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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.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Natalie's Perch, Natalie Wood's Voice

Natalie Wood sitting in "Natalie's Perch" aboard Splendour. Photo by Dennis Davern
When Dennis Davern worked for the Wagner couple, in an up close and personal position for seven years, it was his relationship with RJ to first warm up, as would be expected. For the first year of Dennis's Splendour job, he might have felt a tad intimidated by Natalie as she wasn't around much and when she was, she treated him like an employee, all while RJ became his fishing buddy. This did not bother Dennis, as he actually respected Natalie's professionalism, and made a conscious effort to never allow delusional thinking of where he stood with the couple, as a whole or individually. He was content with his job, branched out on his own with a side chartering business, and was cordial to Natalie when he saw her, stuck to guy-talk with RJ on fishing excursions, and there seemed contentment all around. Dennis knew his place. He kept it.

Into the second year of Dennis's job, Natalie and the Wagner couple daughters attended boat outings more frequently. Natalie began to notice Dennis differently. She saw he genuinely cared about the Wagner family and her trust in him grew. She had no qualms letting Dennis baby-sit while she and RJ went off to Avalon for dinner. She might check to make sure Dennis changed Courtney's diapers enough while she'd been away, always to learn that Dennis never once disobeyed anything Natalie ever asked of him. Thus, her trust in Dennis continued to grow. Dennis by this time was told he was welcomed at the Wagner home at any time, and what he saw there only enforced his initial opinion about the couple: they seemed happy.

By the fourth year, when the Splendour, yet again, was moved to a different marina, Dennis was forced to choose between continuing his budding charter business at the former marina, or to move on with the Wagner family to Tahiti Marina. Of course, by this time, the Wagners did not want to lose Dennis, but Dennis, although he cared for the entire family, was making more money from his side business than from working for the Wagners. He was living with his fiancé and thinking of starting a family, so he chose to stay and grow his charter business. RJ offered Dennis a hefty pay raise to remain as Splendour's Captain and caretaker, but it was Natalie who offered the ultimate. She said, "Dennis, I know you are engaged, but I also know you're having problems in the relationship, so why don't you stay with us and live aboard the Splendour until you figure out what you want to do?" Dennis accepted, and Splendour became his home.

After year four of Dennis's Splendour tenure, it was his friendship with Natalie that really warmed-up. She felt as if she really knew Dennis by this time, and Dennis became her cruising buddy. Natalie didn't like the ocean, but she liked her yacht, especially because by this time she had turned it into her own cozy little haven. She would do her needlepoint or read scripts while Dennis kept her company in the wheelhouse. When Natalie was sitting in her wheelhouse "perch" her tension faded. "Natalie's perch" was her fort away from it all. But she didn't like to be alone, so Dennis would happily keep her company. They talked about so many things in general, it's difficult for Dennis to pinpoint specific conversations, but there are several that stand out memorably.

Dennis knew Natalie in a personal way, rather than as the iconic Hollywood actress she actually was and remains. In fact, Natalie liked that Dennis didn't treat her as an "unapproachable star" or celebrity, or even as a boss, which technically, she was. Dennis treated Natalie as a caring friend. Yes, they had a few disagreements over the years. Yes, as Dennis now says, Natalie was always right, but he remembers her with such fondness, as well as with genuine grief over how and why she lost her life.

Being the person Natalie turned to for comfort in the midst of all the emotional discomfort of her final cruise aboard Splendour, Dennis remains her true friend, and intends to bring this deserving "perfect person" (as Dennis calls Natalie) her justice.

So, in case any of you are wondering what has happened to Dennis Davern, he's here, and he's about to speak out again, which he will continue to do until he's content Natalie has received the voice she rightfully deserves, the voice that really needs to be heard: Natalie's.


  1. Hi, Marti:

    Good to see a new post. I really cherished the insights into Natalie's personality and "real life" that Dennis gave us in "GNGS." They offered us a wonderful picture of this fabulous woman who did not deserve her fate.

    While overall the book was heartbreaking, as I've stated many times, I am so glad that there were many accounts of what a truly wonderful lady Natalie was, from someone who knew her well. Dennis has said so many wonderful things about her, yet her own widower has not done likewise. Strange, isn't it, re: the "love of his life?" Wagner has tried to keep her fans and the general public from honoring her, he has given her backhanded compliments (when he does say something remotely positive), and he has tried to squelch her legacy at every turn in 30 years.

    But Natalie was always and always will be a much bigger person than Wagner in so many ways. He will meet his maker and will have to reckon with his past. The truth and light of Natalie's soul and beauty are everlasting.

    Thank you, again, Marti for being so dedicated to Natalie's story. We are with you all the way.

  2. Thanks Marti for sharing, and Marianne very well put. Can't wait for more new's.

  3. Am looking forward to more from Dennis! The more he speaks, the more we will get to the truth of the matter. BRING IT ON....and let's get some justice for Natalie. She deserves it! Thank you Marti, for helping bring all this about! I'm in your corner!!

  4. Just weeks before Natalie's death, RJ was on camera talking about how she was the love of his life. Why then has he allowed (or encouraged) her to be forgotten by the public? Just his behavior alone is suspicious, before you examine any other facts in the case.