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.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Memorial Day

It's the unofficial start of summer -- parades and baseball and beaches and barbecues, but also a day to really take a moment to appreciate all of those who've served our country, especially those who've lost their lives while doing so. Wishing you all a pleasant Memorial Day and a wonderful unofficial start to summer.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Interesting Website

How Walken is depicted at this website
A friend of mine emailed me the following link after leaving a message at this blog. It's an interesting post about how people confuse characters for real-life personalities far too often, in this case, the blogger believes Walken could offer a lot more about Natalie's death. Website is called Famous for Bad Reasons

Check out this direct link to post:

The Libra Contemplates an Alleged Hollywood Murder |

Actors who could play RJ

Marti Rulli & Donny Osmond
Promotional photo of Donny Osmond

 A few years ago, I met Donny Osmond in NY (My sister-in-law used to do some volunteer promotional work for him), so when he was singing at a benefit at the Hard Rock Cafe, we attended. My biggest thrill that night was meeting Phil Collins, who also participated in the show.

I just came across this photo of me and Donny taken that night (he was very nice and it seemed genuine!) and it reminded me of a thought I'd had when I met Donny. I know this may sound odd, but in some weird way, in person, Donny reminded me of Wagner, and I remember the thought crossing my mind that to simply lighten his hair, he could be a good candidate to play Wagner. You might "see" it better in the promotional photo I also included here. I'm not even sure how well Donny can act, but somehow it was easy for me to see him playing Wagner. 

In "The Mystery of Natalie Wood" Michael Weatherly played a better young Wagner than older one (the age he was when Natalie died). I wasn't particularly pleased with the entire cast of that movie but I thought Justine Waddell did a pretty good job as Natalie, although even make-up couldn't transform Justine's eyes into Natalie's beautiful eyes. But Justine did a wonderful acting job in it. There were moments, in the distant shots of her, she really looked like Natalie.

Walken's and Dennis's roles in that movie are totally forgettable, as it was meant to be. The movie focused on the "banging dinghy" theory, therefore, Christopher's and Dennis's parts in the night Natalie died were expungable. If another movie is made of the story of Nov. 28th, 1981, it would be as crucial to choose the right Wagner as it would be to choose Natalie.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Natalie Wood is remembered

Simply a gorgeous photo of Natalie Wood. Her classic films and unmatchable beauty will have people talking about her for all of time. Even new fans feel the magnetism this woman generates to this very day.    

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Robert Wagner will defend a restaurant but not his "innocence"?

Express.co.uk - Home of the Daily and Sunday Express | Showbiz :: A Hollywood

At least he was referred to as a "Hollywood veteran" and a "TV star" (instead of a being called a legend) in the media releases about this side story. Wagner's response to the dissing of a restaurant that he likes is an example of him using his celebrity, however minor it is, to call attention to something....BUT he zips his lip when he does NOT want to call attention to something....where was his letter to Vanity Fair after Kashner's article ran in 2000? Where was his defense of his wife, the mother of his daughter? He allowed her to be called a "tail swisher" ...

And last but not least, where is his letter about "Goodbye Natalie Goodbye Splendour"? It's NO WHERE, which strongly implies that he lied every which way he could about the details surrounding Natalie Wood's death.
Express.co.uk - Home of the Daily and Sunday Express | Showbiz :: A Hollywood

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Rebel Without A Cause

Cruz Nite

Natalie and James Dean in Rebel
Last Thurday night I attended our town's "Cruz Nite". held once a month in summer. Our Main Street is historic, so with the cars and surroundings, it can feel as if you are walking around in the 1950's or in a 50's movie like "Rebel". When there, I thought about the famous scene in "Rebel Without a Cause" where Natalie breathlessly starts the drag race. I believe that's the scene that put Natalie on the map of adult stardom...forever!

Natalie Wood did not fall from the Splendour

Extremely difficult to fall from a boat with walls this high and thick.

