the record straight, if he had the opportunity to do so? Clearly he could not cooperate because he would be caught in his own lies and fabrication.

    And he was right about Ziffren's advice. It saved him to refuse to answer any of the questions that were raised, otherwise he would have become entangled in his web of deceit. -JamesV

  89. Kevin, sorry...I meant to answer that one for you. Dennis is willing to appear on any of the shows that could help being attention to this case. He is willing to polygraph again for authorities, or important media offering the opportunity. Dennis is not lying. He has nothing to hide. He feels unburdened having told his account, and he owns up to his mistakes and of course has regrets for the way he handled things, but Oprah, King, 60 Minutes, Dateline, Primetime, etc. ... you would think they would want to help bring justice to Natalie. You would think. So far, they do not.

  90. My stomach is doing large flip-flops as I read Wagner's words. I've seen a transcript of it before, and it was b.s. then and it remains b.s. As James stated, he contradicted himself at least twice--just in THAT short excerpt about Finstad's book!

    It's very telling how he gushes over Tracy, Niven, etc., yet it's obvious that King is pulling for him to talk about Natalie, yet it has to be dragged out of him. He was not going to introduce her name into the interview!

    Then the caller's question about "changing one thing in your life if you could." Yes, the obvious answer IS being able to save Natalie, but he didn't go there--not until King suggested it. Even then, Wagner said, "Yes, but..." Yes, BUT WHAT?!

    Ah, today is the anniversary of RJ's and St. John's first date in 1982. How sweet.

  91. Marti, I'm getting ready to listen to your interview in a few minutes. But I will quickly post on something that continues to confuse me. Several times I have re-read the part about Dennis finally telling you about the "missing 30 minutes" after the bottle smashing.

    Dennis said that he was in the bridge, with the music turned on, and he could see that Natalie appeared to have her coat on when he peeked out and saw them under the ledge. Then it got quiet, and there was no more yelling. He thought they were making up. Even still, Dennis kept the music on "just in case." And he waited ten or fifteen minutes before turning it off and going to the back deck.

    This is what confuses me--if Dennis could tell whether or not they were yelling, even with the music on, why do you personally think he was NOT able to notice a commotion out on the deck as Natalie went overboard? How do you account for Natalie not raising a ruckus as she was pushed/thrown/lifted off the boat? This is what I don't get.

  92. Hi, Marti:

    I just listened to your interview on Talk Forensics. Saw others from here in the chat room, but I was somehow not able to post in the chat room! It was nice to see them there, including James getting credit for the petition.

    That was a very well done interview, and I keep praying that someone wakes up on this! How long does it need to take?

    I did not know about your conversations with Roger Smith and his opinion that Natalie died shortly before he pulled her out. I had read a couple of posters' recent claims that her body was still warm, but I wondered where that information came from and how it could be true if she had hypothermia.

    She lived for that many HOURS? Oh, my goodness, I am experiencing a new wave of despair and outrage over this.

  93. Marianne,
    It was the first I've mentioned the information from Roger Smith. It's time to start talking about it...all detail will be in the paperback, and possibly in an important interview coming up that I will annouce soon. I want attention for this case. Giving these interviews is difficult, and Dennis is usually with me, but they wanted to focus on FORENSICS for this one, but I feel we barely toched upion it. This case was bungled from the get-go. Thank you SO MUCH for your interest in this case. The more that care, the further we will go.

    As for Dennis not hearing what was happening, he just couldn't...he was above them, all he heard were loud muffled voices, an occasional curse word...he wasn't watching when Nat went overboard, and he didn't see how that happened. He did not hear her crying for help....he would have done anything to save her. Wagner had him believing she took the donghy. He believed it because he never dreamied it possible Wagner would allow harm to come to her.

