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, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

...Wishing everyone a wonderful Memorial Day....the "unofficial start of summer" with barbecues, gatherings, fireworks, parades, and swimming. Have a safe, fun day and take a moment to remember what it's all about.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

My comments on GMA Interview

You can watch the 09/23/08 GMA Interview with Wagner at YouTube and I posted it here at the blog last week:

In the 09/23/08 GMA Diane Sawyer interview with Wagner, what is most upsetting is that Diane Sawyer doesn't have her facts organized for proper questions so she puts her questions into inaccurate statements, and Wagner sure doesn't stop to correct her misinformation.

Example: Sawyer states that Natalie went missing while "you and Chris Walken argued on the deck"

Both avoid commenting on what the argument was about, Wagner doesn't deny arguing, but he also doesn't correct her that he and Walken's argument was not "on the deck" but that the argument occured in the main salon, and that Walken really wasn't arguing anything. Wagner makes no attempt in this interview to claim what they argued about. This is incompetence on an interviewer's part to not ask what the argument was about, but I'm fairly certain it was preestablished that those kind of questions are off limits.

Example, Sawyer STATES in reference to the arguing that Natalie "went downstairs" -- this conjures the image of Natalie distancing herself all the way down the stairs that do not exist on Splendour. The master stateroom is right next to the main salon, ONE DOWN STEP away toward the rear deck. Chris's guest room was a few steps away from the main salon toward the front of the boat.

In the interview, Wagner says the dinghy was banging into the hull (LOWER outside of boat) but that is impossible for many reasons, but Sawyer doesn't know enough to ask more detailed questions about this.
(I am not using nautical terms such as aft and starboard, port, etc do this is more comprehensible for non-boaters)

Wagner says a few times in interview "we never heard anything" then he clarifies who "we" means: he and Chris Walken. I suppose Dennis Davern is a non-person when Wagner tells the little he tells of the fateful Thanksgiving cruise.

Wagner mentions Natalie's bruises. On the head, hip and legs is what he mentions. Again, nothing is said about the 25 superficial black and blue marks, the 4-inch wrist bruise, the scratches at the neck and ankles, and the large facial abrasion's implications. But this interview is for his book tour, not an inquest into Natalie's death, so I wouldn't expect details about her bruises, but I don't even think Wagner realizes that it's what Sawyer wants to talk about most: and I give Sawyer credit for pushing the envelope in bringing up the Warren Beatty episode, where Wagner waited for Beatty with a gun. Wagner brushes it off but gets in the insult that three men in a relationship doesn't work. Anyone who knew Natalie, knows that three in a relationship was NEVER her style. Wagner had a tendency to consider the men Natalie co-starred with as men invading their relationship, as he also did with William Devane in later years. His own insecurities are what I see, even with THIS 2008 interview, to make it appear as if Natalie had a tendency to cheat on him with her co-stars.

I noticed at YouTube that one comment a viewer left of this video said the look on Wagner's face is priceless as he watches an old video of himself and Natalie that Sawyer shows. In my opinion, the expression on his face is sheer terror: he doesn't know what's coming and I do commend GMA on catching this, as they the camera flashes back to him watching and you only see his half-smile appear in relief that it's only an innocuous clip of something lighthearted between him and Natalie.

All of his obvious inflections and word-phrasing, image-enhancing propaganda is something experts one day will study I'm sure. I am only offering my opinions of this video, watching it from the viewpoint of my own amateur investigation, but certainly not amateur involvement. I say this with no implication other than its truth: no one has delved more into EVERY aspect of this tragic event than I have, and maybe that's because it all started for me with an eye and ear witness to all the circumstance revolving around Natalie's tragic death, but it certainly took me to areas of the case where no one has gone. THIS CASE NEEDS TO BE RE-OPENED!

And lastly, what bothers me more than anything, and Wagner uses it in virtually every interview: He always refers to Natalie's death as "when she left us." Maybe that's exactly what Natalie did that night. She "left HIM" -- maybe she said, "This is it, RJ, I'm DONE." But one thing for sure: she didn't intentionally leave that boat.

Input welcome.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The very first report written of the Natalie Wood case ...

The following report by Investigator, Pamela Eaker, dated 11-29-81 was written at the scene of the body:

Descendent is actress Natalie Wood who along with her husband Robert Wagner, a friend, and the skipper of the Wagner boat, were spending the weekend at Catalina Island.

In the early morning hours of Sunday, November 29, 1981, sometimes after the group had returned to the boat, which was moored off the Isthmus, Mr. Wagner became aware that his wife and the boat’s dinghy were both missing. Mr. Wagner immediately radioed for help and a search was begun. Mrs. Wagner’s body was spotted from the air by a Sheriff’s Department helicopter that was enroute to the island to assist in the search. L.A. County Life Guards and the private searchers were the first ones to reach the body of Mrs. Wagner and pulled her from the water, where upon she was pronounced dead at 0744 hours.

Spoke with Don Whiting, night manager of Doug’s Harbor Reef, Catalina Isthmus, who related the following. Mr. Whiting arrived to work between 1600 and 1700 hours and the Wagner party was already in the bar and had been drinking. The party remained in the bar until approximately 1900 to 1930 hours at which time they were seated for dinner. Mr. Whiting estimates that the group consumed a couple bottles of champagne. Mr. Whiting says the group left the restaurant to return to their boat at approximately 2200 to 2230 hours and that the entire group appeared to him to be intoxicated. Mr. Whiting at this time called Kurt Craig of the Harbor Patrol and asked him to make sure that the group reached their boat safely, which Mr. Craig is reported to have done.

Spoke to Robert Wagner who related that the last time he remembers seeing his wife was at 2245 hours. Mr. Wagner, when he realized his wife was missing, placed a radio call for help.

Don Whiting heard Mr. Wagner’s radio call for help (Mr. Whiting lives on a boat and during his waking hours always monitors radio) at approximately 0130 hours and in turn called a friend on the Isthmus to go to the Wagner boat and advise him of the situation and if a search should be started.

When it was determined that indeed the dinghy and Natalie Wood were missing, a search was begun with Harbor Patrol, Bay Watch, private searchers, L.A. County Sherriff and U.S. Coast Guard all participating.

Mrs. Wagner’s body was found approximately 200 yards off the Blue Cavern Point, Isthmus area of Catalina Island, and north of where the dinghy was found, near the shoreline, a couple hours earlier.

Mr. Wagner was also questioned regarding the possibility of suicide, however he states that wife was not suicidal.

Don Whiting was one of the private searches (sic) who located the dinghy and says that the key was in the ignition, which was in the off position. The gear was in neutral and the oars tied down, and it appeared as if the boat had not been used.

Descendant’s body had been taken from the ocean and placed in the Hyperbaric Chamber building for safe keeping. Upon this investigation’s arrival at location, decedent observed lying in “stokes litter.” Decedent is wrapped in plastic sheet, she herself is dressed in flannel nightgown and socks. The jacket that she was wearing when found floating, is no longer on the body, having come off when she was pulled from the water. At time decedent was pulled from the water, sheriff’s personnel says that body was absent of any rigor and they noted foam coming from mouth. Decedent still has foam coming from mouth. Rigor is now present of a 3 to 4+ throughout her entire body. Decedent has numerous bruises to legs and arms. Decedent’s eyes are also a bit cloudy appearing. No other trauma noted and foul play is not suspected at this time. Skipper of the Wagner boat, Dennis Davern, identified body to sheriff’s deputies.

Please notify Detectives Rasher (sic) and Hamilton 1 HR. prior to post.  (end report)

NO FOLLOW-UP investigation proceded to learn if the information in Eaker's report was accurate, meaning it was accepted that a call was placed immediately upon learning Natalie was missing. In actuality, that call hadn't been placed for over two hours after Natalie was no longer on the boat, and the Coast Guard not notified until after 3:30 AM.   The official search did not immediately start with all the help Eaker noted in her report. She basically accepted anything she was told, and the detectives accepted this report, with no further investigation into establishing a legitimate, verified timeline.
Also, a report by Deputy R.W. Knoll of the Avalon's Sheriff's Department written Sunday, Nov. 29, 1981 at 6:30 a.m. claims he observed the broken wine bottle in the main salon of Splendour, but also moted that the Wagner stateroom had clothing and things like empty wine bottles scattered about the room. 
NOTE: (could the empty wine bottles scattered in the stateroom be what Davern heard hitting the walls as he overheard the argument that transpired in the stateroom?) 

