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.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

MLB Opening Day!

What's a blog if you sometimes can't go off topic when excited about a special day? I've been a lifelong Phillies fan. When they won the series in 1980 I worked for a newspaper and our entire office went crazy with excitement. Many of the sports writers crossed the river for the celebration parade (I had to stay in the office...I believe it was a Tuesday) but one reporter brought me back an audio of my favorite Tug McGraw (the closer) saying hello to me with his autographed photo. I was thrilled. I had been to many games that year and watched them play the Astros, their biggest threat that year. I remember like it was yesterday the tear that ran down Jose Cruz's cheek (of the Astros) when the Phils won the pennant. I felt sorry for Jose, but was ecstatic for the Phils...it had been a long time coming! This was also a time when both of my sons were superb Little League players and I tried to make every single one of their games. Those games could be as exciting as watching a major league game!

The Phils went back to the series the very next year (with a new team, as many of the players had been traded...something I still can't reconcile with) but they lost in 1981. Through the remaining 80s, I had been promoted several times in the Calkin's Newspaper Group and was in a wonderful executive position to be in charge of the old Veteran's Stadium luxury, penthouse Skybox. I got to pick about 20 games a year and was able to watch the games from the box with whomever I invited to share the experience. It was wonderful: valet parking, catering, open bar, plush suite, BUT THE PHILS WEREN'T WINNING!!! I'd have traded the skybox for nosebleed seats to only have them win, but in all honesty, it was really a special privilege to have overseen the skybox for several years.

Then came 1993. The Phils were really doing well again. My favorite player was a young second baseman, Mickey Morandini (I don't know why, other than I thought he really had promise). But, as always, I loved all of the Phils. We had Mitch Williams then as a closer... he lived up to his name: WILD THING. Everyone cringed, literally, every time Mitch pitched. Phil’s star starter, pitcher Curt Shillings used to put a towel over his head when Mitch pitched! It was the year Bob and I had started our own business and we were working every night, late into the wee hours of the morning. The Phils were always on our shop TV. I remember one game that went 17 innings, I believe until after 4 AM. There was a woman's voice screaming from the stands..."MITCH, WE LOVE YOU, MITCH" over and over. Bob's brother at the time worked security at Vet's stadium. He said the woman’s screeching kept him up at nights for months!

The Phils beat the Braves in 1993 to win the pennant. The Braves (or Red Sox) are picked to win the series this year (I hope the Phils don't suffer the curse of being on the cover of SI). Bob and I attended the 1993 Phils/Braves game in Philly and we had excellent seats near third base, thanks to Bob's brother, Tommy, who still worked at the Vet parttime. Some really odd things happened that night....first, while we were watching the game, a woman's purse landed at Tommy's feet from the upper level. It contained $26,000.00 in cash, with no identification. Tommy, working security, immediately turned it in... turns out the woman and her husband, from Atlanta. GA. hadn't time to get to the bank after closing their business as they were catching a plane to come watch their Braves. Her husband suffered a mild heart attack while watching the game at the Vet, and she jumped up and the purse filled with money fell. She did get it returned and her husband was okay. Then, Tommy found a little toy replica of the Philly Phanatic (the team's mascot) and he handed it to me. I remember clutching it, with my hand in my pocket, KNOWING that it would help win the game for the Phils. Don't forget, whether you are a baseball fan or not, it's ALL about superstition -- ever see "Bull Durham?")... I still have that little Phanatic toy I hold to this day on important games!

The Phils won the game that night in 1993….Mitch was not pitching... it was Danny Jackson who threw the last pitch. Then there was mayhem... all the police came out on the horses, and protected the field...it was simply SURREAL....it looked like a magical, special place on earth for the next half hour. The Phils stayed on the field... no one left the stadium, and we cheered until we had no voices left! That was the year of "Whoop, there it is!" the Northeast answer to the Braves tomahawk "chop and chant" -- it was wonderful, memorable, and something every baseball fan should experience! But, the night was not over! Tommy had us wait until the Phils were done celebrating in the locker room, and then we went to Legends Bar and Tavern not far from the stadium. While many fans were dancing and celebrating in the streets, Bob and I were at Legend's celebrating the pennant win WITH THE PHILS! About a third of the team showed up and I was beside myself. I could not believe I got to party WITH the Phils on the night they won the pennant to play in the World Series! I stood chatting with Mickey Morandini and his wife for about a half hour. I thought I might be over-doing it. over-staying my welcome, but it seemed Mickey's wife liked talking with me...maybe she was overwhelmed, and I certainly was not acting like a rabid fan, although that was exactly what I was! About 4:30 AM that night, in walked Jim Fregosi, the team's manager/coach. I was about ready to leave, but not before approaching Jim to tell him I thought he was the best manager in Phil's history. He smiled, shook my hand and asked me to sit with him for a few minutes at the bar. I really had to pinch myself! I was chatting with Fregosi about BASEBALL for the next half hour. I finally wished him the best for the series when I left about 5:15 AM. I took home many autographs, my special ticket stubs, and knew that no matter what physical memento I brought home would never match the special memory of that super-special experience. I remember it like it was yesterday!