This is the type of boat someone can easily fall from if standing.
 It's easy to see, looking at these two photos, that it's far-fetched to assume Natalie fell from the Splendour. There's absolutely NO reason to believe she was on deck re-tying a noisy dinghy. NONE. There's not a shred of evidence to indicate that's what could have happened other than a widower's assumption...a living husband's lie to direct suspicion from himself. He had the perfect detective on the case, one with celebrity star-dust filling his eyes and mind.

Monday, May 16, 2011

A beautiful Bracelet inspired by Splendor in the Grass

The bracelet Julie made for me, inspired by "Splendor in the Grass"

This is a photo of the beautiful bracelet inspired by “Splendor in the Grass” made for me by the talented artist, Julie.
http://www.julieannsmithdesigns.com/  And  http://www.julieannsmithdesigns.blogspot.com/

Julie put her heart into the making of the piece because she admires Natalie Wood and respects the heart-wrenching truth behind her death.

Julie had a design in mind inspired by SPLENDOR IN THE GRASS....and she made the original for me! It is gorgeous! Julie is an inspired artist, and her work reflects the care and detail she puts into her work. The bracelet is in remembrance of Natalie and Julie thanked me for the hard work I’ve accomplished for "bringing light into the darkness..." (for Natalie). I thank Julie and all of you for CARING.

I intend to wear the beautiful bracelet to the play “Slices of Lives” soon, honoring Natalie Wood. I hope to attend the “Slices of Lives” play in the next couple of weeks but it's been difficult to find a fre Saturday.

Natalie Wood, beautiful at 43

In March I posted a black and white photo of Natalie holding her Golden Globe statuette, and have since come across this top photo of Natalie that was taken on the night she was honored. It was 1979 when she played character Karen Holmes in a TV mini-series remake of the classic film "From Here To Eternity"-- she received the award in January 1980.

The photo below is a beautiful one of Natalie while she was performing in Brainstorm, her final movie. With a few studio scenes left to shoot in late 1981, we all learned in Nov. 1981 that Natalie had been found drowned off the coast of Catalina Island.

She was a young, beautiful, vibrant woman whose life was taken suddenly. Natalie Wood's death is the result of a heated argument aboard her family yacht, the Splendour and not because she drank too much and lost her balance while performing a boat chore. The last thing on Natalie's mind the night of her disappearance from the yacht was a boat chore! 

I know what everyone is waiting to hear. Please bear with me for a few short weeks.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Natalie liked boats

Natalie Wood liked boats, and loved boating. The Splendour was a perfect haven for social get-aways for her. As she once explained in an interview, she liked being "near the water, and around the water, but just not IN the water."  Here she is with RJ, appearing to be getting ready for a jetski ride. I asked Dennis if he ever saw Natalie on a jetski. He laughed and said, "Yes, on deck, but NEVER in the ocean."  Actually, it's a shame that Natalie did not become more familiar with being in the ocean...some experience might have made the difference in  her survival chances come daylight Nov. 29, 1981. Then again, how could she ever have imagined she would end up in the ocean in the middle of the night after an argument she felt justified in dealing with immediately?

Note: I am not sure when or where these photos were taken.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Officially, Happy Mother's Day

These photos are reminders of how precious life and time are. The girls in these photos lost their mother at tender ages.

On this Mother's Day, I wish all mothers a wonderful day, and for all who've lost their mothers, I hope all memories brighten your day. The nicest and most meaningful gift any mom will receive today are the words, "Happy Mother's Day, I love you." 

The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new. ~Rajneesh

She never quite leaves her children at home, even when she doesn't take them along. ~Margaret Culkin Banning

A daughter is a mother's gender partner, her closest ally in the family confederacy, an extension of her self. And mothers are their daughters' role model, their biological and emotional road map, the arbiter of all their relationships. ~Victoria Secunda

The desolation and terror of, for the first time, realizing that the mother can lose you, or you her, and your own abysmal loneliness and helplessness without her. ~Francis Thompson

Most of all the other beautiful things in life come by twos and threes, by dozens and hundreds. Plenty of roses, stars, sunsets, rainbows, brothers and sisters, aunts and cousins, comrades and friends - but only one mother in the whole world. ~Kate Douglas Wiggin

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Jil Caplan - Nathalie Wood

A devoted Natalie Wood fan from France emailed me this video with hopes
we will soon be able to make a difference in the closed Natalie Wood case.

