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.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Superstars Play: Slices of Lives Productions

"Superstars" brochure cover and play flyer
"Superstars" Brochure copy mentioning "Goodbye Natalie Goodbye Splendour"

Yesterday in the mail I received the brochure and flyer for the "Superstars" play in NY running every Saturday through June 4th. "Goodbye Natalie Goodbye Splendour" is credited in the brochure copy.
Can't wait to report back to you about the play after I actually see it, which at this point I'm not sure which Saturday I will be attending.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Special Weddings

Kate in her wedding reception dress.

Today's Royal wedding was watched by more people than any other in history. It was a beautiful ceremony.
I, like millions of others, got up in the middle of the night to start watching and although I had a very busy day, I had two TV's on and caught most of the festivities live. I enjoyed the history of the day.... Kate may one day be Queen of England. That just has to be an overwhelming thought for her at moments. 

Congratulations to William and Kate. Kate reminds me of a "good soul" -- I think she is beautiful and ever so elegant. There's a gentleness and humble quality about her that reminds me of Natalie Wood.  I saw this photo tonight online and I thought of Natalie, how she must have felt on her wedding days. RJ's and Natalie's wedding was called the "most glittering of Hollywood ceremonies" in the 1950's.  There's such promise for newlyweds. It's sad how it ends for some.  

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

"Make Every Minute Count"

Here's an old Rex Reed column I hope you can read from this post. Natalie did want to publish an autobiography, and she did start her memoirs. She told Rex "make every minute count" which is something I believe Natalie truly tried to do, but it's disturbing to think about all of the minutes -- decades -- she has been robbed of.     

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter

Hope you all enjoy your day.
Wishing you and yours a Happy Easter.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Amazon Review in Canada

Goodbye Natalie, Goodbye Splendour: Amazon.ca: Marti Rulli, Dennis Davern: Books

Although I know from Amazon's Author Central sales data that GNGS has a Canadian following, no one there wrote a review until this year. It's one worth waiting for. Also, I was surprised to see today that GNGS is in two bestselling categories in Canada...Entertainment biographies and Actor and Actress biographies: #51 in those two genres today!

Of course, Canada is our neighbor, but people loved Natalie from around the world. This reviewer in the first sentence is referring to the overwhleming American Amazon site reviews GNGS has received (thank you!) Here's the comprehensive, appreciated review from Canada:

5.0 out of 5 stars Justice For Natalie, Mar 11 2011

By Noirdame (Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER) This review is from: Goodbye Natalie, Goodbye Splendour (Hardcover)

There's very little I can add to the excellent favorable reviews here, which sum up what this book has accomplished. It answers so many questions that family members, friends and fans of Natalie alike have pondered. I never thought I'd see the day when the mysterious and suspicious circumstances surrounding her death would ever be addressed by anyone who is in a position to know or a person who clearly has done their own research and investigating. Suzanne Finstad did an admirable job with her biography of Ms. Wood, but Marti Rulli and Dennis Davern made the picture complete and vivid. I can only imagine how difficult and frustrating it has been for them all these years to gather up the courage to get to the truth and present it to the public, with so many individuals who have something to hide or just simply don't want to know the truth.

Let me just state up front that I am first and foremost a Natalie Wood fan, and I make no apologies for it. Her talent, warmth, vitality and touching vulnerability to me makes her a Hollywood icon, but her achievements in life were overshadowed by her tragic and early death. It seems so unfair that such a vibrant and loving person's life could be snuffed out so senselessly because of a preventable tragedy. And I say preventable because it was. The man who claimed to love Natalie let her down in the worst way. To add insult to injury, the authorities did not conduct a proper investigation, in fact, witnesses who overheard Natalie's cries for help went ignored, and one of them, Marilyn Wayne, was left anonymous threats in an attempt by someone (or maybe more than one person) to ensure her silence. I don't believe Natalie's death and the circumstances surrounding it were taken seriously, and there was no doubt that many things Robert Wagner told police did not add up or make sense.

Wagner's behavior that night was disgraceful and self-serving. Natalie was afraid of water and couldn't swim, and his story about her being drunk and falling overboard while trying to tie up the dingy was shot down hard and well by Rulli. (I don't mean to exclude Christopher Walken - he must know something). Even after that terrible night, Wagner's actions have spoken louder than words, dating actress Jill St. John publicly two months after Natalie's death, his input in Gavin Lambert's pathetic attempt to glorify him in the book "Natalie Wood: A Life", and worst of all, his refusal to take any kind of responsibility for Natalie's tragic demise. I was never much of a Robert Wagner fan, but early on I did like him and feel sorry for him. It was only when I learned more about Natalie and noticed Wagner's treatment of those who question what happened that night (Lana Wood, Ginger Blymyer), that I became suspicious of him. I've become more and more convinced that Wagner doesn't give a crap about anything other than covering his own behind. The man admitted in his own autobiography that he stood outside Warren Beatty's house with a loaded gun. If that doesn't give you a picture of what he is capable of, I don't know what will.