Thursday, May 27, 2010

How much do you weigh wearing a down jacket in water? Goodbye Natalie Goodbye Splendour cut copy.

Following is a calculation chart Dr. Lyndon Taylor estimated for me but it was edited from "Goodbye Natalie Goodbye Splendour" although I thought it was helpful.

This is from manuscript:

Buoyancy (By Dr. Lyndon Taylor)

Assume a 200 pound person:

1. About 80 of the body weight is water 200 lbs X 80% = 160 pounds of water

The water in the body has no weight in water so a floatation device does not have to support 160 of the person’s 200 pounds

2. 200 pounds – 160 pounds = 40 pounds

3. On the average, most people’s bodies have about 15% fat and fat is lighter than water so the floatation device does not have to support that weight either.

4. 200 pounds X 15% = 30 pounds

5. 40 pounds (from #2 above) – 30 pounds (from # 4 above) = 10 pounds.

6. A 200 pound person weighs only about 10 pounds in water!

7. A floatation device that has 10 pounds of buoyancy will keep the person afloat.

Assume Natalie Wood weighed 125 pounds:

1. 125 pounds X 80% = 100 pounds

2. 125 pounds – 100 pounds = 25 pounds

3. Assume that Natalie had 15% body fat - 125 X 15%= 18.75 pounds

4. 25 pounds (from # 2 above) – 18.75 pounds = 6.25 pounds

5. Natalie would have weighed 6.25 pounds in the water!

6. If the red down jacket had provided 6.25 pounds of buoyancy,
Natalie could not have drowned immediately!!

Wet down does not add weight to a person in the water—it, in fact, makes them virtually weightless! Natalie Wood was not hindered by a heavy down jacket to save herself. The jacket helped her to weigh less than 10 pounds in water. Official reports claim the down jacket’s saturated weight strapped her strength, and pulled her under. It has been repeated numerous times in relation to Natalie Wood’s death that a wet down jacket weighs 30 to 40 pounds. In fact, those claims were no more than an assumption. Apparently, no one weighed a jacket to prove the claim. Out of water, a wet down jacket weighs only half of those non-tested claims.

I had often wondered why Natalie wouldn’t have removed her jacket but, if she had, that would’ve made a bad situation even worse, for it was the down jacket that kept her afloat. She wouldn’t have been able to sink herself even if she tried. The jacket, even out of water wouldn’t have hindered her in mounting a dinghy. The extra 15 pounds wouldn’t even have registered until completely out of water. Natalie’s buoyant jacket made her virtually weightless in the water—providing an easier lift to the dinghy, not a cumbersome one.

As reported, wine may have distorted Natalie’s obvious choices, yet it’s more likely that Natalie didn’t take off the jacket because she recognized it was her life preserver, thus she had no reason to remove it. It protected her and probably offered her hope.

A down jacket has no saturated weight in water. It is 100% buoyant. Natalie was as safe as a duck wearing her jacket in the water. There would have been ample time to save her, even before hypothermia danger. Natalie would have had ample time to swim back to Splendour.

There existed ample choices, too, but also, as a floating object, she was prone to the strong ocean currents that could have pulled her out to sea further….just as Lyn Taylor’s drift tests proved.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A little plan for my vacation this year

Since 1992, almost every summer we vacation at the same place. Wildwood, NJ, or "The Wildwoods" as they are called because there is Wildwood Crest, Wildwood (itself), and North Wildwood. We've stayed in all three districts, as the boardwalk is accessible from any section, one that includes three piers, water parks, arcades, amusements, great restaurants and free ocean beach the entire length of a two-mile long boardwalk famous for "Watch the Tram-car, Please" -- the female recorded voice from the 50's that all the constantly running tramcars play so you'll get out of their way.

Wildwood used to be called "Little Vegas" and it has maintained the charm of the 60's and 70's (famous area doo-wop era) but the Wildwood Convention Center features all kinds of great current bands, and there are beach concerts and night beach movies and fireworks every Friday Night. The night clubs are trendy and always packed. Every server carries a tray of appletinis in glass tubes around.

The Crest is the quietest, the middle (Wildwood) is more active, lots of young people, and North Wildwood is a mix. It's a great place for all ages and destined to be one of the vacation capitals of the world as every year there are vast improvements on an already fantastic place. Lot's of beautiful condos replaced old buildings, but historic blocks remain. And historic, charming Cape May is right next door.
I guess you could call us "regulars" -- although one year we went to Cancun and I remember saying I missed Wildwood. Another year we went to Myrtle Beach and I remember saying I missed Wildwood. The year we went to DisneyWorld, I admit that I did not miss Wildwood, but it was good to get back there the next year, and that's where we've gone since, usually renting a townhouse in North Wildwood or a house in the Crest, depending on the mood that year. This summer, I'm looking forward to the Crest. We usually have about 8 to 12 residents, and many people visit. Sometimes our friends rent the same week, and our cousin has a summer house there, so the socializing is constant, and you don't dare sneak off to Wildwood without telling everyone or your friends and family stay mad at you for months. 

Why am I posting this at my Natalie Wood/book blog? Maybe just because I love the place so much I don't mind promoting it (I do highly recommend it), but maybe also because I've got vacation on the brain: I don't think I've ever been looking forward to one more.
Maybe I'm nostalgic tonight, too. I read my very first "beach book" on the Wildwood Crest beach when I was 14 while vacationing for two weeks as a couple's babysitter for three young kids. Those kids were great and I had a blast with them on the boardwalk, and I felt like I grew up and got wise to the world that summer with "Valley of the Dolls" on the beach and the movie "Sex and the Single Girl" starring Natalie Wood on the boardwalk, although it had been out for a while, I got to see it that year on one of my free nights. Bell bottoms were just becoming the rage that year, and who said they would never return? I also wore my first bikini ... and the freckles across my nose were considered "in."
Is there anything that compares to young, warm memories?
But, I'm also planning this summer to test a down coat in the ocean. I will film it and will post a YouTube video of the experience. It's not that I don't have confidence in my backyard test, it's just that I want a recording of the ocean experience, too.  I know that down coats are the most buoyant thing you can depend on in water, but I want to see how ocean currents affect the ability to maneuver around.

In the meantime, if you are planning a vacation, The Wildwoods will surprise you!
New Jersey has some of the nicest beaches in the world. New Jersey is not the armpit of New York and those jokes fade fast the minute you visit the real New Jersey. Here's a link about The Wildwoods, and I bet you'll be singing the little tune about it, even if you never visit. (wait for the video)

 Wildwood, Wildwood Crest, North Wildwood, The Wildwoods, NJ, New Jersey boardwalk, NJ Beach Vacation

Splendour Dinghy Ropes

This photo shows where the rear deck argument occured. Where the person is standing on the bridge is where Dennis was located the night Natalie fought her last argument with her husband. Where Wagner is by the swimstep door is where one of the dinghy lines was tied to a cleat, and the other line was tied to a cleat at the top of the transom all the way across the rear wall (12 feet across), and there is no need to ever enter the swimstep to adjust dinghy lines as the lines would be adjusted one at a time from the deck. A float-away dinghy is virtually impossible. The dinghy was tied to the two cleats shown in this diagram, flush against the swimstep with two lines, one at each end of the transom wall.
Dennis saw the couple on the rear deck and he heard the couple on the rear deck, moments before Natalie was no longer on the boat.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Parts cut from an edited chapter of Goodbye Natalie Goodbye Splendour

Following is copy that the editor cut from the book. I fought to keep it because it is about Natalie Wood but there simply was not room enough for everything I had written over the years.

Chapter Copy:

Since 1983, what I learned about Natalie Wood had grown from a fan magazine portrait to a deep comprehension of a woman who tried to juggle it all.

She is legend.

I recently learned that a teacher needed a copy of a Natalie film entitled A Cry in the Night because she will be teaching a course examining the sexual revolution and is using Natalie’s life and career to teach the course.
Natalie is in the Encyclopedia Britannica. True legends are used in classrooms and make it to encyclopedias.

Natalie once said (Filmbug.com: On Being a Child Actor): “I spent practically all my time in the company of adults. I was very withdrawn, very shy, I did what I was told and I tried not to disappoint anybody. I knew I had a duty to perform, and I was trained to follow orders.”

