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.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

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


  1. Sorry Marti, nothing personal here, I didn't have my mind made up before I read the book - actually, after hearing what was in your blog, etc., I already believed it - it was only the book itself that made me doubt - it just isn't believable, & Dennis Davern is not credible in any way - I don't believe Wagner kept him a virtual prisoner - I think he stayed there because he wanted to - he accepted acting jobs & checks from Wagner - as long as the checks & jobs kept coming, Davern kept Wagner's alledged "secret" - it was only when Davern couldn't score another acting job that he wanted to tell "his story" - Davern had a brother & family in the east, if he'd wanted/needed help to get away from Wagner, he could have - maybe you believe what he is telling, but I do not - especially after reading the book. I didn't say anything about your book that is not there, I quoted the book directly & gave the pg. number - so if you are uncomfortable with what is coming out, as you say, don't kill the messenger. I'm sorry, perhaps your own motives are sincere and I can respect that - but I do not believe Davern's story. Not at all. He had a responsiblity that night, he shirked it - according to the book - he turned away and did not want to be responsible or KNOW what was supposedly going on - his own words. If I knew what Davern claims to know about Wagner, I certainly would not want anything to do with him later, as Davern has - I would not want any further contact in any way, shape, or form - much less accepting jobs, checks, gratuities - and Davern was angry and upset when it all dried up - the only person here I care about was Natalie, and it seems once again, she is not the main concern. I had a totally open mind as I started reading, actually as I said, I believed what you have blogged about, so I should have been convinced - but Davern is not credible, bottom line.

  2. Simone, you're not credible. You clearly have an agenda and simply by saying you don't believe Dennis doesn't alter the facts. Wagner killed Natalie Wood and Dennis was there. What's not to believe? Do you honestly think that anyone would concoct such an elaborate hoax and stand behind the tale for 30 years? No, of course you don't. You're just interested in discrediting someone for your own purpose. The internet has given you a voice, you've chosen to abuse that. Not until you, yourself achieve some level of credibilty will you be qualified to pass judgement on someone elses.

  3. Simone, I didn’t have to “believe” Dennis about his time spent with Wagner after Natalie died. From a few weeks after her death I was in constant contact with him while he lived at the Wagner home, and I called that home many times, and you’ve got nothing right about that timeframe. Dennis stayed because Wagner insisted, and Dennis was working his way toward giving up his life in L.A. – it’s all he wanted.
    Dennis based no decision to leave upon acting “drying-up” – Dennis wasn’t called in even when there were shortages and all of his fellow friends in the business couldn’t understand why. Dennis was the favorite call-in for Hill Street Blues and was a regular until his ex-fiance interviewed with a tabloid. Acting was Wagner's idea for Dennis, but all Dennis wanted was to flee CA. Yet, his life had been established there so it took a few years, but Dennis knew he would be better off for it, and has been.

    Wagner had Dennis under constant surveillance for over a year. Sorry, but that’s how it was, and many witnessed it, and his family and friends were all willing to help Dennis "escape" but it was a time that Dennis was not sure how to help himself. He worked at the marina and at the studios, and did not take advantage of Wagner, although Wagner encouraged him to stay close. Dennis looked for every chance to not believe what he had heard and seen the night Natalie died...he wanted Wagner to prove himself so differently in the aftermath, but Wagner only showed Dennis that his suspicions were, indeed, accurate based on what he kept secret.

    When Jill St. John, Wagner’s current wife, started showing up all of the time right after Natalie died, Dennis saw Wagner becoming interested in her. So much for the lost “love of his life” – Wagner kept it very secretive but he started seeing Jill THREE weeks after Natalie died, and then publicly after only EIGHT weeks. I didn’t put this in the book out of respect for Natalie’s daughters. Wagner hid it from them, too. But, now, I see it as an indication this man couldn’t have been grieving as much as he would like his fans to believe.

    Dennis saw MANY things in the aftermath that only confirmed what he didn't even want to believe himself. Wagner showed little remorse, and in time, that tore Dennis apart even more.