Dennis Davern has been given a bum rap over the last decade as being unreliable or been portrayed as a drunken fame-seeker, but GNGS opened the eyes of many that he is the opposite. Davern has anguished privately for years over that night in 1981. Dennis to me showed more concern over Natalie than Wagner, the latter whom did not want the Coast Guard notified of Natalie's disappearance. Wagner continued to keep Dennis close to him after Natalie died, and then trashed him (via his mouthpiece Gavin Lambert) years later when it became clear that Davern was not going to keep his secret. Wagner's celebrity status seems to have ensured him protection (although to me he's never been more than a has-been who has made a name for himself for being married to Natalie Wood and mimicking classic actors), but Davern and Natalie's sister Lana don't have that kind of security, making it more difficult for them to get at the truth.

The image that this book has put in my mind is of Natalie's last moments, engulfed in an element that she had feared all her life, and what thoughts and images must have gone through her mind. It's painful and heartbreaking to think about, and Rulli gives us an idea of what it must have been like for her. Another thing we can only imagine is the grief of the ones who genuinely loved her and were close to her. I've heard that Lana Wood wants the case re-opened and I admire her for her courage in doing so. I think Lana and Natalie's daughters deserve to know the truth, but I don't know if Wagner will ever admit to anything or if the authorities will want to address the issue. It's long overdue and Natalie deserves justice.

Splendour, Rear View.

The bridge above the deck (surrounded by Isenglass enclosure) is where Dennis waited out the argument Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner were involved in on the rear deck the night of Natalie's death. Wagner must have known Dennis was on the deck as the music was playing from the bridge. But Dennis wasn't "watching" so Wagner did not see him.  The middle doors open to the master stateroom where the loud arguing started.

Splendour's Rear Deck

Top: door to Splendour's swimstep
Below: Splendour's deck

Here are two photos showing Splendour's deck and walls and opened door to swim step. Note the thickness and height of the walls surrounding the deck and how wide the swim step is (which also had the dinghy flushed with it the night of Nov. 28, 1981). Note: dinghy in this photo is not Valiant.

Superstars, Slices of Lives Productions: "The Unheard Cries of Natalie Wood"

"Superstars" Slices of Lives Productions - "The Unheard Cries of Natalie Wood"

From April 16 to June 4, every Saturday night, Actress Lorraine Farris will be performing her segment titled "The Unheard Cries of Natalie Wood" in the Slices of Lives Productions titled Superstars.
Lorraine Farris - IMDb

I will most likely be attending on "Industry Night" but I don't have that particular date yet. Any of you close enough to the city who would care to see this performance, it's performed on Saturdays at 8pm at the Susan Batson Studio Theater, 300 W 43rd St., NY, NY.

It was "Goodbye Natalie Goodbye Splendour" that helped inspire Lorraine to acknowledge Natalie in her segment. She contacted me months ago after reading GNGS and then she allowed me to read her compelling script. She is sole author of her interpretation, and her tribute to Natalie is heartrending. Lorraine's scene is about 40 minutes in length and she plays Natalie Wood. Two other actresses playing Ann Margaret and Sophia Loren will perform their pieces separately as well.

Susan Batson directs. About the director:
Actor, writer, director, producer, teacher, and coach Susan Batson has been called a "technician of the spirit" by the New Yorker. In private consultation on film sets all over the world, and in her New York- and Hollywood- based Black Nexxus acting studios, Susan Batson has enjoyed the privilege of working with Nicole Kidman, Juliette Binoche, Tom Cruise, Jennifer Lopez, Chris Rock, Jamie Foxx, Sean 'P. Diddy' Combs, Liv Tyler, Jennifer Connelly, and countless other actors searching for truthful connections between themselves and the characters that they play. (from IMDB)  Susan Batson (I) - Biography

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

There Must Be A Pony

In a column by Liz Smith from early 1981 she wrote that Natalie Wood had bought the rights to James Kirkwood's book, "There Must Be A Pony." Natalie was to play the role of Marguerite, the part that Liz Taylor played in the ABC, made-for-TV movie that aired in 1986. Robert Wagner starred with Liz, and Wagner was also the executive producer of the movie, directed by Joseph Sargent.

The movie was Wagner's project after his TV show "Lime Street" had failed after only a few episodes aired.

Wagner did not mention that it was his late wife who was behind "There Must Be A Pony" when he told about the production in his book. The only reason he owned the movie was because Natalie died. It's yet another example of the way he leaves out details when he should be crediting Natalie where credit is due. Instead of saying something to the effect that Natalie would have played the role beautifully (as Liz Taylor did, too), he usually avoids ever talking about Natalie as an actress or shrewd industry figure. The best I've ever heard him say of Natalie's career was that she "had a good run." Never have I read or heard Wagner compliment Natalie's talent in a heartfelt manner. It makes a person wonder why.