In 2008, the Phils beat the Rays in the World Series. It was one of the most bizarre series ever, with weather interrupting the games and maybe even the outcome...but it was the Phils who paraded down Broad Street in Philadelphia once more! Then, in 2009, the Phils went back to the series and lost to the Yankees. The Yanks came alive and even though the Phils had enhanced their pitching with a young Cliff Lee, the Yanks prevailed. Then, the Phils went ahead and traded Lee and I don't think I've ever been angrier with management over that decision! You don't let go of a pitcher like Lee! But, they acquired Roy Halladay who last year had a perfect game in the season and a no hitter in the playoffs! And they got Roy Oswalt, who I really like. And they kept Cole Hamels, who was instrumental in winning the 2008 series. But, I missed Cliff Lee. 99% of the Phil’s fans missed him! But, the Phils fell short of the series last year, and I would say that's because of a young pitcher named Tim Lincecum of the Giants who is awesome. I've nicknamed him "The Shark" and I fear him as a baseball fan of an opposing team should. I watched him closely last season, and noticed when he releases the ball, his eyes seem to roll upward, like a shark's eyes do upon attack. I can't believe I've never heard it mentioned in the news! He doesn't even SEE where that perfect pitch is going! But, my favorite pitcher EVER is Cliff Lee, here on the cover of Sports Illustrated!

A few months ago, I woke up early and put the news on...it was about 5:30 AM when I was half asleep and heard that Cliff Lee was BACK WITH THE PHILS! Was I dreaming? I sat up, tuned in, and learned he refused probably up to 30 Million more to be with the Phils, where he felt most at home and most valuable.

Now, he is front and center on the cover of Sports Illustrated, and although the Braves and the Red Sox are the predicted World Series winners for this season, I had to take this opportunity to give my PHAVORED PHILS (I know, the ph thing is overdone!) my own personal shout-out! Baseball fans love to “talk baseball” – I’m not opposed to hearing about YOUR team! :-)
I KNOW there’s a Red Sox diehard fan here and a Dodgers fan, too! (at least!). I can even listen to Amercan league fans, as long as you don't trash the Phils. lol.

I don't think there has ever been a more promising pitching line-up in baseball history than the Phils have this year. What will become of it remains to be seen. I wish all baseball fans a great season for their teams! I'm a true-blue National leaguer, but I respect all teams that get the job done. The Phils will suffer some offense problems this year, so other teams may take advantage of that, but I hope we work on that for next season. In the meantime, PLAY BALL and MAY THE BEST TEAM WIN!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Another book about the women in Wagner's life???

I heard that Robert Wagner is planning a new book, one to share more about the women in his life.  If he is writing such a book, I don't know what it could offer beyond what he already told in "Pieces of My Heart." 
I don't know what would be of interest beyond his marriage to Natalie, and I can't understand why he thinks it would be important to let the world know about the women he has had relationships with. I wonder what he would say this time around about Elizabeth Taylor, who has talked about the men in her life and never once mentioned Wagner! What I'm wondering most of all is if, this time around, the media would demand more from him since the release of GNGS than they did before GNGS. Will the media let him promote a book without answering some of the information in GNGS? I would hope not!

Registered Users Only

I switched the blog to accept comments only from "registered users" -- this means you can still use open ID if you want to conceal your identity but it gives me greater control over comments posted. If this doesn't work, I will switch to blog members only (then you will have to be a follower). Thank you.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Natalie Wood's "Shelter from the Storm"

"Shelter From The Storm"
by Bob Dylan

I was in another lifetime one of toil and blood
When blackness was a virtue and the road was full of mud
I came in from the wilderness a creature void of form
"Come in" she said
"I'll give you shelter from the storm".

And if I pass this way again you can rest assured
I'll always do my best for her on that I give my word
In a world of steel-eyed death and men who are fighting to be warm
"Come in" she said
"I'll give you shelter from the storm".

Not a word was spoke between us there was little risk involved
Everything up to that point had been left unresolved
Try imagining a place where it's always safe and warm
"Come in" she said
"I'll give you shelter from the storm".

I was burned out from exhaustion buried in the hail
Poisoned in the bushes and blown out on the trail
Hunted like a crocodile ravaged in the corn
"Come in" she said
"I'll give you shelter from the storm".

Suddenly I turned around and she was standing there
With silver bracelets on her wrists and flowers in her hair
She walked up to me so gracefully and took my crown of thorns
"Come in" she said
"I'll give you shelter from the storm".