    Dennis's account is polygraphed and maybe that means nothing to you, but I sat by his side and witnessed our professional polygraphist’s criteria and I have no doubt Dennis passed that test officially, and he is willing to step up and take one for authorities. Dennis is who wanted to search for Natalie. Her husband didn’t.

    If you are in this for Natalie, as you claim, maybe you should concetrate more in the horrible investigation her death received instead of twisting the truth in my book. I made no errors in describing what happened the night Natalie died, nor in Dennis's motives and character.

    You can twist the truth all you want. It doesn’t change it, it only shows your opposition to accept it.

  4. As for the threats Dennis received. I was listening MYSELF while Wagner's publicist threatened Dennis. There were many threats from unknown sources, too. Marilyn Wayne received a death threat, too, and saw an attorney about it.

    This HAPPENED. Of course there is no way to trace most threats back to Wagner, but the one delivered from his publicist was direct and Dennis and I heard it together. Yes, Dennis feared for his safety, wherever the threats were coming from.

    Simone, all I ask is that if you care about Natalie, please seek justice for HER. Dennis is willing to admit all of his mistakes to the authorities. What more could you ask for from him? When he tried previously, they didn't want to hear it, now they will listen because we went the only route left to go: to the public. And you are not the majority: the support for truth and justice for NATALIE is overwhleming.

  5. In this call with Wagner's publicist, George Kirvey, he specifically said, "If you talk with ANYONE, Dennis, you will not get any more acting jobs...or worse can happen."
    Dennis had plenty of acting jobs at that time...they hadn't "dried up" yet as Kirvey forecasted, and Dennis had already begun his mission of telling the truth to the public. All Dennis had to do was keep quiet for RJ and his life would've been filled with "favores" but that's NOT what Dennis wanted and Wagner sensed it. This is factual information that I experienced right along with Dennis. I didn't have to take Dennis's word on this part of his account. I saw and heard it all for myself. I have no lies to tell, and only a lot more truth I could release, but some finer details will be told to authorities only, and hopefully, they will do their job properly and fix the mistake they made in 1981.

  6. Thank you for replying - in order to answer you, I will have to go to my blog, as I do not have space in this comment form.

  7. To Simone,

    After this message, I am done with you. Your accusations and insinuations about Dennis aren't even worth addressing. You have twisted everything to fit your own defense of whatever.

    You took a poignant excerpt from my book: something Dennis's mother said when he was about 2 minutes old and turned it into Dennis and his mother wanting him to be a star. You are beyond ridiculous. Again, as I asked before, stop quoting excerpts out of context. You forgot to add the next line that says "but that's not what Dennis wanted: he loved boats." Get a life.

    Also, you obviously don't understand the definition of "hearsay." What Dennis tells, as a participant of the weekend of Nov. 1981, and as witness to what led up to Natalie's death, and what he experienced after, is NOT hearsay. He was THERE. What he tells is a firsthand account. YOU weren't there. You surmise. Dennis doesn't have to. He lived it. An example of hearsay is what you publish at your blog.

    And if you think it's okay for a widower to take up with another woman within three weeks after the horrible death of a wife he publicly called "the love of his life" ... well, I really can't even respond to that.

    Also, I might refrain from calling Dennis an extortionist if I were you. There's something you could never have proof of because it doesn't exist. One warning.

    Good luck with your blog. I'd appreciate if you'd leave mine alone and I will gladly offer you the same in turn.

    And LASTLY, you are incorrect: Wagner does NOT deny any of Dennis's account. He never did. As time went on, in fact, he only verified statements Dennis had made along the way. He has not spoken a word about Dennis's truth in Goodbye Natalie. There's your answer if you really, really "care about Natalie" and want to face facts for a change.

    Please don't bother me again. My book speaks for itself. Marti Rulli

  8. Marti, these little internet people are like bugs, you can't ever get rid of them. Simone is a perfect example of a nut who will see treachery in anything she wants to see it in. The world is full of people who, for whatever reason, just cant seem to grasp the truth. "Bloggers" delude themselves with the notion that they're contributing something to the world, in reality they're stinking up the internet with their particular brand of unenlightened frustration. Your book speaks for itself as you've stated but also speaks to and for the masses who seek and demand justice. You've done more for Natlie Wood than any ten people ever have.