The storyline in "There Must Be A Pony" involves its main charater, Marguerite Sydney, who is a celebrated Hollywood star attempting a comeback after a stay in a mental hospital, as she attempts to also re-establish a relationship with her teenage son. She takes a shot at romance with a "mysterious stranger."

As the New York Times said in 1986: Elizabeth Taylor triumphs in the part, even as the production sinks.


Monday, April 18, 2011


Daytona Beach Morning Journal - Google News Archive Search

This link is to a newspaper article published in the Daytona Beach Morning Journal, April 27, 1963.
I'm sorry I can't copy and paste it here (it's embedded), but it's worth the read, a true revelation of the chauvinistic and jealous attitude Robert Wagner had brought to, and left his first marriage with.

How can you tell your wife she can't have a mink coat when she earns more than you do?

In other words, he couldn't control her. Maybe that's what he wanted to show Natalie on the night of Nov. 28, 1981. Control.
It's heartbreaking.
Please, if you haven't yet signed or know someone who hasn't, please give them the link to the petition, or share at your Facebook page and other Facebook pages. It will soon be submitted. Thank you.

Reopen Investigation of Natalie Wood's death Petition


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Have a great week....

Natalie especially loved springtime, and loved spending her holidays surrounded by those she loved.

I will be finishing up reports this week to accompany the petition, and will be in touch with others involved so that I can soon post the selected date we intend to submit the petition with an official request to have Natalie Wood's case reopened.  In the meantime...

As today is Palm Sunday leading into the Easter week, and Passover begins tomorrow, I'd like to wish everyone a wonderful, joyful holiday week. I will be extra busy this week as I'll be having Easter dinner coupled with a family birthday party next Sunday. Lots to do.... 

I had Sunday dinner today and my 4-year old grandson (we call him "Gooch") was telling all eight of us (including my other 4-year old grandson who listened intently) about an Easter play his other grandmother took him to this morning. He carefully explained to us his interpretation of the play, talked about how Jesus was on the cross and his head was bloody and swaying (we were getting a little nervous but continued listening), and when we thought he wrapped it up by explaining, "Jesus died but really didn't die, and then he was way up high in the sky,"  his eyes became wide and he finished his story by adding, "Then after the play I went into the bathroom and I saw the man who killed Jesus in there."

We were roaring! I wish you all wonderful family moments this holiday week.  (PS: we explained to Gooch we were happy Jesus was fine!) Happy Easter, Happy Passover, Happy Spring!

Natalie Wood "Time of Death"

After more research about a medical examiner's part in an "investigation" I've learned that it is definitely NOT the coroner's job to make determinations about the actual scene of an investigation, so I understand a little more now why Noguchi met with such opposition after announcing the argument aboard the Splendour.
My belief is that Noguchi may have suspected the bruises on Natalie's body and was putting the argument out there for considereation. Sadly, it backfired.

Also, the most difficult task for ANY coroner is to determine or estimate actual time of death (TOD) especially when the body temperature is the most reliable way to determine.

In Natalie Wood's case, having been in near 58 degree water for hours, and not immediately transported for examination, her body temperature was not a reliable way to determine TOD.

Rigor mortis sets into the human body within 12 hours of death. It is a tightening of the muscles. After about 72 hours - it goes away.  Other criteria must be considered. Natalie was found with no rigor.  

Muscles, which make up 50 percent of our body weight, produce 73 percent of our heat during work. Short bursts of hard physical effort can generate tremendous amounts of heat, so if Natalie tried to get to shore, she would have generated heat to help keep her alive. Her feet, being most exposed to the cold water. may have numbed first with the onset of hypothermia and she may have used her arms more than her feet (thus, the socks remained on her feet). Hypothermia is defined as having a core body temperature less than 95 degrees, so we know Natalie most instantly started to deal with the effects of hypothermia.

But an insulated body that’s wrapped in something cools slower than one that’s completely exposed. Natalie's coat that helped her float may also have helped her to live longer by providing insulation.

The rate of the cooling water also affects other “after death” processes, such as rigor mortis—heat speeds up rigor and cold slows it down. 

Roger Smith, who says Natalie's body appeared as if death had occured shortly before being found, had experience in drowning deaths. His professional experience could have been a valuable help to the medical examiner's office, but Roger was never interviewed by detectives or by the medical examiner's office.

Although cold water can slow the process of rigor, there are other factors involved that help determine TOD. Rigor mortis comes from lack of calcium binding in the muscle. It would not increase swelling, but the body being in the water would increase swelling had a body had been floating NOT alive for hours. Natalie had NO SWELLING. With hestitation because of how weird it sounded to say, Roger told me, "Natalie looked beautiful" when he pulled her from the ocean.