On screen you often saw a fragile woman, but nothing was further from the truth. George Segal worked with her on The Last Married Couple in America in 1979. After her death, he said that everyone on the set had felt the need to protect her, but in reality she was stronger than all of them put together.

Yet nothing in Natalie’s accomplished career supersedes what she had perfected for her private life. When someone makes everyone around them happy and comfortable, a lot of work goes into the effort. Natalie always cared unconditionally for her family and friends, and she helped virtually every single person in that circle, continually. But even when Natalie drew away, it was an act of love and concern. She had learned when to stop enabling but still remained everyone’s rock of security to the day she died.

There is a song Natalie liked to sing as a young adult called When the World Was Young (artist Peggy Lee). You can picture Natalie with her cigarette holder tilted away, sitting at a night club table, a wine glass with lipstick imprint in front of her, smiling as she felt these words:

They call me coquette and mademoiselle
And I must admit I like it quite well
It’s something to be the darling of all
Le grande femme fatale
The Belle of the Ball

There’s nothing as gay as life in “Paree”
There’s no other person I’d rather be
I like what I do, I like what I see.
But where is the schoolgirl that used to be me?

You’ll see me in Cape D’Antibes, or in Spain,
I follow the sun by boat or by plane
It’s any old millionaire in a storm
For I’ve got my mink to keep my heart warm

And sometimes I drink too much with the crowd
And sometimes I laugh a little too loud
My head may be aching but it’s unbowed
And sometimes I see it all through a cloud.

Motherhood served as the catalyst that took Natalie to her decisive moment in life. When she held her daughter Natasha in her arms, she cradled her own lost childhood simultaneously. What she had missed, she now had returned. Her recaptured love with R.J. Wagner only intensified her desire to maintain the steadiness of her maturity.

Natalie Wood, the actress, was a consummate professional. Her personal favorite performance was in This Property Is Condemned. Her favorite film was West Side Story. As a woman, she was a vivacious blend of everything fun, sexy, chic, and beautiful—on and off the studio set. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, unless rules change, will never offer Natalie a lifetime achievement Oscar, as The Academy does not offer posthumous special awards, and lifetime achievement awards fall into that category. But, of all the things Natalie would have wanted since 1981 would be for her daughters to find contentment in life. Natalie’s daughters have grown into beautiful women. They were raised and cared for with love.

Natalie’s daughters always provided her with a complete sense of satisfaction that no studio job or award would ever be able to match. True contentment in life almost always comes down to loving and being loved. Natalie Wood cherished her Natasha and Courtney, her two daughters who filled her with pride.

Natalie knew exactly what she wanted in life. She wanted a normal life for her children, and she wanted contentment for her parents, her sisters and their children. She wanted to act. She valued her career. She wanted to continue loving. Natalie embraced life. She was a happy woman trying to work out some problems and emotions at the time of her death, but she deserves better than what she has since been dealt.

She was thought of in the industry as a survivor. Personally and professionally, she was a survivor. She still survives.  That's what legends do.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Who has "the proof" ???

I've been accused of having "no proof" for the claims made in Goodbye Natalie Goodbye Splendour. When authorities who know how to do their jobs are looking for evidence, no matter how much physical evidence is available, most will agree that the BEST proof they can acquire is AN EYEWITNESS.

THAT'S what we have for Goodbye Natalie Goodbye Splendour. Our book is based on an EYE and EAR witness account of SOMEONE WHO WAS RIGHT THERE IN THE MIDDLE of the events leading to Natalie Wood's death. He SAW. He HEARD. And everything he saw and heard, and everything he experienced as a RESULT of being the ONLY eyewitness is DOCUMENTED in this book.

We hired one of the BEST polygraphists on the East Coast, an experienced, professional man who worked in criminal law for decades. EVERYTHING Dennis saw and heard corresponds with the physical evidence that DOES exist.

Dennis Davern and I are not lying, and we are willing to go to any length authorities would request of us. One sit-down with Dennis Davern and THEY would know he's not lying, too. We're working on arranging that "sit-down."

So, I suggest to those readers who insist on calling us liars, to present exactly WHAT they claim we are "lying about" -- and then to discuss it civilly or to PROVE IT.  There isn't one thing they can challenge legitimately, so they cower and hide from THIS HONEST blog and sprout up their own little empty blogs and they invade decent posts and reviews at Amazon to spread their little wishful thoughts.

Dennis and I are not lying, thus we are willing to go on record to defend ourselves, and now will make a concentrated effort to do just that. Only people who CAN'T defend themselves hide instead of defending themselves from false accusations. Dennis and I can prove our words, down to the tabletop the bottle was smashed upon! We only wanted the truth available to the public because we learned long ago we couldn't depend upon the law, but we've learned that we don't have to stick to the negligent original detectives to help our mission.  So, all of you who still don't want to accept truth, and all of you who want this carried further: you've got it! More details to come.

15 Questions the Authorities Could Ask.

If the authorities don't know how to handle a new interview in the Natalie Wood case, they could start by asking these questions:

1) Why didn't you allow your boat skipper to turn on the searchlight?

2) Why did you demand that your boat skipper not be open and thorough with authorities?

3) Why did you say the dinghy was tied port?

4) Why did you lie about who was in the room when you smashed the wine bottle, when you finally did admit it over 20 years later?

5) Why didn't you tell us about the bottle smashing when we interviewed you the first time? You said you had no idea what happened. You don't think the bottle smashing would've angered your wife?

6) Why didn't you call for help for your wife immediately?

7) Why the 2 1/2 hour wait to call the local people? Why 2 more hours to concede to Coast Guard being called?

8) Why did you lie about why your wife spent the night on the island Friday night?

9) Why was your stateroom in shambles (there ARE pictures of it)?

10) You really think your wife received over two dozen bruises from one fall?

11) If you didn't think about the banging dinghy "theory" before learning that your wife was found in her nightgown, why did you tell the harbormaster she was wearing her nightgown when she went missing?

12) Why didn't you ever want to learn anything from Marilyn Wayne who probably heard your wife's cries for help?

13) Why did you take your "boat caretaker" under your wing for so long after your wife's death? You hired him an attorney, you paid for his therapy, you got him an acting job, you gave him money....why?

14) Why didn't you ever inform us that the dinghy is tied with two lines and that no one needs to go onto the swimstep to adjust those lines because they can actually be adjusted from the deck?

15) Why didn't you ever ask the detectives or coroner ANY questions, not even one?

The Following Four Videos

The four videos posted below speak volumes, too. Who was his first love? How afraid of water was Natalie? Who is "the drunk?" and How uncomfortable can someone lying become? Also, how many people were on board that night? Was it REALLY just Natalie, Walken and Wagner? Suddenly, Dennis is invisible? Diane Sawyer didn't have the guts to mention him either, or maybe she was warned not to? I do credit Ms. Sawyer on trying to bring out SOME truth, although she didn't succeed or pursue the openings.

Robert Wagner on GMA 092308

Natasha Gregson Wagner [Sep-2001] - interview

Natalie & RJ on "Donahue"

Natalie Wood on Bette Davis @ AFI Tribute

Standing Behind Our Book

I accuse the authorities in the Natalie Wood case of performing a horrid job in getting to the truth about the circumstances surrounding this unimaginable death.

Goodbye Natalie Goodbye Splendour is an accurate, polygraphed account of the true details surrounding Natalie's death and the book speaks for itself. Whatever it insinuates is DERIVED from FACTS.

Dennis Davern and I invite any polygraphist, any authority, any media to challenge our FACTUAL BOOK. We will cooperate with any questioning, and requests.


Three men were left standing the night Natalie Wood went missing from her yacht, Splendour. Two celebrities, Natalie's co-star and boat guest, Christopher Walken, and her husband, TV actor, Robert Wagner. And there was Dennis Davern the "hired captain" -- the "boat caretaker" as Wagner later called him. When asked by authorities what transpired over the weekend, all three men said, "It was a pleasant weekend and we don't know what might've happened." ALL THREE MEN LIED THE MORNING NATALIE'S BODY WAS FOUND, and a NEGLIGENT detective believed them.