He reminded me of the line in West Side Story: "today, all day I had the feeling a miracle would happen... I know now I was right."

He wished me and all blog followers the best, and also presented this French tribute to Natalie, saying it's probably the only eponymous song in the world dedicated to Natalie Wood.


He says the song was released in the 90's; "it was a great hit in France and it really helped introduce Natalie to the young folks. The song is not really about her life; it's more about someone comforting a girlfriend who's having a bad time and who identifies herself with Natalie Wood. This is a rough translation of the chorus:
"and you watch Natalie Wood... and you watch Natalie Wood...in Splendor in the Grass...In a game there's always a loser, but you don't really look like her, even if you have this liking for despair deep inside, just like Natalie Wood... like Natalie Wood..."

I thank him for sharing, and for caring. Natalie was adored around the world and when I had
said many times that her death sent shockwaves around the world, it is a literal comment.

A variety of photos in honor of Mother's Day

Marti Rulli with son Matt (Oct. 1981)

Lana Wood w/daughter Evan

Natalie Wood with her two daughters


Natalie Wood w/daughter Natasha

Marti Rulli w/daughter Jeannine 1979

The Wagner family

Marti Rulli with granddaughter Jessica, Boardwalk Photo Booth 1989

Natalie Wood with baby Natasha, Mother (Mud) sister Olga & husband

Happy Mother's Day, One and All!!!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Mothers and Daughters

Marti Rulli with daughter Jeannine (Born June 10, 1974)

Natalie Wood with daughter Courtney (Born March 9, 1974)
Natalie Wood and I were pregnant the same year and each gave birth to daughters the same year in 1974.

Both of these photos were taken around the time Dennis had just started working for the Wagner family. I was thrilled for him, and immediately started asking many questions about my favorite actress, Natalie Wood. Dennis told me Natalie was so happy with her baby daughter, Courtney, and commented that she was truly a dedicated and loving mother. I related: I was the same way with my daughter (and all of my children, as Natalie was with hers).

The above photo of me is with my daughter on her first birthday, and the photo below of Natalie with young daughter Courtney tells a fundamental story: a loving mother is a loving mother, circling around the world.

Often, fanhood gets in the way for some people to realize that celberities are basic human beings, too. They experience all of life the same way everyday people experience life. Their bank accounts may be extra padded, but they are real people! They are not the characters they play. I hope I portrayed that specialness about Natalie in Goodbye Natalie because she was truly down to earth considering the mega, iconic star she was (and remains).

Some celebrities get caught up in their own make-believe world when acting, or become so full of themselves they believe they deserve to be classified as special. The true greats always understood better. Natalie always did. Her home and family meant more to her than anything else on earth. Image and fame were not her priorities. Her daughters came first. It's terribly sad she was unable to raise them to womanhood.


Happy Mother's Day Weekend (My Three Kids)

I've been looking through old slides (I used to love taking slide photographs with a 35mm camera in the 70's) and came across this adorable photo of my three kids when they were very young. This photo is from 1976. I had sent a copy of this particular photo to Dennis in California when he worked for the Wagners. He told me he had showed it to Natalie and she commented on what an adorable photo it is. Dennis and I always stayed in touch while he worked for the Wagners, and I remember him telling me that if I brought the kids to L.A., we could all make a trip to Knotts Berry Farm along with Natalie's daughters. I wish I had made that trip but I never did.

From left to right: Billy (7), Jeannine (almost 2), and Matt (almost 4). They are all older now with children of their own.  I am so grateful that I have had my life to grow with them, enjoy them, and to be a part of their childrens' lives. That is something Natalie Wood was robbed of. No one deserves to be robbed of the opportunity to grow with and to enjoy your children.

To ALL mothers out there, I wish you a wonderful Mother's Day weekend... Yes, it's a WEEKEND...you shouldn't be cooking from today until Monday :-) 

Enjoy family....even Natalie Wood knew it's the most important thing in life!