We know Natalie went into the water a few minutes after 11:00 PM, Saturday night, Nov. 28th, 1981. She was pulled from the ocean at 7:45 AM, Sunday. She was found floating in her jacket, in "beautiful" condition. (And THAT'S as weird for me to say as it was for Roger, but it is EVIDENCE that this woman probably fought ferociously to remain alive.) 

I am totally an amateur in medical expertise but I've read enough medical records about drowning deaths to know that Natalie deserved a more extensive medical investigation. "Unknown cause" for her bruises was enough to demand it!  We hope to soon have a professional, expert coroner look over Natalie's autopsy and re-evaluate its criteria.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Some saw it...

Robert Wagner Plot to Kill warren Beatty | hidensneek.com

A friend emailed this to me.... I had never seen it, and although it is a site focusing on celeb humor and satire, this shows that Wagner's little story about waiting for Warren Beatty with a gun wasn't "bought" by everyone in the media. This cartoon shows how ludicrous (and/or insane) his story actually is, and this was put out there long before GNGS.  I've read where Wagner fans defend him by saying ludicrous things like, "Oh, he gets mad but he would never act on the anger." I beg to differ. There's a grave in Westwood that proves differently.

Pieces of lies

There have been a few comments in other posts mentioning Wagner's book, "Pieces of My Heart."  Here, at this blog, most believe his book is astonishingly telling.

The person who commented said, Wagner came across as very crass, mean-spirited, and self-serving. The book was nothing more than an attempt to make him look good. At times it was downright breathtaking (but NOT in a good way).

I agree with this person's observation that Wagner's choice in not mentioning Natalie as one of the women who has influenced him is all-telling!  He dedicated to the "six women in my life" who have meant the most to him in his life, and suspiciously, the woman he married twice is eliminated from that group. The women he named were his mother, sister, current wife Jill St. John, and his three daughters.

The next question the person commenting had was: Natalie didn't help make his life meaningful? She saved his rear end from bankruptcy and afforded him to live a glamourous life at her side--TWICE. She apparently also protected his reputation at her own expense in the aftermath of their first marriage.
Stunningly, Natalie is not even mentioned in the TWO full pages of acknowlegements at the back. (They are in rather small print, so he jammed a lot of them in, too.) He manages to thank sports figures and the friends of Courtney, but he doesn't have room for Natalie anywhwere?

The chapter on Natalie's death rang hollow and stale, as if it were written with the help of an attorney. He cried over his dead dog and his pals, but he didn't get emotional over Natalie. Even the title of his book came from a tearful remembrance of Barbra Stanwyck, NOT of Natalie.

Wagner's actions and words do not reflect that of a man who tragically, accidently lost the "love of his life." His book was another way to let the world know, and not even subtly in some passages, that his finest memories and gratitude have little to do with Natalie Wood.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Charlie Sheen wants his job back. Robert Wagner gets a new gig.

I realize this post title may seem unrelated, but it's the way my mind works: I was thinking about Charlie Sheen this morning after hearing he's hinting about wanting his job back on "Two and a Half Men." It made me wonder how Sheen and Wagner got along when they worked together for a season on "Men."
I wondered if their personalities clashed or if they revered each other... if Sheen was in awe of Wagner the way actor Michael Weatherly is said to have been.

In my opinion, Sheen is a classic example of how drugs and booze ultimately fries the brain. As Dennis has been accused of that same thing, I always wished I had a public example to compare him with and now I do -- in Charlie Sheen.  Listen to one of Charlie's interviews compared to Dennis's voice in the interviews. The difference is astounding. That's because being a drunk and being drunk are TWO different things! Sheen is a drug-drenched brain talking and the other is a consciencious voice. I'm sure you've seen Charlies's rants and raves and now he's even selling tickets for it. I assure you, Dennis Davern is at the other end of the spectrum. I get so tired of hearing that Dennis's brain is destroyed by drugs and booze. That kind of talk comes from people who can't accept truth, period.

I fear for the women in Charlie Sheen's life. I truly believe he's to the point where anger may help him along in accomplishing terrible things. There's plenty of evidence. I hope he seeks professional help because his self-help isn't working. I hope it's true he is "clean" but it hardly appears that way. Maybe the damage is too far gone. I saw Donald Trump proudly showing the room he let Sheen stay in while recently in New York for a show....as if we should consider it a true reflection of class and dignity that Charlie didn't trash the hotel room.

I saw a promotion about Robert Wagner being cast as the new voice of Charlie for "Charlie's Angels." Sure, he wants that job. If you can't beat them, join them, right? Wagner lost his major lawsuit against the producers of "Charlie's Angels" a few years back, and I'm sure those producers expected more trouble from Wagner with a new "Angel's" show airing. Easiest to just give him the job of the voice? Also, is "Charlie's Angels" really the best pick for a show that should never go away for good?