Robert Wagner had asked Dennis Davern throughout the night to lie. He told him to say NOTHING to authorities about what the weekend had really been like. He asked Dennis to only speak through an attorney he would hire for him. Dennis didn't like it, but he obeyed.  Christopher Walken lied because he wanted to protect his celebrity, too. The two celebrities were not and are not "gentlemen" -- they are liars, just like Dennis Davern WAS a liar. All three men had been drinking heavily, and ALL THREE MEN LIED to protect themselves from hard questions AND SUSPICION.  But one knew immediately that he would not lie forever. Dennis Davern. The two celebrities determined to always keep the deep dark secret that it had been a very unpleasant weekend, and that Wagner had accused Walken of wanting to have sex with Natalie when he smashed a wine bottle before having a terrible marital argument with her in their stateroom. The argument carried over to the back deck and stayed there until Natalie went missing. Davern witnessed it.

Dennis Davern, because he had been threatened and warned and followed started to tell only parts of his story, to "test the repercussions" (he DID fear for his own life, just as Marilyn Wayne who was a witness to cries for help feared for her life after receiving threats). Dennis eventually told his entire truth and I wrote his account for Goodbye Natalie Goodbye Splendour. I stayed true to his words and Dennis had his account polygraphed and he passed the tests administered by a top polygraphist who worked in criminal law for over 25 years. 

Dennis Davern's account of what transpired the night Natalie Wood died is the truth about the circumstances surrounding Natalie Wood's death. There are no lies told in his detailed account. The two celebrities who shared the weekend with Natalie--her co-star and her husband-- have been proven to be liars by Dennis's polygraphed account along with supporting evidence of his account. Neither of them will voluntarily agree to a polygraph because they would not/could not pass it, UNLESS they told the SAME story Dennis Davern has told.

There are two remaining liars left standing. They say nothing because they cannot refute Dennis's story.
Dennis has owned up to his mistakes and has told the complete truth and the complete truth is being accepted.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The danger was intensified by alcohol...

Yes, Natalie Wood's alcohol level on the night she lost her life was .14, a level considered legally drunk. Wouldn't that have been ALL the MORE reason to not allow her to be alone out in the dinghy if her husband really believed that's where she was? Wouldn't that be ALL the MORE reason to turn on the searchlight and call for help immediately?
Her plight was doubly dangerous because the group had been drinking for hours. Her husband had smashed a wine bottle in anger, and that indicated she not only was missing "under the influence" but also missing "under disturbance." Natalie was inebriated and disturbed at her husband's actions. Those two factors demanded attention when she was "missing." Dennis Davern knew they should do something immediately. Her husband demanded NOTHING be done. His concerned act didn't start until an island worker showed up at the yacht over two hours later.
"Find her," he then started demanding.

A few hypothetical questions with real answers...

TV Characters:

Q: Would TV Character Jonathan Hart have waited over 2 hours to begin a search or call for help for his missing lovely wife Jennifer? And then another 2 hours to notify the professional Coast Guard?

A: Not even a daring script writer would've taken the character of Jonathan Hart in such a frightening, negligent direction.

Real Husbands:

Q: Would a LOVING husband hesitate to be concerned about his wife who is deathly afraid of water being missing from a boat late at night on a miserable rainy night after he already saw her dressed in her nightgown and knows she isn't familiar with how to operate the dinghy, one that had a broken headlight, on an island where there was no place to go?

A: There isn't a person existing who isn't a liar if they answer yes to this question.

Q: Would a CARING husband identify his own wife.

A: In most cases.

Q: Would a CURIOUS husband demand of the authorities answers to what could have happened to his wife? Was there a squall that capsized the dinghy? Could an intruder have been in the area? Were there any other strange happenings that same night? Does ANYONE have ANY clue why his wife was found drowned?

A: You'd think any man who knew nothing about how his wife ended up floating in the ocean would have QUESTIONS. Natalie Wood's husband had NONE.  Stands to reason one only has questions when he doesn't already know the answers.

Real Fathers:

Q: How long might a father have waited had he noticed a daughter missing from a yacht near midnight on an island with no place to go?

A: A father would've been screaming for help and demanding every drop of help from his on board skipper.

Real People:

Q: Would REAL people have ever stalled a search for a missing woman who is afraid of water?

A: No. The REAL skipper who knew something was wrong  was told to not do anything by the only person who knew Natalie was in grave danger. The REAL skipper still wanted to do something, but the husband of the missing wife convinced him she would be back.

Q: Would REAL people want to help if they'd been notified someone was missing?

A: Yes, REAL people would've turned on lights and made calls but they weren't notified of a missing person the night Natalie went missing. The REAL couple who heard cries for help called for help immediately but none arrived as the harbormaster was home in bed assuming there were no people in his harbor who would allow a woman to die.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Bodies never lie

It's true: bodies never lie—the truth was right there in Natalie’s bruises and in her attire. Natalie’s body spoke volumes. No one listened, but Natalie’s lifetime mantra will always remain her cry from the grave: “I’m deathly afraid of water that is dark.”


For those who claim there is not enough evidence to re-open the Wood case, here's a list of 28 reasons why this case should be reviewed again. This is a list of all the things completely missed within the initial investgation that lasted only days.

In Goodbye Natalie Goodbye Splendour I present a polygraphed account of the only witness who saw and heard the circumstances leading to Natalie no longer being on the yacht. If it insinuates foul-play than that's what it does, but I am NOT accusing anyone of anything other than the fact that the authorities did not handle this case with any exterior thinking, any real look at evidence (which there is PLENTY of) or with the possibility -- just the POSSIBILITY -- that something was very wrong with this particular death scene.

I do not believe that authorities had looked for every possible explanation to support “accident” or otherwise. I believe they wrapped this up as fast as they could so they wouldn't have to answer to the media. Everyone immediately accepted Natalie’s death as accidental because it was incomprehensible to believe otherwise. Natalie and R.J. were considered the perfect Hollywood couple. They were gentle. They were happy. No inconsistency in that everlasting love of R.J.’s and Natalie’s had ever been publicly proclaimed after their second marriage. No one knew or even suspected trouble in their paradise, save a few of Natalie’s closest confidants. Therefore, how could Natalie Wood’s untimely death have been anything but accidental? Even detectives can make mistakes.

But this was the mistake in thinking that everyone made. Natalie’s death scene was far more indicative of foul play than of accident, but the mainstream media that had always offered us the wisdom and endurance of R.J.’s and Natalie’s love could only remain impartial.

The investigation into Natalie Wood’s death was botched in part because we had all been previously impressed with something far too good to be so suddenly false. There was utter disorder in the attempt to reach a logical explanation in the days following Natalie’s death. No one seemed driven to get to the bottom of this incomprehensible death. It was easier to let Natalie “rest in peace.” In the long run, this strategy backfired. Everyone was to blame.

My involvement with Dennis Davern and my acquired knowledge leads me to believe that Natalie Wood’s death was completely preventable and is the result of an argument that led to her ending up in the ocean: how she got into the water is what officials should pursue. 


1. A Friday night argument that separated a husband and a wife. The wife slept with her boat captain in a motel because of a fight, not because of rough seas. She called friends and relatives Saturday morning and mentioned the trouble. Not one of those call recipiants reported Natalie's troubles.

2. A “banging dinghy theory” propagated by the surviving husband is questionable in view of the fact the dinghy had been tied with two lines at the stern.

3. Wagner has lied, claiming the dinghy was tied port.

4. The dinghy lines are adjustable from Splendour’s deck.

5. The bottle smashing occurred within fifteen minutes after the Wagner party returned from a dinner. There was tension over dinner. Wagner has admitted smashing the wine bottle in an angry rage. He and Davern allowed the detectives to believe rough seas broke the bottle.

6. Wagner joined Natalie in their stateroom within minutes after his bottle smashing and was with her until she left the yacht.

7. Natalie had not taken her sleeping pill, thus had probably not retired to bed yet, thus a banging dinghy was not disturbing her sleep.

8. A terribly loud and revengeful fight took place in the master stateroom. Davern heard things being tossed around and hitting the walls. The fight carried out to the back deck. Dennis saw and heard Wagner and Wood on the deck, arguing.

9. Davern turned on music to muffle the fight. At this point, Marilyn Wayne and John Payne heard a woman’s cries for help from drowning.

10. Marilyn Wayne called for help. The Harbor Patrol did not answer. This is supported by the fact that Doug Bombard had to drive to the harbormaster’s house to inform him of trouble later that night. The cries started at approximately five minutes after eleven. Marilyn Wayne heard the cries for approximately twenty minutes. This is the exact time span that Davern was playing music.

11. Marilyn Wayne heard a man's voice respond to the cries for help. This indicates that someone knew the woman crying for help was in danger. Marilyn Wayne was completely ignored by detectives. She was immediately labeled as a woman who "wanted her name in the papers" and the detective interviewed waitresses but not the woman who most likely heard Natalie's last calls for help.