    Stay strong and we'll do the same.

  9. Creed,
    Thank YOU for all you’ve done in regards to the Wood case. A few months ago when I posted links to your CNN iReports those “Internet People” ridiculed your efforts, and accused me of passing off your reporting as true attention to this case. As they must be unaware of, CNN highly regards iReports and they scan them constantly for important stories. The CNN Nancy Grace producer contacted US and gave the Wood case the national attention it deserves in part because of YOUR iReports! So, you too have helped this case tenfold. I deeply thank you.

    The “Internet People” don’t bother me, even those who follow every place “Goodbye Natalie Goodbye Splendour” or my name is mentioned. If anything, they fortify my efforts and also make me so grateful that I have a mind capable of reasoning.

  10. My VERY LAST address to Simone: (Just in case her absurd post at her blog that threats to her will be reported refers to me) ... I'm assuming with her twisted view of things that she may have taken my warning to not call Davern an extortionist was a threat. In no way was it a threat. It is what it claims to be: a warning that to have an opinion about Goodbye Natalie is one thing, but to defame our character with NO PROOF is NOT. The warning means that we will not tolerate her accusations, and WE will seek legal action if such unfounded allegations continue from HER. Now, Simone and I are DONE.

  11. Marti, Simone is now saying that Davern was jealous of Jill St. John's appearance in RJ's life just 3 weeks after Natalie's death. She is saying that Dennis was afraid that Jill was a threat to his "gravy train". These people are so pathetically STUPID! If Dennis wanted a "gravy train" he would have gone to the press immediately following Natalie's death. The money he earned in acting jobs was peanuts compared to what he would have amassed if he went to the press or wrote a book back in 1982-1983. He would have been a very wealthy man. The newbies to this story do not realize how big this story was. It was huge. I laugh when I read dumb comments about how you and Dennis wrote GNGS for the money. The days when this story was worth the big money are gone.
    As for RJ's relationship with Jill, I would think anyone who knew and cared for Natalie would have been disgusted that he was seeing a woman within 3 weeks of her death. That's a disgrace! It shows a lack of respect for Natalie and their marriage. He was , in all likelihood, screwing around with Jill before Natalie died. He's obviously ashamed of his actions because he lied about this in Pieces Of My Heart. He claimed that he began seeing Jill 6 months after Natalie died. Why is he lying about that? There are photos that show they began seeing each other publicly in Feb. 1982. As a matter of fact Jill recently confirmed it. These people need to do a little research on this topic before that make ludicrous statements that show that they do not know what they are talking about and Simone does not know what she is talking about. It's obvious.

  12. Dennis wasn't looking for ANYTHING materialistic after Natalie died, and the suggestion he might've been jealous of Jill is hysterical. And I mean hysterical. But, Frank Westmore was very jealous of Dennis and hated having Dennis around. But, Wagner insisted Dennis be there at his home every night, and home by ten if he went anywhere. Dennis felt like a leashed dog and he wanted OUT of that home.
    I was personally involved at this time of the tragedy, in fact, involved in most all of its aftermath in relation to Dennis. I remember things that Dennis has forgotten! But he will never forget what he witnessed the terrible night Natalie died and he will never forget the image of identifying her.

    The amounts of money offeredd to Dennis immediately after Natalie's death were outrageous sums. He could've been financially set for the rest of his life had he taken it, but he did not take it. And contrary to what ANYONE thinks or says, Vanity Fair did not pay Dennis either. Author Sam Kashner would verify that. Vanity Fair pays a hefty rate for stories like Dennis's. Dennis OFFERED his account to Sam Kashner.
    We had long before that Vanity Fair article given up on publishing a book. It was Gavin Lambert's book, his horrible lies and insults to Natalie, that infuriated me enough to pull my old manuscript and start over, more bold and more driven. Then came Pieces of My Heart and I felt compelled to get Goodbye Natalie PUBLISHED! That's how I felt, and I'm just trying to describe the passion I had for this tragedy.

