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.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

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.


  1. Marti,
    RJ had publicity people working on polishing his image, he had writers and celebrity friends to lean on and stand behind im, he had the better media sympathizing with him, he had expensive attorneys, and his friends in and out of the business to help his image. Plus he had total control and influence over Natalie's young daughters. You and Dennis were on your own, an uphill battle, and you did a remarkable job! I'm glad you take pride in that! LTR

  2. I have read the book, but RJ is now 80 and I doubt the authorities would do anything about it. It is hard to prove that RJ was involved. I thought that he really loved Natalie. RJ admitted to fighting with Walken, but said Natalie had gone to their room when he was arguing with Walken. Jill St. John has stood by him as well.

  3. It would be impossible to prove exactly how Natalie got into the water, but not impossible to prove the circumstances surrounding the fateful cruise. It would have only taken a better investigation. That's all I ask for is a professional look at this case. I wasn't there, and I'm not a trained investigator. I work in advertising! But if trained professionals would get involved, and I don't think it's ever too late for that, I would be the first to value their input, whatever their conclusions.

  4. To Anonymous (unsigned) We dont gauge someones age as a factor when determining weather or not someone will be held responsible for a murder. 8 or 80, someone is responsible for Natalie's death and simply by being a senior citizen does not excuse anyone of anything. And the proof of RJ's involvement is not at all hard to prove, in fact it's pretty much in your face ...he was there--he was calling all the shots after he notified Dennis that Natalie was missing--he was the one that hampered any attempts by Davern to mount even a minimal search for Natalie by turning on a search light. Does that seem resonable to do under the circumstances? No, of course not. This is all the proof you'll ever need to understand just how involved Wagner was...but there's SO much more. I suggest you read the book and not just "say" you read the book.

  5. Also, it took RJ 20 years to admit that he fought with Walken. He did not come forward with this information during the investigation.
    If you read Gavin Lambert's book you would see that RJ claimed that Natalie was there when he broke the bottle, in his memoir he claimed that she was not. He is still lying. Either she was there or she was not. He contradicts himself.
    "Jill St. John stood by him" How is that relevant? Natalie's death made him a very wealthy man. That's exactly how Jill liked her men. If he was in the financial condition he was in when he and Natalie reunited, Jill would not have looked twice at him.

  6. The excessive drinking that went on the night Natalie died has always been noted as a factor in how the situation was handled. Strange. Drunk or sober, Wagner pulled himself together enough to take total control of how the initial NON-SEARCH FOR NATALIE was handled. Wagner made sure that help for 'the love of his life' WAS NOT CALLED. Wagner refused to allow Dennis to even turn on the Splendour search light. Was he concerned that reporters would be lurking in the water? He also appeared to have made sure that Dennis drank more, even joining him. Then, having Dennis to identify Natalie. Did he not want to make certain it was her and not a mistake? Not initially planning to attend her funeral? I have seen a husband and/or wife leave a hospital bed to attend their spouses' funeral. With Wagner's behavior since the death, it seems to me that he has done everything possible to remove himself from anything to do with Natalie. Guilt and fear of being found out can take many different forms. I believe that Wagner is displaying just those things.