  94. I agree she should have asked more questions about the forensics. That is why I mentioned in the chat room about the undisturbed cup of tea on the table being a forensic refutation of the lie Wagner told the detectives about the smashed bottle. Also Natalie's socks still being on her feet refuted the theory about how her bruises were sustained - if she struggled to board the dinghy her socks would not have stayed on. I know we keep repeating these things over and over, but it is so frustrating that the professionals do not see or do not care to see the contradictions and inconsistencies that are so glaring. WHY is Natalie so disrespected? - JamesV

  95. The truth about Natalie's death is so disrespected because police departments don't like being proven wrong. I think when we reach fresh blood in the department...presenting a more concise version of the deatils, they will have no choice but to give this case attention. Just as I said in the book...it's EASIER to look the other way. It saves face, it saves embarrassment, it saves time... Wagner is 80, what's the sense in reopening the case now? That's the usual attitude toward this case. But I firmly believe and always will believe that Natalie Wood's legend deserves the TRUTH about her death attached to it. SHe's been made out to be responsible for her death and she is NOT responsible for it. No one is above the law. To have the truth legally attached to her death, even by mere statement of undetermined cause of death is what Natalie deserves. There was no "boating accident" the weekend of Natalie's death. More people should care the way we care. This isn't a case to let go of until it is resolved.

  96. You know Marti, when I read about Lana saying that she thinks Wagner had something to do with her career going in the toilet after Natalie's death I had a lot of doubt. However, when I see all of these t.v. programs staying away from this story with a ten foot pole...well, I'm not so sure she is wrong about thinking that.
    Wagner must know a lot of people to get this kind of response...just like the treatment he got when Natalie died. What gives with him?

  97. Marti:

    THANK YOU for being such a dedicated soul full of integrity. This world needs more people like you. Right from the start, Natalie was made out as the one who looked bad. It's just outrageous what's been done to her.

    After hearing what Roger Smith had told you, I went to lie down for a little while and let it sink in. Good grief, that just makes this more upsetting to me. I have the jitters as I type this now.

    There must be justice for Natalie. I keep thinking of how terrified she must've been, waiting for the help that never came. And to think there were HOURS to save her...

  98. Kevin:

    Yes, it certainly sounds like Wagner has managed to pull off something big. He's a much more accomplished schemer than he is an actor. It is very creepy to hear of all the threats to Dennis, Lana, AND Marilyn, as well as the information about all of the guards, goons, and other people doing his bidding over the years.

    It goes along with his bragging in his own book about "taking care of" that photographer who took pictures of his dear, ailing friend, David Niven. Were we supposed to be impressed by that story? It scared me, and it helped convince me that he wasn't the prince he had tried to pass himself off as. As others have mentioned, he talks more touchingly and sadly of Niven, Stanwyck, Olivier, etc., than he does of his deceased wife that he claimed to adore.

    If Natalie died in a true accident, then why has he behaved and said the things he has since her death? An innocent person just doesn't do and say such things. Why try to stifle conversation about her, stop books and movies about her from being made, not bring her up in interviews and then act uncomfortable when she is?

    If I ever saw him in person, I think I would burst into tears from anger and want to yell at him!

  99. Why does he stifle conversation about her, stop movies and books about her, and act uncomfortable when questions about her are raised? He exhibits classic Destructive Narcissistic Patterns (DNP):

    • unresponsive to others' needs or concerns
    • a strong self-focus and self-absorption
    • indifference to others
    • lack of empathy
    • an inability to grasp one's core self as there is nothing there
    • shallow emotions
    • an inability to relate to others in a meaningful way
    • strong admiration and attention needs
    • consideration of oneself as unique and special
    • grandiose, arrogant and contemptuous

    Notice that even when he talks about others such as Niven, Olivier, Astaire, etc. it is always how wonderful and kind they were TO HIM, how they made HIM feel like a king, how they were so meaningful to HIS life, how generous they were TO HIM.

    Natalie's legacy casts a tall shadow over him, that must make him feel very insecure and resentful. After he is dead, he will be remembered only as the man who married Natalie Wood, twice.


  100. Well said, James


  101. I missed the radio show last night. I'm reading that Roger Smith is saying that Natalie "may" have been alive up until shortly before she was found that Sunday morning. Is this correct?
    If this is true than she may have suffered more than any of us realize, and it also means that there were many hours left to save her that night...if I was sentencing the person that did this to her I would have to give him life in prison without parole.
    I had always hoped that Natalie didn't suffer much and that the end came quickly...this is very bad news indeed.

  102. Wagner is a manipulative liar. He indicated that he was going to tell all about Natalie's death in the book....turns out he only talks about it in two pages. I wanted to tear up that book with my hands.