Now there's a wall between us something there's been lost
I took too much for granted got my signals crossed
Just to think that it all began on a long-forgotten morn
"Come in" she said
"I'll give you shelter from the storm".

Well the deputy walks on hard nails and the preacher rides a mount
But nothing really matters much it's doom alone that counts
And the one-eyed undertaker he blows a futile horn
"Come in" she said
"I'll give you shelter from the storm".

I've heard newborn babies wailing like a mourning dove
And old men with broken teeth stranded without love
Do I understand your question man is it hopeless and forlorn
"Come in" she said
"I'll give you shelter from the storm".

 In a little hilltop village they gambled for my clothes
I bargained for salvation and they gave me a lethal dose
I offered up my innocence and got repaid with scorn
"Come in" she said
"I'll give you shelter from the storm".

Well I'm living in a foreign country but I'm bound to cross the line
Beauty walks a razor's edge someday I'll make it mine
If I could only turn back the clock to when God and her were born
"Come in" she said
"I'll give you shelter from the storm".

When writing Goodbye Natalie Goodbye Splendour I wanted to use ALL of Dylan's lyrics for the Section Introductions, but was told I could choose only two lines from each song choice I used (without having to go through copyright procedures), but in this song I used for the Part Four intro in GNGS, I thought the lyrics were all too eerie and close to Dennis's relationship with Natalie. I've enlarged the chilling lyrics that bring the truest meaning for my use of this song in GNGS. 

Natalie sang THIS song and Rainy Day Woman by Bob Dylan so many times while hanging out with Dennis in the wheelhouse aboard Splendour. When Dennis met Natalie, he actually DID turn around and she WAS standing there with silver bracelets on her wrist! She DID give him "Shelter from the Storm" and Dennis's life has never been the same. If only he could turn back time, he would give HER "Shelter from the Storm."

Natalie Wood was a gifted, natural actor. Her talent shows in promotional stills.

The doubting little girl.
Alluring pose and expression, enjoying being Gypsy Rose Lee.
The adventurous yet careful face. 

Pure tough, feminine tomboy.

Pure love.

She's scared in young love! She's Maria!
Playing a caring wife.
I was looking at the left sidebar panel of the blog and noticed something in the photo stills of Natalie Wood's work. Even in her promotional jacket stills, the character she played in each IS the character! Outside professional and candid photos of Natalie show Natalie the woman, the actress, the star, the fashionable one, but in her work her talent shines through...even in these stills. You see the huge difference in every single character portrayal.  She truly was a gifted actress. I would love to have seen a photo where she received an Oscar because if Natalie had lived, I have no doubt her career would have blossomed and she would have been rewarded. It was not long after her death that Hollywood evolved into what Natalie had been waiting for: what she sensed was transpiring... a place where middle-aged actresses could and would be in demand for meaty roles. Natalie's career was cut short, after an already massvie body of classics and talent, but she is definitely true legend. I think she's the best of them all, but I think even the critics would have to stand by that opinion had she lived to continue working in what she loved doing best: "let me entertain you."

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Elizabeth Taylor was a loyal, genuine friend to many.


There's nothing I can say about Elizabeth Taylor that you won't see all over the Internet, see on the TV news, or read in newspapers this week. She is a Hollywood legend for many reasons.

Liz Taylor was a genuine, loyal friend to those she knew. No, ELizabeth was never a Splendour guest, but she was a Wagner family friend and Dennis met her on occasion at the Wagner home, but what he remembers most is how Elizabeth showed up at the Wagner house immediately after Natalie died to console everyone who had gathered to mourn the loss of Natalie. Liz even had a few kind words for Dennis when she saw how distraught he was. She was not there to "move in" on the new widower. She was not there because she was expected to be there. She was there because she was absolutely crushed by Natalie's death, yet she took it upon herself to circulate the room, relentlessly and selflessly, to offer what help and inner strength she could to Natalie's surviving family and friends.

Elizabeth Taylor teamed up with Robert Wagner a few years later to make "There is a Pony" for TV, no doubt, to show the world she stood behind Wagner, the widower constantly in the tabloids. Many years later, Liz, stood by her friend, Michael Jackson, through the lawsuits against him, and through his trials and tribulations. Her loyalty is unquestionable. Elizabeth for decades fought hard for the advancement of AIDS awareness and research because she cares about people worldwide. She is, without a doubt, a caring woman, a true friend, and a humanitarian.

Liz starred in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof with Paul Newman in 1958, directed by Richard Brooks. Later, Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner starred in the same production with Sir Laurence Olivier. Natalie had always admired Liz in the role of Maggie, Brick's wife, and was artistically challenged to bring a more sexually explicit flair to the role in the made-for-TV production in 1976 when censorship had eased up. BOTH iconic actresses presented a powerful Maggie character and BOTH stole the show!