12. It stands to reason that the cries for help came from Natalie Wood. It stands to reason that the man’s voice answering her could have been Wagner’s voice. He had been on the deck with her when she went missing.

13. Natalie’s socks could not have remained on her feet had she clung to a dinghy and tried to mount it. It is unlikely Natalie was with the dinghy for long if at all. Drift tests and other circumstantial evidence support this.

14. Dr. Lyndon Taylor’s drift tests prove that Natalie and the dinghy, as free-floating objects, would end up exactly where each was found the morning of November 29, 1981.

15. Natalie was found in nightgown and coat. This apparel combination is too unconventional to suggest she was attempting to leave the yacht with nowhere on the island to go.

16. At what point in a full-blown argument would Natalie likely have donned her jacket? Would she put on a jacket and not shoes or underwear to leave a yacht? She would not have needed her coat for any of the theories thus far presented. The dinghy’s headlight was out. She would have needed someone to hold a flashlight to serve as a headlight if she were going to take the dinghy out. The broken headlight was never investigated.

17. Down coats float. Down coats do not weigh a person down in water. Down jackets weigh less than half the weight out of water as reported by the medical examiner’s office.

18. Wagner told harbormaster Doug Oudin in the middle of the night that Natalie was wearing her nightgown when she went missing. Weeks later, Wagner said he did not think about the banging dinghy possibility until he learned, after Natalie’s body was found, that Natalie was in her nightgown. But Wagner knew Natalie was wearing only her nightgown on deck. This makes the coat factor all the more suspicious. Wagner later claims in his autobiography that he had seen his wife in her nightgown while she brushed her hair. Which is it?

19. Wagner wanted off the island fast. He immediately secured attorneys. He gave Rasure a hard time for scheduling a second interview. He lied in both interviews. There was not one mention of smashing a wine bottle in anger during his two interviews with Rasure. But he had no qualms telling Lambert that he, indeed, had smashed the bottle, and he changed the details of the bottle-smashing for his own autobiography. Walken, Davern, and Wood witnessed the bottle-smashing.

20. A trashed stateroom, with Natalie’s jewelry found on the floor are supporting evidence of the stateroom fight Davern overheard.

21. Wagner admits to author Gavin Lambert that he was upset and jealous during the cruise of November 1981. In his own book, he calls Walken a "gentleman" -- which is it?

22. Wagner told Dennis he did not want to search for his wife because he needed to protect his reputation. He deliberately stalled a search. He refused to allow Davern to search for Natalie.

23. After Natalie went missing, Wagner drank alcohol with Davern. Wagner admits this over 20 years later.

24. Wagner refused to identify his wife’s body. This eliminated the opportunity for any person present to be able to witness Wagner’s reaction to Natalie’s bruises.

25. Natalie’s body was filled with bruises that could not have been caused by one quick fall from a boat or by mounting a dinghy. The small circular bruises at her ankles definitely show a pattern.

26. The four-hour delay in calling for professional help is a gigantic RED FLAG. It was reported in Finstad’s biography that Wagner sent a waitress into the ladies’ room at Doug’s Harbor Reef to check on Natalie when she was gone for over ten minutes. Natalie is missing from a boat, and he waits two hours to call for low key help? Then Wagner waited an additional two hours before allowing the Coast Guard to be called? This delay to call for help is inexcusable. It is unacceptable in boating law.

27. A timeline that fits every part of the only witness's account: Davern’s.

28. The Coast Guard Lieutenant, Roger Smith, who recovered Natalie's body tried to be vocal about his theory of Natalie's lifespan in water, but instead of being interviewed when he offered his professional opinion, he was demoted with a pay-cut and transferred off the island. The people closest to the actual timeline of when Natalie was in the water (Wayne, Payne and Roger Smith) were completely ignored by Detective Rasure.

Dennis Davern has said Natalie’s body looked as if it had been removed from a boxing ring rather than from an ocean. The least logical explanation offered for her bruises had been produced—no more than a theory—one not remotely resembling the truest details the immediate scene of this dead, famous woman offered.

Timeline NEVER established by authorities in Natalie Wood case

It took a nurses's association to finally develop the proper timeline corresponding with the important events for establishing what may have happened to Natalie. At the “Advance for Nurses” Web site http://nursing.advanceweb.com/Article/Historic-Trauma-Cases-Natalie-Wood.aspx you can view this timeline where Natalie's case is considered a trauma case because of the condition of her body (bruises). Noguchi was under severe pressure to wrap up the Wood case. He did not allow the time needed to accurately investigate Natalie's bruises, dress, time of death, etc.We were left with more questions and no answers from the medical examiner's office.

Noguchi claimed Natalie’s jacket had dragged her down. He is WRONG. This kind of information that down jackets weigh you down in water should be told only by people who have TESTED IT. I hear in articles, in reviews, in comments, and even on the autopsy report that the jacket weighed her down, from people who HAVE NOT TESTED IT. It's a simple test anyone can do, and you will astounded at the results. DOWN KEEPS YOU AFLOAT IN WATER!

Here is the nurse's timeline the officials on the Wood case had never put together. The dinner hour may be slightly off, but the remaining hours are accurate. This timeline is established from official records.

Timeline of Natalie Wood’s Disappearance (All Times PST)

Sat., Nov. 28, 1981

4 p.m. Wagner, Wood, Walken and Davern drink at the bar in Doug’s Harbor Reef restaurant in Two Harbors on Catalina Island

5 p.m. Quartet moved to the dining room for dinner

10 p.m. Party returns to Wagner and Wood’s yacht, the Splendor

10:45 p.m.–12 a.m. Time during which Wood is believed to have gone missing

11:05 p.m. Time woman on yacht 80 yards away from the Splendor tells police she heard a woman screaming

11:25 p.m. Time woman on nearby yacht says the woman’s screams stopped.

Sun., Nov. 29, 1981

1:30 a.m. Wagner calls the restaurant and asks the manager if Wood is there

2:30 a.m. Restaurant manager alerts harbormaster that Wood is missing

2:45 a.m. Harbormaster meets with Wagner on the Splendor

3:25 a.m. Wagner concedes the Coast Guard should be called in

5:30 a.m. Splendour’s dingy found about one mile from the yacht with oars inside and scratch marks on one side

7:45 a.m. Wood’s body found about 100 yards from dinghy

8:00 a.m. City of Los Angeles coroner is called

Thursday, May 13, 2010

NATALIE & LANA, a tribute to the Wood sisters

The Most Beautiful Girl I Ever Saw

Natalie Wood's Sister Wants Death Case Reopened

Thank you to Diane's Book Club

Thank you all for reading Goodbye Natalie for your May discussion meeting. It was such a pleasure to talk with all of you tonight. I'm sorry we had to discuss the book by phone conference and that I couldn't be there in person, but you all made me feel like I was right there with you. I appreciate every single question posed. Your thoughts and opinions and questions were all perceptive and pertinent and I thank everyone for allowing me the time to explain. Thank you for some food for thought on a few things I must be sure to elaborate on. I've got to tell you, you sure picked up on so many important points, and I listened intently. Again, thank you all so much. Sincerely, Marti

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

My Publisher for Hardback of Goodbye Natalie Goodbye Splendour

Phoenix Books & Audio - Main page

If you try to find GNGS through Medallion label as stamped on the book, you will be led to the wrong company. Medallion was a tradename used for GNGS by Phoenix Books and Audio, which is my publisher. (as listed at Barnes and Noble)
Phoenix was once known as the leader of audio books (which GNGS is available in that format, too) and one of the leading independant publishers. Phoenix has published many famous authors (including DICK VAN PATTEN, LARRY KING, BILL MAHER, GENE SIMMONS, JAMES BROWN, AND CARL REINER)  and bestselling books, too, amongst some of their special titles:

Tell Me a Silly Story, by Carl Reiner
Mr. New Orleans: The Life of a Big Easy Underworld Legend by Frenchy Brouillette & Matthew Randazzo
Dirty Laundry: Real Life. Real Stories. Real Funny, by Maggie Rowe, Andersen Gabrych, and others
My fight for Faith and Freedom, by Sabatina James
The Behavior Savior, by Dina Zaphiris
Loving Mailer, by Carol Mallory
The Last Day of My Life by Jim Moret
The Gin Closet by Leslie Jamison
We Rise:  Speeches by Inspirational Black Women

Here is a LINK to to a list of Phoenix's wonderful, amazing authors, of which I'm proud to be included in:

Phoenix Books & Audio - Browse titles

I always said it would take a brave publishing house to put GNGS on the market. Phoenix was it.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Why rehash the tragic death of Natalie Wood?