    Being remembered as Natalie Wood's husband is a title he does not deserve nor is he worthy of.

    The problem with Suzanne Finstad's book is that so many doubt her credibility. Certain parts of the book are good, but others are filled with gossip and embellishing. She has a bad reputation, especially after Priscilla Presley sued her and won for accusations Finstad made about her in a book.

    There is no reason whatsoever to doubt Marti or Dennis' credibility, and the polygraph test goes to show that. This case is dying to be reopened.

  103. Finstad was never sued by Priscilla Presley. Please refrain from injecting even more inaccuracies into the story. You really need to research your facts before you state something with certainty as if you know what you are saying. This is how the facts in the Natalie case got so distorted. But, more importantly, Wagner never sued Finstad over her Natalie biography. There is no basis for anyone to doubt her credibility.

  104. Wikipedia cites "New Standard" saying she and her source were sued by Presley in the late 1990s....BEFORE her book about Natalie came out. I believe everything about the last chapter of her book "Natasha" but I don't believe everything she wrote about Natalie's sex life. She is a lawyer after all.

  105. Finstad embellished, most biographers do embellish.

    the facts in Natalie's case got distorted because the investigation was based on lies and Rasure turned a blind, star struck eye to evidence, to the time frame, to gathering more evidence.

  106. The fact that Rasure STILL refuses to admit he was wrong or take a look at the facts just shows how flawed his "investigation" was. This case never got ANY professional treatment to begin with. He should be fired, he didn't do his job.

  107. After reading all these comments, let me say that without FInstad's work, there would have been no road paved for Goodbye Natalie Goodbye Splendour. Suzanne did an excellent investigation by establishing a timeline and by interviewing the witnesses surrounding the tragic scene. The investigators asked a few questions of witnesses who were not essentially important to the case, and those who did matter to the case were sent home to lawyer-up or ignored! Marilyn Wayne was NEVER interviewed by any authority.
    Yes, it was important to find out if a waitress thought there was tension at the Wagner party dinner table, but it was so much more important to get Roger Smith's account of WHAT WAGNER SAID when asked why he waited so long to call for professional help. Roger Smith will be key in getting this case reopened and I am working on the new information as quickly as I possibly can. No one has ever given Roger the platform he deserves.

    When Roger told me that he believes Natalie was alive throughout the entire night, my stomach turned over. I've surmised for a long time that she lived for hours, through a terrifying ordeal, but I am now more convinced than ever that she experienced one of the most torturous deaths ever. There was cold water physical pain, mental anguish, and a slow, delirious surrender to the ocean, then, of course, the actual physical pain of drowning. I hesitate to describe it in more detail, but I want to present how horrible of a death she experienced because I become so overwhelmed at the other points being made here: how does Wagner skip through all of this unscathed?
    There are people in the media who call him "wonderful" and say things like "You're the best" -- women swoon over him. This is beyond comprehension for me, and I'm sure for most of you.

    As for Lana, please have no doubt that her life was turned upside down as a result of Natalie's death, and for no other reason than she doubted her sister's death accidental.

    The truth about this case is as clear as clear can get. Why is it diregarded? THAT'S what disturbs me beyond all else. I realize Dennis made mistakes, but is that reason enough to avoid the glaring truth? Am I disregarded because I am associated with Dennis? It's all been a subtle and subliminal effort throughout the decades, and Dennis and Lana Wood, and Roger Smith and Marilyn Wayne are VICTIMS of the effort: they are not celebrities....they are dispendable.... but they are the truthful participants. How very sad!

    This case, as convoluted as it already is, is becoming even more ridiculous, and soon, you will read why. (Yes, some other things have been happening)... Rasure has made a statement but I am not at liberty to announce it here yet, but soon will direct you to it. You will FLIP when you hear it.

    I can't thank you all enough for caring about this topic and case the way that I do. I wish I could do more. Yes, there are times I feel like throwing in the towel, then something happens, or someone else joins the mission and I am encouraged again and again that maybe we can get the police to reopen the case. That is the ultimate goal. It's never too late for justice.

  108. Marti, you will never throw in the towel. We are so grateful to you for going above and beyond to give Natalie a voice and the justice she deserves.