Sam Kashner, who wrote the March 2000 Vanity Fair article which finally exposed the deeper parts of what really happened the night Natalie Wood died, just last year worked with Liz Taylor and presented his bestseller, "Furious Love: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and the Marriage of the Century."

Liz was married many times but married Burton twice, just as Natalie married Wagner twice. Both marriages were touted as "The marriage of the Century" by media. Liz's second marriage to Burton ended in divorce while Natalie's second marriage to Wagner ended with her untimely, mysterious death.

Natalie once said, tongue in cheek, that Liz was more broken up over her first divorce to Wagner than Natalie herself was.

We'll never know what Liz really thought about Natalie's mystery death because as a loyal Wagner family friend, she never talked publicly about it. She did stand by Wagner, as a loyal friend would, and she never clarified for us whether she ever had an affair with Wagner, as he hints in his book that they did (after previously saying they have always been nothing more than good friends).

Old Hollywood is quickly fading, but we have the brilliant work of these iconic stars to always remind us of an era that set unmatchable standards. Truly, is there ANYONE we can name today who holds a candle to Liz or Natalie?

I am happy for Liz that she had one thing Natalie was robbed of: a full life. Now she is gone, too, but, like Natalie, never forgotten.

Added note: Three women had the most famous eyes in all of Hollywood, Liz included:
Natalie Wood, of course, with her huge, dark, soul-reaching gorgeous eyes, Betty Davis with her slanted, mysterious, pretty eyes, and Elizabeth Taylor with her unmatchable, beautifully-hued violet colored, caring eyes.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Flaws in the Natalie Wood Case Investigation - bulleted

What was NOT properly handled during Natalie Wood case investigation:

  • Three men surviving cruise were NOT separated and interrogated.
  • Records were NOT checked to established what time calls for help (to Island or to Coast Guard) were made. There was over a  2-hour delay in calling for local help, and an unconscionable 4-hour delay in calling for professional help to rescue Natalie Wood. No questions were asked of this delay.
  • Three men surviving cruise were NOT checked for bruises that might possibly correspond with bruises on VICTIM.
  • No effort was made beyond a guess to establish HOW victim could have acquired over 25 fresh brusies and scratches all over her body.
  • Witness who phoned in VITAL information about hearing cries for help was ignored by authorities.
  • Three men surviving cruise were given every opportunity to lawyer-up before being asked thorough questions.
  • Natalie Wood's boating habits were never questioned, and no logical explanation for her leaving the boat in nightgown and socks was established.
  • Coroner, who preferred to do such a psychological report to answer deeper questions was FIRED for releasing facts about the case.
  • Authorities did not question about a shattered wine bottle in the main salon of boat or about a disheveled master stateroom, indicative of a possible argument aboard the yacht.
  • A private helicopter was provided to remove celebrities from the scene before the investigating detective arrived on the Island.

 Reopen Investigation of Natalie Wood's death Petition
  •  Anything you can add to this quick list, please do so!

Extra Interview for Goodbye Natalie Goodbye Splendour

In September 2009 Dennis and I interviewed in NY with EXTRA. It was a great interview...went over two hours. The interviewer, Joe, in the top photo (left) asked all of the pertinent questions I hoped for. He was sensitive, alert, and on target. I was so nervous at first, but Joe was the best interviewer EVER on this story and quickly put me at ease. 
I have no idea why the interview never aired. We even answered viewer questions they presented to us. It's just another indication of media fear of this story. We were thorough in this interview: we told what needed to be told, and I suppose that's what made it more difficult for the show to air the truth. Everyone is afraid of a lawsuit, but there's no doubt in my mind Joe believed us and liked us. He talked with us for a long while after the interview. Afterward, the show shot Dennis and me walking in Times Square. I ganged these photos together (for easy scanning) my sister-in-law, Shirley, took that day. Joe took the one of Dennis, me, Shirley and my brother, Dave (a retired lieutenant). The one of Dennis sitting in a chair overlooking Times Square was taken prior to the interview when we were waiting in the Planet Hollywood studio to be interviewed. The bottom photo is my brother dropping me off...he and Shirley were excellent escorts, I really appreciated their support this day. The bottom left photo is Dennis and me, proudly holding our book. 

I'm planning on calling EXTRA to see if I can talk with someone about the interview: maybe get a copy of it. It baffles me to no end why the media is afraid of the truth.     

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Hearsay vs He Says/He Says/He Says in Natalie Wood Death Case

Put most simply by "law dictionary" online:

Hearsay rule
A rule of evidence that generally prohibits a person from providing testimony based upon what that person has been told or learned secondhand. Instead, the rules of evidence favor testimony based upon a person's own observations.

