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

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving at Natalie's - 29 years ago, before and after

Thanksgivings spent at Natalie’s Canon Drive home was the holiday that kicked off the entire season for their friends and family who gathered there for fun, food, love and laughter. Everyone played pool, listened to music, and generally were boisterously happy. Willie Mae, Natalie’s housekeeper and nanny, would set up a spectacular buffet and she would add different dishes each year, and traditional treats as per Natalie's request. Natalie adored tradition. There was a warm, welcoming, and family spirit generating through everyone present. They all counted on that spirit to carry them through the holiday season, through the frantic shopping trips in Beverly Hills Lana and Natalie would make, stopping at day's end at a nearby restaurants to have a drink...until Natalie’s Christmas Eve party each year where Santa would show up and Nat’s daughters, Natasha and Courtney, and Lana's little girl, Evan, would have smiles of pure joy lighting up the room. Natalie's mother, "Mud", especially enjoyed this special time of year. The Christmas before the end of that world, Natalie gave her Mother the "golden Dress" she had promised her when she was only a child, and had begun to work in films. It was her way of saying thank you for all the things Mud had done for Natalie. As Lana tells it, "it was simply wonderful."

Then came Thanksgiving 1981. Mud wore the golden dress to Natalie's home that night. Natalie had invited everyone to show up at precisely 7:22. Lana thought that odd and while on the phone with Nat that afternoon kiddingly asked her "what's happening at precisely 7:22? Oddly, Natalie responded with no giggles, and claimed flatly that that's what time she wanted everyone to show up. Right away, Lana sensed something was wrong.. Natalie was not her usual holiday self. The tension was papable over the phone, and thickened as the night wore on at Natalie's home.

Lana remembers the entire day was strange, unlike previous Thanksgivings. Natalie was forcing merriment. R.J. was rather sullen, and the kids, specifically Natasha, was literally begging Natalie not to go away on Splendour the next day. But Natalie was unmoved and determined that Natasha go to her friends and Nat was to go on the boat. There was pouring, non-stop rain. It was not a pleasant Thanksgiving. Natalie was planning her Splendour outing for the next three days, but no one could attend the cruise except for Christopher Walken, and Natalie did not want to postpone the outing. She thought the weather would improve and she wanted to do some early Christmas shopping on Catalina Island. The weather prediction was not good for the next few days. But the boat trip stayed firm. She got on the phone with Dennis when he called and told him to be ready near noon.

It would be the last Thanksgiving Natalie's loved ones would spend with her.

Thanksgivings thereafter were hard for Natalie's loved ones, especially for the first few years. Lana found herseld alone with her daughter and Mother. Gone was the joyful, party-filled atmosphere with lots of wonderful, familiar faces. Tears replaced laughter.

Many times after 1981, Lana spent Thanskgivings at a restaurants, completely ignoring what day it was.. Hiding feelings worked for a while. Mud grieved for every Thanksgiving until the day she passed away, But, as a loving mother, herself, Lana never wanted for her daughter to suffer the tragic memories of 1981, so on some years she would cook turkey and attempt to enjoy what they could sacrifice of the holiday in years to come. To this day, however, not a Thanksgiving comes and goes without memories consuming Lana of the sister she truly loved with all of her heart.

Lana and Dennis both feel Natalie's presence even more since this bittersweet year when even more information became available about Natalie's tragic night 29 years ago.

Lana says: "We can all think about the what-ifs, but in all truth, it is too painful to relive, wondering how all of our lives might be different today, too painful and pointless. I am relieved that people are finally hearing Natalie’s voice but it saddens me and makes me angry as well. I do not believe that "closure" exists when there is such a terrible tragedy, but if it could come, it might be comforting. The ripples still surround us and always will. Thanksgivings without Natalie are different, they are sad, and the day is a painful reminder of the worst day of my life, but I also have a family I love and cherish and we move on. We try to enjoy the traditions of a day most families look forward to all year long. I want that for my children and grandchildren, as I am so grateful for the love we share. I will always, no doubt, miss my sister terribly. I will baste my family’s turkey and prepare the trimmings. It’s what we do. We go on."

Dennis says: "We will not reach the 30th anniversary of dear Natalie's death without every effort made to have the LACSD reopen Natalie's case. I am willing to cooperate with them in anyway I can. I have relived that terrible weekend every Thanksgiving since but until the truth is resolved and accepted, I won't have any closure. I will always miss Natalie -- the most beautiful, together woman I have ever known or ever will know. I'll be having Thanksgiving with my family and my children get to share the day with their mother. I only wish it could have been that way for Natalie's daughters throughout the past 29 years. I wish so much had been different that weekend."   


  1. So sad. It's interesting that they feel Natalie's presence even more. It does feel as if GNGS is on the cusp of something. I just feel a sense of urgency and restlessness that wasn't as prominent last year. Something is definitely in the air and I have the strongest feeling that Natalie's justice is at hand. I hope next year's Thanksgiving holds nothing but peace and resolution for all of you.

  2. Thank you. I have the greatest feeling resolution will come in regards to this long overdue justice. Those few reviews that call this book another "conspiracy oriented" attempt couldn't be further from the truth. It's all still so simple for as convoluted as it has become.

  3. I haven't been able to catch up with the blog for several days and am just reading this now. These words from Lana and Dennis are just so
    very sad--their pain comes right through.

    There will be justice for Natalie. And we will have Marti to thank.