It doesn't please me to delve into the details of Natalie's last night, but because her death warrants the professional investigation it deserves, I continue to ask for support in encouraging the authorities to reopen the case. There are too many unanswered questions. There is a witness willing to give a detailed account and to explain why he held back in 1981. Christopher Walken and Robert Wagner have had their careers. It's time to get the three men left standing on that fateful cruise to come forward. Please sign the petition to have this case reopened and answered professionally.

1985 Star Magazine Article

This is the cover and start page of the July 23, 1985 edition of the Star magazine, the first time the bottle smashing was ever reported publicly. In an article weeks later, Wagner did not deny Dennis's account about the bottle smashing. About 20 years later he admitted the bottle smashing in Lambert's Natalie Wood biography and then again in his book Pieces of My Heart (where he changed the details around about the episode). Dennis Davern passed on a polygraph test that the bottle smashing occured and also about what was said when the bottle was being smashed against the table in the main salon where Christopher Walken, Robert Wagner, Natalie Wood, and Dennis were located after having returned from the restaurant after dinner. 

Detective Rasure assumed the "rough seas" *(the seas were not rough) had broken the bottle. He has been indifferent since later learning the truth about how and why the bottle was smashed. 

If you can read it in this posted article, Goodbye Natalie Goodbye Splendour was mentioned in the first lead-in paragraph. At this time, Dennis still lived in California. We were astounded, but not surprised, to see that the authorities were unwilling to believe "nobody Davern" over "somebody Wagner." That's a terrible mistake even our law can make. How many cases go in favor of a hefty bank account over a truthteller? It's the nature of our society.    
Dennis and I worked with Star reporter Brian Haugh and Star senior editor George Carpozi for this long ago article. George Carpozi later went on to publish a bestselling book titled "Poisen Pen" a journal of his study on the controversial author Kitty Kelley. George had suggested to me to always back up content with facts and proof. 

Some reviewers have asked, "Where's the proof?" in regards to the claims in GNGS.
The "proof" is Dennis Davern.
But they don't like that answer so they insult Dennis and say untrue things about him, totally ignoring the fact that for over 6 years, Dennis was the ONLY captain or boat "caretaker" they employed. The Wagner family trusted Dennis, they brought him into their hearts and home. Dennis didn't turn into an unfit captain or a horrible person just because he made the mistake of listening to his boss, his FRIEND, Robert Wagner.

Yes, Dennis should have spilled out EVERYTHING for the detectives, but instead he listened to RJ and gave his statement through an attorney Wagner hired for him. Because he DIDN'T see exactly how Natalie got into the water, he thought it best to just follow instructions and not to cause more trouble. Dennis once said that he really believed the detectives would figure everything out anyway, and no one was more astounded than Dennis when that didn't happen. By that time he was holed up in a Wagner house bedroom and scared to death to make a move without checking with RJ first.

Dennis's family and friends and his then fiance wanted him OUT of that house. We all saw the transformation in Dennis as it occured. Dennis stayed loyal to RJ until he realized that what haunted him was also killing him. Although he didn't see how Natalie got into the water, he did see and hear enough to know WHY she ended up in the water. There was NO banging dinghy. Dennis was a witness and his account passed on a polygraph test. If that isn't an honest attempt to prove who's telling truth and who's telling lies, I don't know what is. Notwithstanding, his account is the only sensible explanation ever offered. His account meshes with every documented fact and known detail of that tragic night. It's rather compelling when you think about it. Good detectives usually know that when everything finally meshes, and FITS, therein lies the answer to any mystery.

Most adorable

Photo taken by Dennis Davern of Courtney Wagner holding the kittens she adored. Her mom was also an animal lover. This is also an intimate look into the Wagner home. Natalie had family photos everywhere, and you can see some of them on the background table. Natalie adored her daughters and loved making her home warm and inviting and relaxing for all family members. 

More Photos

Top: Wagner family Children's Nanny, Willie Mae Worthen with Courtney and
Below: Dennis Davern with Courtney on a babysitting day.

Splendour Boat Replica

(Photos taken by Dennis Davern): Above: A replica of Splendour Natalie commissioned an artist to complete as a gift from her to RJ for their 5th wedding anniversary. RJ loved the gift and had it placed in a wall inset in their guest house. There's a photo of Natalie and RJ in frames above the boat model that's enclosed in glass. The bottom photo is the kitchen in the Canon Drive home with an eight-burner gas range.  

Natalie's Canon Drive Home

This was the Wagner family home on Canon Drive, and their inviting front porch (photos taken by Dennis Davern)

More photos

Photo 1: Dennis Davern's brother, Paul Davern, at Splendour's helm (nephew in background). The Wagner family befriended Paul, too. He worked for them part-time for a year or so.
Photo 2: Dennis's mother, Ruth Davern, with RJ at his studio set. RJ invited her for a personal tour. 

Latest Amazon Review of Goodbye Natalie Goodbye Splendour

Amazon.com: Goodbye Natalie, Goodbye Splendour (9781597776394): Marti Rulli, Dennis Davern: Books

Thank you to all reviewers for taking the time to offer your thoughts and opinions of Goodbye Natalie Goodbye Splendour, the story I always felt compelled to tell. Of course, as the writing author, I like the
5-star reviews best, but even the 1-star reviews and those inbetween give me a lot to think about, and I appreciate reader input. Following is the latest review and my comment afterward.

2-Star Review By CintiBonnie "bonnie8" (Cincinnati, Ohio United States) 

This review is from: Goodbye Natalie, Goodbye Splendour (Hardcover)

A huge fan of Natalie Wood, I never found the previously published reports of her tragic death to ring true. Some of the information in Goodbye Natalie, Goodbye Splendour provides real food for thought and makes me wish that if the police will not reopen the case, a respected investigative news show would take a fresh and critical look. That having been said, this 331 page book contains about 31 pages - at most - of actual information. It is a compelling story told in the most tedious and boring fashion possible. I understand that Marti Rulli is not a professional author and was only in a position to write the book as a result of her access to the former Splendour captain but the publisher really should have heavily edited and tightened it up. I dozed off more than once trying to get through this. It was repetitive and unorganized and, at times, whiney. I believe that the book raises serious and legitimate questions about the suspicious death of this wonderful actress but Captain Davern would have been far more credible if he had spoken up sooner than almost 30 years after the fact.
Bonnie, thank you for taking the time to offer your honest opinion. I started the book in 1983 and worked it as a journal forward. I agree, it could have been tighter. I have read thousands of books and appreciate the tight ones best. It was SO DIFFICULT to decide what to keep and what to set aside. I did trust in the publisher's professional editor to help more in that respect, but after 25 years, all of the material suddenly became a "rush job" -- I was so confused. Over 100 pages were cut, so imagine that! I bet you are heaving a sigh of relief  :-)
Some readers (including my own daughter) thought it was far too long to wait until chapter 26 for Dennis to finally "tell all" -- it took my daughter a full day of reading to get to that chapter and she became frustrated (even though she knew the story) and what I said to her I will now say to all: "Imagine how it felt for ME, in REAL time, to wait ten years for that chapter?" So, I didn't intentionally want to frustrate readers, but I wanted them to have a sense of my frustration, too.
I also thought it extremely important to explain how Dennis came to work for the Wagner family, to show what his relationship was like with the family, and to show his mistakes as real mistakes, not as excuses, and I apologize if it was difficult to decide what would be reader-friendly. Yes, as a first time author, I did leave it to professionals, and when I wanted one last shot at tightening, there was no time left to meet deadline. After 25 years of journal labor you'd think there was plenty of time to tighten, but this isn't your everyday, average story, thus, it always posed a real challenge, so, yes, I sometimes whined.
I truly appreciate your input and recognize what should've been avoided, but the repetition was NOT intended as an insult to readers' comprehension abilities. It happens that many of the important details applied in several different aspects of the story. I would NEVER have written a fiction story so loosely, but because this was a living journal, so to speak, I simply had to tell it as it happened. Truth is stranger than fiction. And now I feel that even my explanation is verbose but it feels good for the opportunity to answer a grammar/writing-related part of a review. Thank you for reading Goodbye Natalie.