BUT, there are MANY variations of the Hearsay rule/law and it's open for interpretation by any court in any state in the USA. However, there is a difference between Hearsay and "He Says/He Says" which is what the Natalie case is about DIRECTLY in reference to the VERSIONS of those present the night Natalie died.

It's a He Says/He Says/He Says issue.

Walken says it was a pleasant weekend, there was some "debate" going on over Natalie's career, and that he WAS asleep, but then he has also said he was present when Natalie came to say good night. (two different accounts in two different interviews).

Wagner says he didn't see Natalie after she went to their stateroom, then 25 years later says he did see her brushing her hair, he says there was a "debate" too, and he admits (25 years later) that he did smash a wine bottle in anger. In one book he says that Natalie was there when he broke it, and in another book that she wasn't. He says - to this day - he called immediately for help, but records show that to be false. (MANY different versions of ALL accounts.)

Davern says NOTHING truthful about the weekend Natalie died was told to authorities. He explains that he was ORDERED to remain silent, sign a statement and be done with it. Within two years of Natalie's death, he started to tell the truth about the entire weekend and has never once lied or changed versions since he started talking... he has ADDED details as he gathered courage to tell complete details, but his account has never changed. HE HAS VOLUNTARILY TAKEN (AND PASSED) A CERTIFIED POLYGRAPH TEST TO SUBSTANTIATE HIS ACCOUNT AND IS WILLING TO TAKE A POLYGRAPH FOR AUTHORITIES ON THE WOOD CASE.

If you were on a jury, which of the three would you believe?


Saturday, March 12, 2011

Back to Natalie's Down Jacket

In the post below about "How Natalie Got Into the Water" there's a rather lengthy discussion about whether or not the Natalie case should be reopened (over 200 comments now so it goes to a second page...if you don't see your comment appear when posting, click to reach the second page where comments end on the first page).

Anyhow, the DOWN JACKET is back.... someone asked, "why didn't she take it off if it was hindering her swimming capabilities?" Someone also believes Natalie was unconcious and drowned quickly.

Marilyn Wayne heard Natalie crying for help. Therefore, there is evidence she was NOT unconscious.
If she had been, she was revived by the water, because she was crying out to be saved.

I have NO DOUBT Natalie realized the jacket was her excellent life preserver. Again, can't begin to describe how buoyant a down jacket is when wearing it in water. I've been in water wearing life jackets, and I've been in the water wearing a down jacket...I'd prefer the down jacket ANY day in an emergency. Natalie, not being a confident swimmer, would never have chanced removing the jacket, especially in a deep, dark ocean. I'm sure it did hinder her ability to direct the direction she wanted to move toward, because the ocean currents were strong, and far too swift to fight.

Natalie was carried away by ocean currents quickly. The further she was distanced from the Splendour, no doubt the more frightened and terrified she became. She was on her own, with nothing more than a down jacket that kept her floating and the hope that someone would immediately try to rescue her.

To remove her jacket would have been instant death for Natalie and she knew it. She did the smart thing: she kept the jacket on. It helped her to live for hours, and, sadly, in the end, it helped her to be discovered...most likely just MINUTES too late according to a trained, certified Coast Guard Captain.  

Friday, March 11, 2011

A thorough Natalie Wood biography?

Thus far, the books available on Natalie Wood all have something in common: none are throrough from birth to her end. Suzanne Finstad's biography comes closest, and is a wonderful collection of anecdotes and quotes about Natalie, and a detailed view of  Natalie's career...of Natalie, the star.

A Memoir by Lana Wood came first and is a more personal view into Natalie as a sister, but Lana at that time was treading carefully. She had her suspicions but it was a time NO ONE close to Natalie spoke true feelings about her death. The tabloids were running rampant, but there was little Lana could say about the facts surrounding her sister's death when she wrote her book. Lana was still grieving, as she always will.

"Natalie and RJ" by Warren Harris reads more like a People magazine article. It includes little substance.

Noguchi's book "Coroner to the Stars" offers a theory of Natalie's death based on another's speculation.

Ginger Sugar Blymyer offered us a warm, touching personal memoir of having shared 17 years with Natalie, an interesting read.

Gavin Lambert's "Natalie Wood: A Life" was total agenda to deflect the truth exposing Robert Wagner in Suzanne Finstad's "Natasha"

And then came, "Goodbye Natalie Goodbye Splendour" which is more the story of Dennis Davern's association with the Wagner family and what he witnessed during Natalie's final weekend, followed-up by a look into the shoddy investigation into her death and our ordeal to bring the truth to the public. There was not room to explore more about Natalie as a person, woman, and actress. Although, within Dennis's friendship with Natalie, as told virtually verbatim the way he described it to me, I think we got a nice glimpse at the wonderful personality Natalie shared with her friends and those closest to her. I used to love listening to Dennis's stories about sharing time with Natalie. I felt like I "knew her" -- it felt that up close and personal.