  109. It is beyond comprehension. Maybe the answer is that there are simply more shallow people in the world who are enthralled by appearance and pretentiousness than the rest of us. RJ is the poster boy of trivial appeal based on looks and nothing else. I can't think of any other reason someone would be a fan of his. He is no actor. He has nothing of interest to say in any interview I have ever seen of his. The only things he talks about are how wonderful so-and-so was to him, and what a "great ride" he has had in his life. His one and only asset was his handsome face, and he was able to "ride" it his whole life. JamesV

  110. We will not let this die...we will not let this go away.
    I, too, thank you for all of your hard work and good deeds you have done to uncover the truth.
    Let's show up Rasure for the lousy detective work he did...we won't back down.
    I'm not interested in saving the image of Robert Wagner's celebrity...I want to bring justice to Natalie Wood for suffering a terrible death at the hands of Robert John Wagner--and we now know it was probably more terrible than we ever imagined.

  111. I am still trying to comprehend that Natalie lasted hours and hours in that water, prolonging her agony but also prolonging the chance to save her--if anyone had only tried. SEVEN men were intimidated by Wagner to not call the Coast Guard. SEVEN!

    What would he have done to any one of them? Knocked them in the water, too? WHAT were they afraid of? Okay, I know Dennis' reasons, but the others?

    NO, this will NOT die and none of us will let it. I can't imagine what Rasure said. It gets worse?!

  112. James:

    Yes, Wagner is narcissistic, as well as sociopathic. It's how he manages to live a "charmed life." Like you said, if your beloved spouse died at 43, tragically and suddenly, you would NEVER claim to have had a charmed life. You'd be heartbroken forever more. (And you wouldn't be going out the next Valentine's Day.)

    It is clear that Wagner's love for Natalie was conditional--as long as she behaved and didn't let her "career demons" come up, things were fine. Well, HIS demons were far worse than hers. His demons were excessive drinking and irrational jealousies. They were present in their first marriage, and they roared right back in the second one.

    It is clear from Wagner's words that if someone angers him enough, he will cut them off and be resentful ever more. Natalie angered him enough, it led to her death, and he CONTINUES to resent her, evidenced repeatedly in his behavior and his words.

    If only Natalie hadn't taken him on that Saturday night. The passage in the book describing their final, fatal argument is SO hard to take. I shook when I read it the first time, and I have read it many times again, and I have the same response to it.

    Dennis said that Natalie had "no clue, no warning" that Wagner was about to go ballistic. But she DID have clues--the bottle smashing was only ONE of them. That was an extremely violent thing to do. Christopher Walken was the only one who seemed to perceive that. Tragically, Natalie's own anger and humiliation, coupled with drinking, prevented her from stepping back, and she paid for it. And Wagner has rationalized all of it to continue his "charmed life."

  113. I can only imagine the dreams that Wagner had after Natalie died. To this day, he must still have some. Again, I am so glad that GNGS came out during his lifetime. He cannot be resting very well nowadays.

    I just get angry when I think of Wagner! I must confess--I almost feel like writing him a note and telling him what I think. But then I figured that he almost certainly has someone read his mail and intercept things. If he didn't before, he probably started to after Natalie's death, worried that someone would figure out his lies. So, the note probably wouldn't reach him. But it might make me feel better!


    Marti claims 500 signatures by March 15th are the necessary minimum to reopen the case. We just broke 300 so we really need to get the word out. Ask anyone and everyone you can think of to sign the petition.

  115. Thanks, Kevin,

    I wish I had met JamesV BEFORE GNGS because we could've corresponded the petition with the book... the petition will remain available to sign, but I'm hoping that on March 15th, at the very start of a week, we will have more signatures, because that is the date I would like to have Dennis';s testimony and JamesV's petition turned into the authorities. Tell the story of Natalie's death...we all have friends and relatives who trust we wouldn't ask for help unless it was serious matter: Natalie Wood's death IS serious matter, and I really want to get the word out about the petition as best we can. I may be doing another blogtalkradio show soon...will have details shortly. I will again announce the petition. Also, a few other things are in the works, the petition will be mentioned. All details VERY soon!