Okay, I'm in a cynical mood this morning. I apologize if all of this sounds like a biased rant. It is.

Drugs and alcohol can alter a person's brain. Heavy drinking takes its toll ... by the time Wagner was in his 50's, the heavy drinking obviously was getting the better ... the worst... of him. Coupled with anger and jealousy, he became the victim of his own dangerous habit. In any case, we know the results of his anger and rage: there is a tragic victim who to this day has not received her justice for it. I sure hope nothing similar happens to any of Sheen's exes or to his current day "goddesses" who are simply young and, well, fearless. They seem to have no clue what they are involved with, as Natalie had no clue that she couldn't have a justified argument with her husband the night she "left us" (as Wagner puts it).  

But, we'll get to hear "Charlie's voice" -- smooth and wise and full of concern for his "angels" -- when the new series airs. People will think it's the "legendary actor's" great new role. Hooray for Hollywood. People will forget that media and law enforcement has allowed time to result in immunity for his horrid actions and deliberate choices the night Natalie Wood drowned.

As Jim Dykes said in his Wagner anecdote: it's makes me want to lose my breakfast.

Friday, April 8, 2011


It's a word I've just heard about. Victimology is the study of the victim of a crime and what might have transpired to contribute to the victim becoming a victim.

I talked with someone in law enforcement who tells me that any decent detective working a case will always consider a victimology report, especially in a death case. Of course, it was not done in Natalie's case because she was not considered the victim of a crime. She was considered a woman who got drunk and accidentally fell off her yacht.

Had a victimology report been completed in Natalie's case it of course would have included all of the circumstances surrounding her death, and how her death affected those involved.

Definition of VICTIMOLOGY

1: the study of the ways in which the behavior of crime victims may have led to or contributed to their victimization
2: the claim that the problems of a person or group are the result of victimization

The first known use of VICTIMOLOGY was in 1950

The term "crime victim" generally refers to any person, group, or entity who has suffered injury or loss of life due to illegal activity. The harm can be physical, psychological, or economic. The legal definition of "victim" typically includes the following:
A person who has suffered direct, or threatened, physical, emotional or pecuniary harm. Besides "primary crime victims", there are also "secondary crime victims" who experience the harm second hand, such as intimate partners or significant others of rape victims or children of a battered woman, and/or witnesses of crime. There are also what are called "tertiary crime victims" who experience the harm vicariously, such as through media accounts.

Victimology is a complete study of a case and ALL of the people involved in it. I'd like to think that's what I accomplished with GNGS. After all, the detectives did not even consider the possibility that a bruised dead woman's body could be a victim, and that's because of the celebrity factor involved in Natalie Wood's death.

The THEORY of victimology:
"Victim defenses" have recently emerged in cases of parricide (killing one's parents) and homicide of batterers by abused spouses. Advocates for battered women were among the first to recognize the issue, and promote the "battered woman syndrome" to defend women who killed or seriously injured a spouse or partner after enduring years of physical, emotional and/or sexual abuse. Attorneys have also drawn upon theories of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder to defend their client's behavior. From time to time, media attention to these defenses becomes intense, and certain "high profile" cases tend to influence public opinion and spread confusion over who is the "victim" and who is the "victimizer." One of the goals of victimology as a science is to help end this state of societal confusion.

NCIS strange casting.

One of the strangest things last year was to learn that Robert Wagner was going to play the father of agent Tony DiNozzo’s (Michael Weatherly) father, Anthony DiNozzo Sr.

In 2004, Michael played the role of actor, Robert Wagner, in the made for television movie "The Mystery of Natalie Wood." In 2010, Robert Wagner was cast and appeared as Michael Weatherly's NCIS character's father.

According to the NY Post, the two hadn’t met prior to filming “NCIS” and Weatherly admits to having been starstruck in Wagner’s presence. Odd, being he knew he was in a movie based on Suzanne Finstad's book that first questioned the viability of Wagner's account of the night Natalie Wood died. The CBS production, Lana Wood told me, was constantly threatened by Wagner's attorneys, thus the production ended up presenting the "banging dinghy" theory in spite of the fact Finstad had promoted the first evidence that accurately questioned the lame theory.

So how did Weatherly and Wagner become paired together? (Later, they became "buddies")
NCIS was created by Donald P. Bellisario and Don McGill. According to reports, Weatherly met NCIS producer Bellisario when Weatherly was filming The Mystery of Natalie Wood. I suppose they both didn't realize the significance or purpose of The Mystery of Natalie Wood, or simply did not care. NCIS has over 21 million viewers who are led to believe Weatherly played a real good guy in The Mystery of Natalie Wood.