So, is there room for another Natalie biography?  I think so, and I'm asking what readers might most want to know about Natalie. More about her personal life? More about her relationships? Her career? (Of course, all should be included in a thorough biography, but maybe a more intimate look at Natalie is still needed?) 

I love reading all of the blog comments about Natalie, things that fans have noticed or remembered hearing or reading about her in the past. 
I welcome input. I would also love to see the above photo of Natalie as a book cover. Through this photo, we see Natalie, the woman. 


Disaster in Japan

Of course it's all over the Internet and TV news about Japan's Tsunami caused by the devastating earthquake, and the problems keep growing. What I like about "Network for Good" is that it appreciates any size donation and also distributes the donations collected amongst all of the helpful organizations it lists if that is what you choose. In a crisis, these organizations, such as the American Red Cross, always step in to offer as much aid and comfort as possible during these type of tragedies. Just wanted to mention it here and at Twitter....

 Help Survivors of Japan Quake & Tsunami | Network for Good

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The question the authorities need to investigate: How did Natalie get into the water?

I've been having a FB discussion with a new reader who left a review at Amazon. Rebecca's amazement over William Holden's and Natalie's deaths occuring so close together is understandable. Rebecca and I (as many of us do) totally believe Stefanie Powers had NOTHING to do with Holden's death, but Rebecca suggested something I've often thought about. Did Holden's death factor into Wagner's mind? Did Holden's death in any way (in a sociopathic mode) help Wagner feel easier/justified in handling letting Natalie drown?

Rebecca and I discussed Wagner's book "Pieces of My Heart" and Rebecca noticed (and had the same reaction many probably wondered about) that Wagner titled two chapters rather shockingly:  (1) That Cunt Will Never Work in My Studio Again - with a glamour shot of Natalie under the caption.
Rebecca says "Sure, you read on and it was a comment made about Judy Garland but what purpose did this serve? Would you want a caption like that over a picture of your dead wife? Didn't he think his daughter's might read the book? And I am speechless about the Chapter Titled..."

(2) "... I Have a Frozen Cock - regarding David Niven. What grown men would be in a bathroom staring at Niven's penis in a brandy Snifter? Seriously! This is out of Wagner's book! Doesn't anyone else find this absolutely bizzare? He actually discusses how his friends like to use certain drugs when having oral sex. Not only are these comments in really bad taste - for a "doting" father or three girls, wouldn't he be embarrassed to have them read about this?"

Rebecca's questions are valid. Wagner's book is more than a book. In my opinion, it is additional evidence toward his attitude and silence about Natalie's death. There are many subliminal, revealing words in "Pieces" including Wagner saying he is responsible for Natalie's death. Are those words said in a confession manner? With remorse? Guilt release? Or possibly with sick pride?

Rebecca says: "The guy has issues and these are not the topics one would expect in a sappy book titled "Pieces of My Heart". He is clearly stunted in his emotional development. I have a grown son and he would never talk like Wagner."

Rebecca also had a lot of questions about the amount of drinking that transpired during Natalie's last cruise...I explained to Rebecca that Natalie had drunk a little more than usual, but Dennis says she was her normal, socializing self. It was Wagner who kept pouring down the hard stuff. Natalie had sipped a lot of wine, but not to the point of not being in control of herself.

And, as most people do, Rebecca created a scenario in her mind, using pieces of evidence to answer the question: How did Natalie get into the water?  It's what we all want to know but, what I appreciate about Rebecca's scenario is that she uses the facts provided in a logical manner. Here's Rebecca's compelling thoughts after finishing GNGS:

I think there was a struggle. The only thing I can't wrap my head around is, wouldn't her actually falling off the boat sobered him up? Wouldn't his natural instinct be to rescue her? Is it possible that he thought he killed her (strangulation) and then laid her to rest gently in the water? That's when the cold water might have brought her to consciousness and she started screaming for help. I guess so many scenerios could have occurred. I bet the argument was about Chris and him not wanting her to go back on to the film. She probably stood her ground and he lashed out. But all of this is conjecture.

Now that I have seen the boat diagram (from blog) and looked more closely at the autopsy photos, here is what I think happened. There is a violent fight in the cabin. Natalie tries to fight him off. She tries to flee into the salon but he grabs her.