    Marianne, I will email you something today. Please check your mail. THANK YOU! Marti

  116. i have posted the link to the petition everywhere i could find -- youtube, articles about Wagner, articles about Natalie, newspaper websites. But I think the best way to make people aware is still old-fashioned word of mouth. - JamesV

  117. Trying to collect signatures for our petition. Since some people are reluctant, I've formulated bullet points to encourage friends to sign.

    My view of the key pieces of Natalie's death:

    Natalie/RJ had torrential fight of tsunami heights

    RJ caught doing something at back of boat ...
    probably untying dinghy to soldify his numerous theories why Natalie not on board

    RJ firmly opposed to captain's offer to turn on flood lights to search for Natalie or to even call for help.
    Conveyed basic attitude to captain:
    Well, she must be somewhere safe ... why would I worry about my wife?

    After Natalie's body found, RJ did not show emotion commensurate w/ loss of soulmate. (Remember - no one ever accused him of being a fine actor!)

    RJ nearly skipped her funeral ... but attended on lawyer's advice

    RJ cut off contact/relationship w/ Natalie's mother and sister

    RJ begins dating Jill St. John all of 2 months after Natalie's death

  118. Marti, I'm putting out the word to friends and family, telling them to share it with others who would be sympathetic to this cause. This is too important!

  119. From Wagner's interview with Larry King, I do believe I've spotted another fib! Larry had asked him about Jill St. John dealing with the fact that Wagner loved Natalie so much. Of course, Wagner stumbles over this, too, and doesn't directly answer it. He tries to turn it into something to make him look better.

    He says that Natalie and St. John were friends, all the way since childhood. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but Natalie and Jill St. John were not bosom buddies. Yes, they were in the same ballet class, but they were not dear friends.

    I think this is another attempt to fool people and make Wagner look better. I believe he's trying to make us think, "Oh, isn't that great that he ended up marrying one of Natalie's dear, lifelong friends?! How touching! Natalie certainly would've approved of that!"

    No, I don't think Natalie approved of his taking up with St. John, and I don't think she was happy with him traipsing out on Valentine's Day with her a mere ten weeks later.

  120. J Sam

    Regarding what Wagner said to the first rescuer

    I think that when Wagner mentioned to the first rescuer that he'd had a fight with his wife it was in reference to what occurred on the boat and not what occurred back at the restaurant. The topic of Wagner's concerns was his wife's disappearance and Wagner prefaces it by mentioning a "fight" he had with Natalie, as if this altercation had some connection with her disappearance (In contrast, the descriptions made by the restaurant workers were that Wagner was annoyed with his wife. Their recollections don't describe an actual fight). Alarm bells usually go off in law enforcement when people go missing and are also known to have been in a fight just preceding their disppearance. The chances of foul play as a contributing factor would automatically be taken into consideration.

    Providing that this first rescuer was interviewed that morning, prior to the Wagner party's release, a good detective could have picked up on this piece of information and asked Wagner exactly what this fight was about and the nature of it. Separate inquireries on this subject with Davern could have been made. Between two men's recollections, the chances of inconsistencies would have been real. Davern could have subsequently been pressed into telling the truth by the mention of obstruction of justice and what that would mean to him personally. The nature of the investigation could have changed toward a criminal investigation from that of a missing person's.

    Michael B

  121. Marti,
    Is what Jocko writes at 8:39AM and 12:15PM on page 7 of Ginger Blymyer's review of GNGS for real?

  122. Kevin, sorry I didn't see this question sooner. If you mean about Davern being an accomplice, NO, Dennis's story is AS TOLD in GNGS, and getting his testimony to the proper sources is what we are now working on. In the past, no matter what information would surface, including lies exposed by others on board that night, Rasure absolutely refused to reopen the case. Hopefully, since GNGS, that will change. Rasure is retired and still will not accept any blame or responsibility for his neglect in this case.

  123. Marti, in 1981 as a boy of 15, I was very sad to hear about Natalie Woods death, initial report said it was a mystery of how she fell overboard. Your book has to be heard by the authorities. In England, with the aid of the discovery of DNA so many old cases are being re opened, the guilty made to repay their debt. Why is this not happening in the USA. I have been happy to sign your partition and telling every one I can to read your book. Thank you for answering what happened.