Natalie Wood, the true legend, has truly been marred over and over again. I want to give her a louder voice.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Did he do it?

Tonight I attended a local "Meet and Greet" wine and cheese event our community business merchants association and PNC bank sponsored and hosted. There was a very nice turn out. I attended as a business owner and merchants member (I was secretary of the association for five years and resigned when GNGS was released only because I was too busy with book related obligations at that time to properly keep up with the secretarial duties). Having been a business owner in my community for decades, I pretty much know most of the people attending the various local events. Many business owners, employees, professionals, bankers, and politicians attend. The atmosphere is relaxed and casual, but the room is filled with respectable, intelligent people. And tonight was nice because I met many new people.

Although I was in attendance representing my local business, I was surprised at how many times GNGS came up in conversations. And I mingled! I know some of the people in attendance have read GNGS but I also spoke with some who haven't read it yet. The question asked by those who haven't read GNGS is usually, "Did he do it?" and I heard that question a few times tonight.  Before I responded, each person who asked it said the same thing: "I always KNEW there was something suspicious about her death."

Instincts from the moment we all heard about Natalie's death told us her death was not pure accident. How I usually answer the question is with a statement about the horrid investigation, then I add, "The facts speak for themselves, but the facts were always stifled." Yes, that's how I usually answer. But, tonight, I wasn't so diplomatic, although I remained "careful." Maybe it was the Zinfandel, maybe the frustration. But, I do know this much: every single new person I met tonight has always believed something sinister was involved in Natalie's death. Not one of them knew who Robert Wagner was, other than he was married to Natalie. Only one woman remembered Hart to Hart, and not so fondly.

I was surprised at the attention Natalie drew tonight, from people of all ages! I know she deserves it, but still it really made me feel inspired that people -- everyday, hard-working people -- really do still care about the travesty of justice in Natalie's death. And people REALLY remember her!

I had not expected to talk about GNGS at this event tonight, but I'm really glad others brought it up. I learned a lot about what people really think, and I doubt any of those people visit my blog, but if they do, I thank them for caring. I thank them for their interest, and I thank them for remembering a woman who should still be on this earth tonight, enjoying whatever would have made her night. Tonight, the interest in Natalie made MY night!

Bring Natalie up at the next social event you attend. You will see for yourself how much people know about her, and how they still recall her questionable death -- almost 30 years later!  Legends are amazing people, and Natalie will always be one of them.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Christopher Walken is in the news!

Alleged Rider U. stalker & Chris Walken lookalike makes TMZ & goes viral - trentonian.com

NEW JERSEY, LAWRENCE — A suspected stalker charged with trying to entice a Rider University coed from campus into his car has drawn national attention after Hollywood paparazzi website TMZ pointed out his resemblence to actor Christopher Walken.

The mustachioed mug of stalker suspect Tony Kadyhrob, 68, is being shared the world over on various sites and blogs since TMZ declared him a ringer for Oscar winner Walken, who is known for playing creepy characters.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Natalie Wood's travesty of justice: why Coroner Thomas Noguchi couldn't do more.

Because technically (medically) Natalie drowned, that had to be reported and documented as the official cause of death. Therefore, it would have been impossible for Noguchi to rule non-accidental without reason from the authorities to do so, although he could have ruled undetermined, which only would have raised a slew of media questions, and no one wanted that at the time. The vicious little "catch 22" was that the authorities needed more from Noguchi as well to finish their report differently than "accidental drowning."

What Noguchi should have done was to demand a psychological report. That would have required extensive interviews with everyone involved, even people on the outskirts of the tragedy. But, when Noguchi told the media about an argument on board the Splendour, the case detectives were infuriated, and Rasure didn't like being undermined. Immediately, when the truth of an argument was released by Noguchi, the detectives became enraged and sent a media statement undermining Noguchi's statement.

When writing Goodbye Natalie, I contacted D. P. Lyle, M.D., at the writers' forensic community Web site.
I presented Dr. Lyle with the basic information about Natalie Wood’s autopsy and asked his professional opinion. Dr. Lyle works primarily with authors of fiction, and, ironically, I sensed he knew that I was asking about the high-profile Natalie Wood case because he told me he wanted nothing to do with the case, especially because one of his neighbors was very good friends with Robert Wagner. I promised him I would not use his information in GNGS, and I asked him if he would at least explain to me his opinion on why Noguchi couldn't have done more. Dr. Lyle obliged me, and wrote:

A coroner must look for signs such as bruises, head bruises, or bruises on the shoulders, arms or legs, that would indicate if a victim had been injured, dragged, or held down, then homicide would be suspected. Bruises on the neck, shoulders, arms, or legs might indicate that the individual had been restrained or held underwater. Sometimes these bruises are in the pattern of fingers so that the coroner would know that someone indeed held the victim. But, each of these findings could also have innocent explanations and might not represent a homicidal occurrence. A bruise to the scalp could have occurred from an accidental fall in which the person then fell into the water. Or they could have struck their head in a fall and staggered to the water and fallen in and been drowned. Drugs and alcohol are often involved in accidental drownings. Bruises, even those that appear as if the person had been restrained, could have happened hours before the actual drowning event and that altercation could be completely unrelated to the drowning death. The bottom line is that the coroner often has difficulty in determining drowning as the actual cause of death and further difficulty in distinguishing between accidental, suicidal, and homicide as the manner of death.