PS: As for those 30 years, we more than any wish it could have been sooner.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Splendour Family Cruises

Here are a couple of photos taken by Dennis Davern during family Splendour outings. (top: young Courtney near the bow, bottom: Natasha having fun on a jet ski, off of Catalina Island)

Natalie in the Wheelhouse

Natalie in the background as RJ navigates the Splendour (photo taken by Dennis Davern)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Natalie Wood's Young Daughters

This is a photograph Dennis Davern took of Natalie Wood's daughters, Courtney and Natasha, one afternoon aboard the Splendour. Courtney was brushing Natasha's long hair. There were many family cruises and outings aboard the Splendour. The quiet family cruises were when Natalie was most relaxed. She loved being a mother. The silhouette of Natasha resembles Natalie's profile.

If she were YOUR mother....PLEASE SIGN TODAY!

The comment from the 389th signer of the petition says it all:

Life is precious, if she was ur mother, daughter, wife, ect u would want the same. Just reopen the case


Blogger: Marti Rulli, Author: Goodbye Natalie Goodbye Splendour (Natalie Wood) - Create Post

Petition to Re-Open Natalie Wood Case: Sign on Mother's Day! Natalie Wood was a Wonderful Mother.

Reopen Investigation of Natalie Wood's death Petition

Thank you to all who have recently signed the petition. Natalie Wood was a loving mother who deserved to spend a full life with her daughters, and they deserved to have her around for decades longer than the short time they were able to share with her. When Natalie gave birth to her daughter Natasha, it illuminated her life. She knew, finally, the truest meaning of love. When she gave birth to her daughter, Courtney, she was amazed at her capacity to love and care for her cherished daughters. Although her parenting ideas may have gone in a different direction than had HER mother's, she learned so much more about her own mother through loving her own daughters.

At at party Natalie once co-hosted for Polish and Russian visitors to Los Angeles, she and her parents served as helpful translators for those in the group who couldn't speak English. It was a day Natalie bonded with her mother and saw how her mother was truly a person who seemed thrilled to help others, how she drew satisfaction from being part of a support team. Natalie saw many wonderful qualities in her mother and appreciated her mother, and she recognized that the differences she had with her mother are universal differences: the type most every mother/daughter relationship goes through when daughters become women. Natalie had hoped to make the change from young woman to adult as easy as possible for her beloved daughters, but she never got the chance.

These are Natalie's words:

As far as personal relationships go, I recall another line from "Splendor" - "I now see my parents as people, not as Mother and Father."  My parents and I visit each other frequently, but we no longer are burdened with overwhelming ideas about what parents and children should be like.

Yes, Natalie had learned, long before her daughters were born that she would let them be who they were born to be. She wanted to guide them, to help them, and to nurture them, but she never would have interfered with their very beings. In her too brief time with her daughters, she left a forever imprint designed of nothing but love.

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all. For those of you with only memories of your mom, I hope all of your memories make you smile.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Gratitude and Awe

Thank you all for your emails and comments. I am eternally grateful to all of you for your support and concern for "Goodbye Natalie Goodbye Splendour."
And, yes, I am aware of and in awe of the controversy displayed at various Internet sites and discussion forums but the awe stems not from those who question facts, but from those who insist upon distorting the polygraphed account of a witness to the tragic weekend of Natalie Wood's death and the documented facts about the Natalie Wood case. Oh, how I wish I had such time on my hands.

As I commented before, GNGS speaks for itself, but in regards to the legitimate question of why we "waited so long" I will explain that over and over. Why Dennis withheld his information from the authorities at the scene and for a few years after is PART of the story. The myriad reasons for his choices do not excuse him, but it certainly EXPLAINS HIM. He is human: he made mistakes, but he is willing to own up to those mistakes and move forward. He is willing to cooperate with authorities.

Through the years, I patiently waited for him to tell things at his own pace because I recognized his dilemma and utter confusion over the "right choice" to make. I never once coerced information from him but I did offer my opinion of what the right move should be and I constantly encouraged Dennis to contact authorities, but that sometimes created more confusion for Dennis. Of all the people you hope to stand behind truth and justice, you would expect it from the law, but they seemed unwilling to cooperate. That was easier for them. It would eliminate the need to admit their shortcomings. It was a Sheriff's Department handling Natalie's death and Sheriff's Departments can't afford blunders, and sometimes politics does get in the way of justice, and it lingers. That doesn't mean there is no hope for reopening the Wood case. In fact, there are high hopes for it and I'm not the only person working toward that goal.

The Internet adversaries are entitled to their thoughts and have every right to voice their opinions, but their bizarre tangents only enforce the important need to reopen the Natalie Wood case.

I've always been fond of proverbs, especially the ancient Chinese ones and I read a couple today that apply to my philosophy and pride in my accomplishments for Natalie's case.
Deer-hunter, waste not your arrow on the hare.
I keep my eye on the "deer" so all of the nonsense being posted here and there may sometimes awe me and frustrate me, but it never distracts me.

Another proverb I like is “Will not yield despite a hundred setbacks ”
Oh, we've experienced our setbacks and disappointments, but the goal here is bigger than all of us put together. It's justice for a woman who truly deserves it, as any one of us deserves in the face of such a tragic, convoluted event. Natalie paid with her life because she wanted a pleasant, social, lighthearted boat outing with her guest, friend and costar Christopher Walken.  She deserves justice and there isn't an intimidation existing that will stop the decent, caring people from going after justice, even after all of these years.

The adversaries who think that the supporters of justice for Natalie are all conspiracy-minded fools are dead wrong.  Amongst supporters are doctors, psychologists, sociologists, authors, lawyers and many, many decent, justice-oriented citizens who know that when it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it usually IS a duck.

Truly, I appreciate you and thank you. Please know I am hard at work and will provide updates as soon as available. If you have any questions, please ask them here.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

"The Changeling" and Request to Sign Petition to Re-Open Natalie Wood Case.

Reopen Investigation of Natalie Wood's death Petition

It's important to sign now. Please take a minute to sign. The Natalie Wood death investigation is one of the worst in history, not only Hollywood history, but in the history of our nation..

If any of you have seen the movie "The Changeling" directed by Clint Eastwood, starring Angelina Jolie (brilliant acting), it's the true story (circa 1920's) where a single mother's son goes missing. Months later, the police announced they had found her son. As she excitedly awaits to be reunited with her 9 year-old, a young boy, shorter and "different" than her son steps off the train. She tries to tell the police (in California, no less) that the boy is not her son. The police are experiencing such positive reaction from the public for their "good work" in having found the boy that they ask the mother to not say anything at that moment, so she turns to face the media cameras with a perplexed and confused smile upon her face that is only later used against her as having accepted the boy. Into the following weeks, the police department continues to refuse her claims that the boy is not her son.

It's mindboggling that this story is true. It has such compelling twists and turns and will captivate you, and you will be infuriated by the time the police department has the woman institutionalized because she won't accept the boy who is NOT her son.

What does this have to do with signing the petition for Natalie? The story in "The Changeling" was such a scandal for the California police department that handled the case that the original name of the town it occured in changed the town's name. Why? They didn't want to be remembered as the town behind such a scandal. The police force was unwilling to accept truth and work toward true justice. The police in "The Changeling" were too embarrassed to ever admit their mistake until the entire force, by the power and fortitude of one mother, was abolished. The movie will awe you and make you angrier than you could ever imagine possible.

Cops are embarrassed when they bungle high-profile cases. Don't let the L.A. County Sheriff's Department get away with not bringing true justice to a famous legendary woman who deserves nothing less. Thank you for signing the petition for the effort to seek justice for the late, beautiful Natalie Wood.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A revised review at Amazon

"Creed" had written a wonderful review for Goodbye Natalie Goodbye Splendour, and took it down to edit. Here's Creed's more precise 5-star review. (Thank you, I appreciate yours and everyone's support of the truth in GNGS).

This Amazon review is from: Goodbye Natalie, Goodbye Splendour (Hardcover)

For nearly three decades the facts of what happened to Natalie Wood on that fateful weekend back in Nov. of 1981 have been shrouded by a perfect storm of lies, deceit and incompetence. In this book Marti Rulli deftly peels back the layers to showcase once and for all the sad, troubling truth of the death of Natalie Wood.