Dennis heard Wagner yelling "get off this f-ing boat". Wagner is right-handed and that is why there are lacerations on the left side of her face. Wagner drags her by her right arm (hence the bruising on the front of her right wrist and forearm). Next thing they are on the back deck yelling. Wagner is fumbling with the dingy. Natalie is frightened and she tries to pull away. Wagner grabs her tighter. There is a struggle. He loosens his grip because he needs both hands to untie the dingy. She falls backward on the deck- kicking with her legs- pushing herself away from the swim step and the dingy. He right leg is stronger and you see more laceration on her right ankle and back of her right leg from the sandy coating on the deck. Natalie isn't going anywhere near the water or the dingy. At this point I doubt she had any socks or the down jacket. I doubt she was thinking about comfort plus the scratches on her ankle couldn't really be noticeable if she had socks on and the right sock would have fallen off if that was the case. Natalie manages to escape RJ momentarily as she crawls toward the master bedroom- getting bruises and scratches on he lower legs. She heads back to the master stateroom. Now the dingy is probably still secured by one line. There is no turning back now for Wagner. He knows from the look in her eye that their marriage is over. She'll never forgive him now and maybe she says as such. She tries to scream for help and is running away from him. He grabs her from behind and puts his hand over her mouth to muffle the screams (bruising to her nose and left side of her face)- Wagner is right-handed. She has consumed alcohol (.14 was over the legal limit of .10) and two capsules- of sleeping pills. So she has very little strength now. The dingy is still there, he quickly dresses Wood as if she was leaving. He is drunk and panicking. He puts on her red down jacket and a pair of socks to cover her scratches and bruises. She is semi-conscious. He tries to push her into the dingy knowing she'll totally panic but the dingy isn't steady because he released one of the lines and she falls into the water. She is disoriented and panicking. She comes out of the water gasping for air and pleading for help. Wagner says mockingly "We'll come and get you". She momentarily stops screaming until she realizes that she is floating away due to the down jacket's bouyancy. Wagner has to make a decision- save her or let her drown.

He just wants her to stop screaming.

Dennis approaches him at this point and Dennis knows that something is seriously wrong. It is only in hindsight that he knows she drowned. The search inside the yacht is to buy time for Wagner. He can't let Natalie live now. If he can't have her (and she would leave him) no one can.

She may have said some unforgiveable things in her anger. Things that Wagner still remembers to this day. They wouldn't have been kind words. That's why he put that revolting caption over her photo "That Cunt Will Never Work At My Studio Again". He pretended he was referencing Judy Garland but the message is clear. Natalie was a cunt in his view. He can't justify killing her if she wasn't.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Natalie Wood and Her Father

This rare photo, also by William Claxton, of Natalie with her father is a touching one. Contrary to the impression given in Lambert's book that Natalie's family was disjointed and its members at constant odds with one another, there's a lot more to be told. Lambert also suggests, based on a rumor, that this man, Nick Gurdin, is not Natalie's blood father. Natalie loved her parents dearly and accepted that no family is perfect. Natalie's immediate family was not dysfunctional. They experienced ups and downs and may have dealt with the same everyday problems many families deal with, but there was no animosity or lack of love on Natalie's part toward her mother and father, who she affectionately called "Mud" and "Fahd". Natalie, who grew up fast, always appreciated what her mother had done for her, and she adored her father, in spite of faults others may want to emphasize and/or exaggerate. Natalie did not grow up in a "living hell" -- she was a rather content child who worked like an adult while experiencing a normal upbringing (she attended public school). Her parents were not often Splendour guests, but that had nothing to do with a lack of Natalie's regard and love for them. Splendour was more RJ's world, and Natalie respected that much. RJ and Natalie grew up in completely different type worlds. If their individual upbringings and environments have anything to do with building character, Natalie's speaks volumes by comparison.

I Love New York!

I do love New York, always have, always will. I always thought about this photo of Natalie (or a few others like it taken at same shoot) as a cover choice for GNGS, but was talked out of it by publisher's art department. I ended up agreeing with them, but I love Natalie in these photos, and I love New York. Natalie "felt" the city, too.

For those who have never visited "the greatest city in the world" it truly is a stunner when you turn the corner to Times Square and see the big screen and billboards and Nasdaq's telling of the world economy. The bustling streets and sidewalks are crammed with preoccupied people and jammed traffic, and the nosie is startling. You are awakened, you feel so alive standing there absorbing it all in, and it's virtually inconceivable to imagine this DAILY, hectic, busy world transpiring every minute of every day we are snug at home. A couple of years ago, I took my daughter-in-law to the city for her first visit (she lives near a city in Wisconsin, and has been to Chicago many times), and when I asked her if it's anything like what she imagined from seeing it on TV, she was breathless! She said, "No way! I can't even describe what it's like to see this!" She said Chicago is huge, but she was still captivated by the giantness of NY. It's more than concrete and noise: it truly is "a sensation."  As the old saying goes, "nice place to visit but I wouldn't want to live there," is for visitors only. Millions do live there and couldn't live anywhere else on earth! It truly is a place one must see. And, occasionally, I wish I did live there. My brother lived in Greenwich Village many years ago for a short period, a place so unbelievably charming.  I love all of the "Big Apple."