Interestingly, Dr. Lyle helped more. He explained to me that Noguchi should have studied in much further detail to determine HOW Natalie acquired her bruises. I don't think Dr. Lyle bought the theory that she clung to the dinghy and acquired bruising by trying to mount it. In fact, by the time Dr. Lyle and I were done discussing all of the details of Natalie's situation, he wrote to me and gave his permission for me to use ANYTHING I wanted that he had discussed with me, which I did, but it was also another part the original editor's cut for space. I think it's extremely important to establish how as well as why Natalie's case fell through the cracks. It truly is one of the worst investigated cases in American history.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

What kind of detective is Frank Salerno?

I tried to learn all I could about Frank Salerno, the lead detective in Natalie's case, before I was to speak with him. Frank Salerno Sr. had helped to nail the Hillside Strangler and the Night Stalker, two infamous, demented killers. I learned he had once acquired the nickname "Honest Frank".

After retiring from the department, Salerno became president of his own private investigation company called Salerno & Scully Investigations, offering detective, guard, and armored car services, in Encino, California. 

At the L.A. Weekly Web site,
Former Deputy Gets life in Prison - Page 1 - News - Los Angeles - LA Weekly
the article I found about Salerno told of a cold case he had left behind when he retired. It was not until 2007 that the cold case went to trial—a case with virtually no evidence and no murdered body ever found. The L.A. Weekly reporter, Christine Pelisek, started her October 17, 2007, article by saying:

For Frank Salerno and Louie Danoff, two hard-boiled detectives working out of the Hall of Justice downtown, the last thing they needed was a complicated case. It was 1991, and the murder rate was skyrocketing to historic highs, with 2,054 homicides in Los Angeles County that year alone. Salerno, a veteran homicide dick who caught plenty of high-profile cases, like the Hillside Strangler, the Night Stalker, and the strange drowning of Natalie Wood, was ready to retire early due to high blood pressure. His partner, Louie Danoff, was another toughie as the clue manager on the Hillside Strangler and Night Stalker task forces, and a seasoned gang-homicide detective.

In the spring of 1991, Danoff and Salerno were handed the case involving the disappearance of Ann Racz, a churchgoer and devoted 42-year-old mother who vanished. Her newly estranged husband, John Racz—a cop—claimed Ann had gone on a vacation and never returned. Salerno and Danoff never gave up; even after retirement, they contributed to this case that reeked of foul play with no evidence to arrest their suspect, John Racz.

Two female detectives who took over the cold case in 2005, Sergeant Delores Scott and Detective Cheryl Comstock, continued interviewing people who knew that John Racz was suspect. According to the L.A. Weekly report, Sergeant Scott said, “The interviews got better, in part because the people who were reluctant to say ‘murder’ after a few months were suspicious after 16 years and were more willing to talk about their suspicions.”

John Racz, now a retired teacher, was about to meet his worst nightmare in Scott and Comstock, two female detectives from the generation that came up behind Danoff and Salerno. They persuaded the District Attorney’s Office to file charges. Not only was there no body; there was not a shred of physical evidence that Ann had met with foul play.

Then the case got some crucial help “from the grave.” The L.A. Weekly articles states:

It was the highly organized Ann Racz who posthumously provided the clues they needed to prosecute. As the meticulous report completed by Scott and Comstock clearly showed, one day Ann’s well-established pattern of behavior suddenly—and dramatically—ceased. “She helped us because she was a note taker and methodical and always stayed in close contact with her friends,” says Scott. And that became the key to a case 16 years in the making.

Salerno and Danoff had learned from the start that Ann was going to leave John, but lack of evidence prevailed. Jurors rarely convict without a body, but John Racz was convicted of murder in the first degree.
I thought about all of Natalie's "cries from the grave"
Frank Salerno was a good detective—the kind of detective Ann Rule writes about and admires. Ann Rule told me she knows of Frank and she does admire him. I wanted to admire him, too. The Natalie Wood case is not an open case, but I wanted Salerno to reconsider it as a cold case and I almost had him!  When I spoke with him, it was almost as if he were looking for something that would give him reason to hang up on me.... although he did NOT hang up on me, he found something to use to end the conversation so that he would not have to get involved with what I know he sensed was a true blunder.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

What could/should the media ask Wagner and/or Walken?