    I always considered Natalie's daughters and refrained from telling ALL I learned because of them. But they are grown women now, and being a complete orphan myself by the time I was twelve, I truly believe that truth is better than fiction in regards to all deaths, let alone a parent's mysterious death. I simply could not let the lies and convoluted information to spread any further than it had over the decades.

    Finstad did a great job with Natasha. She really got to the timeline the authorities never even attempted to construct. Suzanne was driven for truth too, and maybe I should've told her what I had held inside for too long, but that would have meant that my opportunity to tell Dennis's story the way I believed it needed to be told would be gone. I needed to tell this story. I lived and breathed it for decades, but I never exploited it. NEVER. I don't care what people think or say about who, what, where, and why.... I stand by every single sentence in my book and I am proud of what I investigated and learned, and I am proud of Goodbye Natalie.

    As you say, Anonymous, the newbies who think there is more out there to figure out, well they are on a wild goose chase. As Dennis himself says, "The way Goodbye Natalie reads is exactly the way it happened." I am proud also to have given Dennis a voice. Those who condemn him, who don't believe him, who lie about his character, well they are wasting their time, too. It's all so basic compared to what they wish it were. Truth hurts. It's an age-old saying.
    I don't care how many posts, comments, reviews, tweets and blogs are created, we've heard the truth about Natalie's death from the only eye and ear witness to every circumstance leading up to her death, and also in regards to how her disappearance was handled afterward.

    My book speaks for itself.

  13. Dennis told the truth about what happened the night Natalie died and the two of us will stand in any courtroom, police station, polygraph room, media room, anywhere, anytime, and hold our heads high about the truth we've told for Natalie who no longer has a voice. I now understand how dedicated cops and detectives feel when they get over-emotional about a case. That's what my life has been like since 1983 in regards to this story and I never ONCE sidetracked from absolute truth.

    Nothing in Goodbye Natalie is interpretation.
    I listened and reported on a few scenarios from people I trusted in regards to evidence indicated, but as for telling exactly what happened the weekend Natalie died, that's the validity of Goodbye Natalie.

  14. Marti,
    You should post your last comments as a blog entry. So many people support your book and we're not going anywhere. I feel for Natalie's girls, too, but they aren't girls now. They are women who should know about their birth mother's final hours. It's terribly sad, but what is sadder than trying to bury the truth with her?

    Have a wonderful weekend and Happy Mother's Day to you. Thank you, Marti. "ek"

  15. Hi, Marti:

    I almost can't believe what I'm reading in this thread. Some people are just flat-out sick. The Internet is both a blessing and a curse. In this case, it's such a blessing to be able to converse with you and others who have been deeply affected by Natalie's tragedy. After reading GNGS, I HAD to find others who were as shocked as I was. I felt distraught after reading GNGS. This story just knocked me for a loop. Thank goodness for being able to share information so easily and quickly.

    At the same time, our sensibilities are assaulted by nuts and pests on the Internet who only seek to agitate and stifle others who try to use reason and sensitivity. They insult the memory of those who can no longer speak for themselves--in this case, the memory of a truly glorious human being, Natalie Wood. That is beyond shameful.

    Marti, you've done a remarkable thing for Natalie, and you have so many people behind you. Please don't get discouraged by nuts and foul-spirited cretins.

    Happy Mother's Day! I will be thinking of Natalie and what she missed out on, as I do every day.


  16. Hi Marianne, Thank you so much. I am going to take the advice of the poster before you and make a blog post in response to "Internet activity" -- I'm so grateful for all of you! Marti

  17. Yes, in regards to the comment about Jill St. John. I thought it was quite soon to start seeing someone after losing your wife under horrific circumstances. Maybe he was already seeing her before Natalie's death and was not the grieving husband as he made out to be. I am just surprised that he was so jealous of Walken if he was involved with someone. Just a thought.