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Justice for Natalie Wood in California?

Dateline NBC: News stories about crime, celebrity and health- msnbc.com

(The show I'm referring to isn't posted yet)

I have had one of the busiest weeks ever, but tonight I sat down to relax and watch some TV. I love the new show "Who do you think you are" (Geneology...tonight Lionel Richie discovered a fascinating history). Then came Dateline and I am SO ENCOURAGED after seeing the possibilities that may lie ahead for Natalie.

Although tonight's Dateline was such a sad, tragic story, about a woman, Kit, with two young daughters and wanting a divorce from her wannabe photographer husband, it gave me a peek into what can happen when someone in authority CARES!

Kit had an interesting job. She arranged food for magazine photo shoots. Her husband was not yet up to speed for magazine shooting, so another photographer shot most of Kit's arrangements at a studio.  Kit fell in love with her co-worker.  This, after finding out her husband had drastically lied about his past before marrying her. He had never graduated college or fought in Nam, as he bragged. He kept a strange diary with weird ramblings about secret desires. Kit felt terrible about hurting him (as she wrote in a letter to him about their divorce, but never sent it) but knew she could not stay married to him. She was moving to be near her job. While packing her house, her husband arrived to pick up daughters to take to a party. After putting them in car seats, he said he had to go close the gate.

Same day, a few hours later, after being unable to contact Kit, Kit's brother and boyfriend drove couple of hours to her house to find her dead on the floor in a pool of blood, throat slit, with what seemed a staged "break-in". Her entire family suspected husband, but there was not enough evidence. Police questioned everyone, including husband. He said after he put the girls in car that morning, he never went back into the house. Coroner said Kit was killed in the PM, and husband had all day alibi at party with girls. So no one was ever arrested.

TWENTY SEVEN YEARS LATER IN 2009, the detective on that case was retired, but the case still bothered him. Califormia wasn't bankrupt enough to listen to what the detective had to say after pulling the old files and reviewing the case!

He noticed in the old interview that the husband had said he didn't go back in house, but that when he got in the car, his oldest daughter had asked him "What took you so long, Daddy?" He answered that he had to close the gate. RED FLAG. It was a contradiction never caught 27 years earlier (what would take so long to close a gate? the detective now wondered). So the detective dug deeper and decided to use DNA (unavailable in 1984) to test a few odd placed blood spots that didn't match victim, but did prove to match husband after DNA tests conducted in 2008. But, husband had lived in the house for 4 years, but not for the last 2 months before Kit was killed. (Hope you're following)

Point is, it would be so easy a defense to prove husband's blood could've been there long before the murder because he had lived in the house, so how could they get this guy? ONE LITTLE LIE. They kept pressing him in a 27-year later interview, over and over about whether or not he went back into the house. He slipped and said he had to get a present he forgot for the party he was taking the girls to. They arrested him on that! It was pure circumstantial evidence they took this 27-year old cold case to court with and they got a conviction based on ONE LITTLE LIE the husband had told! They used his diaries in custody, too, showing his personality quirks as evidence.

AND UNBELIEVABLY, the coroner was brought back in to admit he had made a mistake and it was very likely Kit could've been killed in the morning. A botched case made good.

In all legal likeihood, they weren't going to win this case, but people (and Kit's family), dedicated to justice for Kit, were willing to try. And they won. This man had raised his two daughters and no one really said he had been a bad father. In fact, he had been a good father (other than he had killed their mother!). Ironically, but I think we can all see the psychological aspects of this: it was the two daughters, now grown, who pleaded for mercy for their father in the courtroom. One said: "I miss my mother, but please don't take my father away, too."

He got 25 years to life.

I applaud the retired detective who never gave up. I'm glad there is justice for Kit. I would like to see justice for Natalie Wood. There's more than ONE LIE and ONE QUIRK to go on! Lots more!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Natalie Wood received Golden Globe for "From Here to Eternity"

I remember when I heard that Natalie was going to play the character Karen Holmes in a TV mini-series remake of the classic film "From Here To Eternity" in 1979-- I was excited to see Natalie on TV. She did a remarkable job with the role as was recognized by the Golden Globe(s), Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Natalie was awarded the Golden Globe statuette for best female leading performance. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is often praised for its consistency in awarding actors based on TALENT, rather than based on popularity, politics, media sway, etc. It was quite a prestigious award for Natalie to have won.
(Thanks to KevinR for emailing this photo he just happened to save a few years ago....luckily because it was near impossible to find online.)

With Natalie is Paul Michael Glaser of "Starsky and Hutch" popular TV show.