This post is asking for your suggestions on the type of questions you think Wagner and/or Walken should be asked by the media.
There were things edited from Goodbye Natalie I wish had remained: but there was only so much space allotted. I recall after speaking with Frank Salerno, that Dr. Lyndon Taylor gave me a list of questions he would like to ask the authorities. We talked about questions Wagner and Walken should be asked by the media. We discussed the benefits of Lyn meeting in person with Salerno, and Lyn e-mailed me an agenda he would use that included explaining his background and participation, as well as some questions for the former detective(s) on the Wood case that would show them their neglect and give them an opportunity to explain:

In your investigations did you or your staff . . .

Calculate Natalie’s weight in sea water?
Calculate the buoyancy of the red down jacket?
Examine the abrasion on her face for particles?
Question Wagner about the delay in reporting her absence?
Look for signs of a fight on the boat?
Examine the round bruises on her body as possible points of contact for gripping her?
Examine the surviving men's bodies for corresponding bruises?
Question other boaters in the harbor at the time?
Question Dennis at length?
Question Wagner at length?
Question Walken at length?
Question the delay in seeking professional help?
Establish a timeframe of events leading to Natalie’s demise?

Although we KNEW the answers to all of Lyn's questions were "No" -- it would give the law the opportunity to ask themselves why these standard procedures were not followed.

BUT, it's the media that has failed Natalie, too! What should they be demanding from Wagner? What would YOU want them to ask Wagner in an interview? What would you want to hear from Walken?


Friday, April 1, 2011

What Wagner told NY Post Columnist Cindy Adams about the night Natalie Wood drowned.

Cindy Adams of the New York Post (October 8, 2008) asked Wagner why he wrote a book.

“I’ve been fortunate,” he said. “There were so many in my heart that I just wanted to acknowledge them. It wasn’t easy to do. It’s been three years in the making. The whole experience was emotional.

“You stop and think about everything. Fortunately, I kept old phone books and lots of stills, so I could at least recall people’s names. Look, you see the time going. I’m doing my job 60 years. Someone said the other day they’d seen me with Susan Hayward in ‘A Song in My Heart.’ That was 1952.”

Reprising his Natalie Wood years was painful. The storybook marriage of two movie stars, the troubles, their divorce, a remarriage, that tragic end—after a night of drinking and arguing at sea, she famously fell to her death from their yacht Splendour.

“I couldn’t do an autobiography without touching that, but it was tough to bring her back. We met when she was 8 years old. I wanted to tell how happy we were . . . as for what happened that night she died, Chris Walken, who was with us, has gone over and over it with me. Did either of us ever hear anything? . . . It’s now 27 years later, and I’ve relived it a million times in my head. Maybe even more. I constantly second-guess myself. If I’d been there at that moment. I was responsible for her. I was always there for her. I wasn’t there then.

What's Wagner like backstage?

Jim Dykes

Here's an interesting post I came across in November 2008 BEFORE GNGS was published.
Online, November 4, 2008, Jim Dykes—someone I never met and do not know—wrote:

Robert Wagner made me lose my breakfast on LIVE With Regis and Kelly this morning. He is obviously trying to sell books so he attempted to come off as just “one of the boys.” I met Mr. Wagner when I was working backstage for producer Alexander Cohen in the Green Room at Radio City Music Hall for Night of 100 Stars II in 1985. Originally from Michigan, one suspects he portrays his climb to stardom as much of a “Little Me” version of things. He said he moved to LA (Bel Air!) as a teenager and got a job as a caddy at a golf course frequented by film stars. Apparently, Clark Gable, Cary Grant, Randolph Scott and other stars were attracted to this pretty boy and helped him cut thru red tape and get a movie contract. One wonders what details Mr. Wagner is leaving out. Major film stars don’t usually offer to assist every cute 18 year old boy who carries their golf clubs.

Regis Philbin was slobbering over Wagner and his Hollywood memories while Kelly Ripa (Wagner played her father in a few episodes of her ill-fated TV show Hope & Faith) recalled: “the way all those famous men treated you when you were young…perhaps that’s why you treated us all so nice,” to which Wagner said “Isn’t she great?” What else could he say? My personal memory of Wagner is that he’s a jerk…he is one of those actors who treats backstage personnel like dirt under his feet. Wagner thinks he’s a much bigger star than he really is, and is only nice to someone who can do something for HIM.

When I worked backstage on Night of 100 Stars, I totally recall Wagner as being a cold fish, arrogant, rude, hard to speak with or get a response from and I remember him fixing me with a cold, steely glare instead of responding when I said “hello” or tried to ask him a question. So Kelly Ripa must have a completely different memory of this man that I do. Karma, I suspect, will not be kind to someone like Wagner.