Thursday, May 5, 2011


Almost thirty years after leaving us, she still takes your breath away.
(Thank you, V, for this beautiful video)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A Rob Lowe anecdote about Robert Wagner

Robert Wagner | BwgS


The following is from the above link:

Rob Lowe ‘s memoir, ‘Stories I Only Tell My Friends,’ has just pop out and people trying to get the within dirt on that infamous sex video could be sorely disappointed. Instead they are going to be thoroughly moved by Lowe’s incredible tales about his life and career. Just like the time he said goodbye to Robert Wagner, Cary Grant and Prince Rainier of Monaco at a charity dinner only to overhear Wagner tell the others, “Ya know, guys, I suspect that kid’s banged each one of our daughters.”

Call me a prude, but for a father to make such a statement, trying to be humorous at the expense of his daughters, is lewd AND crude and totally classless. His daughters had to be young at the time because  when you consider that Cary Grant died in 1986, that makes Natasha 16 at the time...probably younger at the time of this party. Even if he was talking about Katie, it shows the lack of character and class this man has. This statement is an accurate example of the insensitivity this man maintains. His comment is not only insensitive to his own daughters, but also to Lowe, but who no doubt thought it was funny, but to each his own, I suppose.

Natalie would NEVER had made such a comment about her cherished daughters. Never.


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Central Park 1992

Marti Rulli and Dennis Davern, NYC July 1992
This photo of me and Dennis was taken late at night in a horse drawn carriage in Central Park, NYC. We had spent the day visiting five publishers, and sat in executive offices in the publishing houses and not one of the company presidents we met that day disbelieved Dennis's account of  the 1981 Thanksgiving weekend  when Natalie Wood drowned. 

Each publisher kept us for at least an hour, asking important questions, and we answered each one honestly. One warned us that "word was out that we were in the city promoting an untouchable story." I asked why GNGS was untouchable and I learned about "affiliates" that day. For instance, if a certain TV Network had an interest in that particular publishing house, or with another of its affiliates, a book option would eventually be shot down. We were told by another publisher that although it's one of the most fascinating stories he'd heard in years, that we should take our information to our graves with us. Another told us that although it was an intriguing story, and one that deserves recognition, lawsuits would tie it up for years. He admitted that he had already been "warned" to stay away from it. Dennis and I were very green but perceptive as well. We knew no one would have the courage to publish GNGS at that time. Even after we clinked glasses that very evening with editors from St. Martin's Press, agreeing on a projected publishing date, we knew we would face all of the obstacles the other four publishers had warned us of that day. 

One publishing president said something I will never forget. After being upfront about not being able to touch the story, he looked at me and said, "You and Dennis should never go at this dark story separately. The strength he draws from you is obvious, and the trust you put in him is essential. It's the ONLY combination that will ever bring you success in getting this important story told. I wish you both the best."

Dennis and I agreed to shelve GNGS that night. We realized we would not hear back from St. Martin's (and we didn't). So, we decided to do something special. Of all the visits I had made to New York City, even though there had been opportunities, I had never ridden in a horse drawn carriage. That night, Bob, Dennis and I dined at the St. Moritz (where we stayed), and we shared a bottle of champagne and a bottle of wine. We basically said "goodbye" to GNGS, and we had a fun evening just catching up and conversing. When we walked out of the restaurant into the July night, warm but oddly a tad chilly, we all decided to take our first carriage ride through Central Park together. 

The buggy driver was friendly and he took us on an extra long ride, as he told stories about his family. It was dark and we could barely see 10 feet beyond the carriage. The clicking of the horse's shoes on the pavement created a rhythm and Dennis jokingly asked me to sing a song. My singing voice is fair, if that, but I started singing "Prove it All Night" by Bruce Springsteen (as it went with the clicking). The carriage driver kept saying, "That sounds great!" (It wasn't)  About half way through the song, a drunken man's voice came loud as anything from the dark bushes on the sidelines and he screamed out, "Wow, girl, that sound's really great!" 