It is the story as told by Dennis Davern, the skipper of Splendour, the 60 foot yacht owned by Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood. Author Rulli, chronicles for us the last 48 hours of Natalie's life and the 28 year struggle that she and Davern endured to bring to light the tragic, preventable and woefully wrongful death of Miss Wood.

When you read about how botched the investigation was, you will get angry. When you read about how Wagner used every trick in his aresenal to make sure that no one ever learned the truth about how Natalie died, you'll get even angrier and by the time you close the back cover of this book you will have gone through an emotional upheaval that will haunt you forever.

Natalie was found dead, floating face down, bruised and abraised in the cold, dark,unforgiving water that she feared her entire lifetime. To believe for one minute the tale of her trying to secure a noisy raft at the swim step on a cold, drizzly night on a 60 foot yacht (as asserted by Wagner) is beyond preposterous. She had a skipper to perform such mundane tasks and in fact it was this very mundane task that was already completed earlier that evening by Dennis Davern. Robert Wagner then offered the fairytale that Natalie had taken the dinghy out alone. A dinghy that she had never in her life started or even attempted to learn how to start. Then, wearing only a nightgown, a pair of socks, a red down jacket and missing an earring decided to go party-hopping on other boats moored at the marina. Just how stupid does Wagner think we are?

The Coronor at the time, Thomas Noguchi, ruled Natalie's death an accidental drowning. He concluded that she received her many bruises by struggling in the water and attempting to board the dinghy. The problem with that theory is that Natalie was found wearing her wool socks, socks that fall off very easily when kicking around in the water. Marti proved this simple but crucial point. Wool socks don't stay on feet that are submerged and Noguchi got it wrong. The haphazard, rushed and incomplete investigation never came close to uncovering the truth. To call this investigation competent and thorough is to whelp the English language until it begs for mercy. To say that no investigation occurred at all is so glaringly obvious it further begs the question " How much does it cost to cover up a murder? " God only knows.

This book covers alot of ground, it pulls into harsh focus the tragic if not criminal truth about Robert Wagner and his direct involvement with the anything but acidental death of a vibrant young woman and mother of two little girls.

*"May justice be done though the heavens fall"

My response to Simone

I looked at Simone's blog and shook my head in amazement at her posts. I thought about answering there in a comment but decided not to, after all, I have my own blog. Then, I wrote an email to her that I decided not to send. I am posting the email here for everyone to see. I thought I should answer her because of the way she is interpreting the details of my book. For those of you who do not know who Simone is, she's another Natalie blogger who is blogging about my book. Here is my unsent email to Simone:

When I said Davern thought Natalie was in the dinghy, I meant that he thought it had to be the only possibility. He didn't believe at that moment that Wagner would have harmed Natalie or let her be in harm's way. Yes, he knew of the argument, but he never believed it would have gone as far as Natalie NOT being with the dinghy. You have said that it's possible Wagner believed she was with the dinghy, so why wouldn't it be possible for Davern to have thought that also?

You don't believe Davern changed Courtney's diapers? He did, many times. Those kids called him Uncle Dennis. He spent many days of every week for over seven years at the Wagner home. He loved Natalie and RJ. Those young girls adored him, as did Natalie, although she sometimes got mad at him. He was a young, cavalier guy, but he always took his responsibilites as their boat skipper seriously. He was the one who wanted to search for Natalie immediately. He is not the person who stood between Natalie's survival or death.

Wagner has said in his book that he and Dennis drank after Natalie went missing. Davern started thinking "crazy things" at that point...wondering WHY Wagner would not want to search for his missing wife. He still, however, thought Wagner's reluctance to do so meant that she was probably safe.

Dennis is well liked and respected by his friends and customers and he has a lovely family. It was my encouragement, after Wagner's annoucement of his autobiography, that convinced Dennis his truth was necessary, a now or never thing. Natalie's death is a piece of Hollywood history that needs to be corrected. I worked hard for Natalie, not for the men left behind on that fateful cruise.

It appears to me that you already knew what you were going to say about Goodbye Natalie long before you read the book (or possibly long after). To interpret what is in this book the way you have is downright senseless, and to use excerpts out of context is misleading.

Dennis did not use Wagner. Wagner used him. I was in constant touch with Dennis after Natalie died, and all he wanted was to leave California to get away from Wagner and all of the reporters hounding him. They were offering him fortunes to talk, but he didn't want to do that to upset the Wagner family. Natalie's daughters DID work on his mind, they were crying constantly. It tore Dennis apart. He was as torn as a person can get. He was willing to destroy his own life for the sake of not hurting those girls. It was his own guilt for having kept quiet for Wagner that drove him to finally speak his truth. 

You are blaming the messenger, as several people do, but if you really want to know what happened the night Natalie died, the polygraphed account of Dennis Davern's is in the book you claim to have just read, Goodbye Natalie Goodbye Splendour.

Take Dennis out of the entire scene, and Natalie still ends up drowned with a widower who has lied about the details of that night. Dennis was NOT an accomplice in any shape or form. He was a witness who wishes the police had taken him in instead of releasing him to RJ.

It was RJ who insisted Dennis not leave the Canon Drive home, and had his bodyguards follow Dennis and escort him for months after Natalie died, and then RJ insisted Dennis stay at his home for a year instead of moving in with his fiance. Dennis was very cautious about every move he made. He WAS afraid. He was an everyday guy thrust into the middle of one of the most mysterious Hollywood deaths on record. It's easy for people like you, in hindsight and non-involvement, to claim what you would've done or what Dennis should have done that night. But, in the middle of such a crisis, a person is apt to make mistakes. Dennis made many and he has lived with deep regrets over it, but he still feels CLEAN that he is NOT the one who allowed Natalie to perish. If that makes YOU feel dirty, that is a rather melodramatic reaction, and an unrealistic one at that. 

Dennis is not a drunk or a "druggie" -- though he may have indulged in social, recreational usage 30 years ago, it was all done in the company of some huge celebrities who did the same thing on the social scene. It was never excessive nor ever affected his work ethic which has always been strong. Dennis has worked since he was a teenager and has never lived off anyone, including Wagner. He did, however, drink heavily AFTER Natalie died for about a year or so in an effort to erase the tragic event from his mind's eye. It didn't work. He called me and begged for understanding. I gave it to him. If you and others can't, that's your perogative, but please don't create a character in Dennis that doesn't exist. You have no right to do that based upon your assumptions. Dennis is a sensitive and honest person, one who doesn't deserve the brunt of shame for something he is not responsible for. He was prevented from stopping something he wasn't even sure was happening while it was happening. There's someone else who does know what was happening that night, and it isn't Christopher Walken.

Wagner and Walken would never agree to a polygraph, yet Dennis has let the authorities know that he is as willing to take one for them as he was willing to take one voluntarily. That speaks volumes. Dennis has no reason to set Wagner up as you suggest. What would be the purpose? Dennis and I are established. This book was not for fame and fortune, it was for Natalie. That is an absurd concept of yours and a few others, but most see it for its true intention. If we were after something frivolous we would've lied up a storm. We would've had Dennis doing more than consoling Natalie in that motel room. There was ample opportunity for embellishment and fabrication but we stuck to FACT.

Now please, if you can't accurately describe the details of my book, regardless of your opinions, please don't describe them at all. If the truth makes you feel so dirty it must be because you can't or won't accept the truth. For those who can, why don't you just let them decide for themselves? I am proud of what I did for Natalie. I am also not intimidated by nor surprised at your reaction. I have no reason to be. I have dealt with facts.

Sincerely,  Marti Rulli

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A day of contemplating

Correction: This is the Delaware River (where I almost drowned). I compare my experience to the night Natalie Wood drowned, but it's difficult and disturbing to imagine what it would be like to be in the dark of night in the ocean. Natalie died a horrible death. 

The start of Goodbye Natalie Goodbye Splendour in 1983.

Photo from September 1983. I was 30 years old when I started Goodbye Natalie Goodbye Splendour on a typewriter in my then small dining room. I didn't have a home office, and my bedroom desk was too small to fit my new typewriter, one that was designed to eventually hook up to a computer, but home computers were still only a futuristic "idea" .... What a journey!
Many people ask, "What took so long?" If I could've had it my way, this compelling story would've been told in September 1983, but it wasn't as easy as wishful thinking. It took a "village" and I thank all who had a hand in that village throughout so many frustrating years. Some professionals in the literary world have called GNGS "the little book that could" -- I call it "the life of me."