We laughed so hard all the way back to the hotel that we had to wait to enter the hotel foyer.
Yes, it's one of those "you had to be there" moments, but it's a wonderful memory that makes me laugh to this day. Tonight, I happened across this photo that Bob took of me and Den in the carriage that night. I will also never forget what Dennis said to me before we parted ways that night: "Marti, tonight reminded me of one of the fun nights me, RJ, and Natalie used to have on the private outings. It felt good to laugh like that again..." 

I didn't see Dennis for a year after the night in Central Park. He visited my home the next July in 1993 with the woman he married, lovely Ellen. After that night, Dennis and I moved on with our separate lives and didn't see each other for over five years. He visited with his wife, daughter, and son, for the Thanksgiving weekend of 1998. We talked about what a shame it was that Natalie seemed destined to not receive her due justice. We knew it was up to us, but the effort seemed hopeless. But, Thanksgiving always, always reminds Dennis and me of what Natalie deserved, and it was that weekend of 1998 when I transferred the previous GNGS manuscript to a new computer and made a vow to do my best to tell the story Natalie would never be able to tell: to give Natalie a voice through Dennis's account.

Dennis was so much more than hired help for the Wagners. They offered him Splendour as his home. They invited him to their family parties and barbecues. He had an anytime-open-door-welcome at the Wagner home. He was Natalie's confidant on private outings, her partner in fun for goofing around on playful outings, and an assistant who would do anything for her. Dennis was a close, trusted family friend, an "Uncle Dennis" to Natalie's daughters. Dennis is the man who slept in Natalie Wood's final bed with her, as her friend and "protector" -- Dennis went to dinner with RJ, Natalie and Christopher Walken because Dennis was considered a friend, not an employee. Dennis loved Natalie Wood as a dear friend. 

I know how Natalie felt having Dennis as a friend. I know because I have such a close friendship with Dennis myself. I know what Natalie saw in him, what about him would have made her smile, made her upset, or what made her enjoy Dennis's company. He's a lucky man to have had such a close friendship with thee Natalie Wood!  But Natalie was also fortunate to have had such a caring friend in Dennis.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Historic! Osama bin Laden is DEAD!

Sometimes we have strange (but true) connections to events. It varies in degrees, but I came awful close to being a murdered victim of the maniac America hunted for near a decade. Even more bizarre is the fact that it was something I was planning to do for Natalie Wood that brought me close to a tragic end from this evil man's plan.

Tonight regularly scheduled programs were interrupted to announce that President Obama was going to address the nation from the White House to talk about something about national security. At first, it was a bit frightening, as all wondered what could possibly warrant such a rare thing. In my home, several of us sat guessing at what the announcement could be. I guessed it right before the news broke that the USA had Osama bin Laden's body. We had finally caught and killed the monster that was behind killing so many of our own.

I have mentioned here before that I wrote a manuscript about the 9/11 tragedy. What had compelled me to do so was because I had been booked to fly out of Newark Airport to California on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001. That flight turned out to be Flight 93, the plane that went down in Shanksville, PA. Dennis and I had agreed to interview aboard the Splendour in Hawaii for Inside Edition that year. After a disagreement with the producer (which is mentioned in GNGS), we canceled the interview and trip. Suzanne Finstad's book had just been released and we had looked forward to the interview, but thank goodness we changed our minds, or I would not have been around to finish Goodbye Natalie (and my family would have lost me).  I would have perished with a group of heroes, but I still have nightmares about how close I came to tragedy. In the occasional dream, I'm looking down the aisle of the plane, wondering what's going on, while terrorists are telling people to stay quiet.

Well, we all know what happened to those brave souls who technically are the first to have fought back against terrorism that morning.

After canceling the flight, I agreed to go to Manhattan that Tuesday instead, with Alicia, the editor of the magazine I worked for. We had talked about having breakfast at the top of the tower at 8:30 am. My gas pedal acted up that morning so I canceled the trip to New York, too. Alicia canceled, too, because I couldn't go. Thank goodness we were home and safe instead of in the city that tragic day, possibly in the tower at the exact moment the planes plowed into them.

It was too much to think about, my two misses, so I devoted a year to interviewing other near-misses and people who were in the midst of the tragedy, or affected by it (as we all were). It was a hard year. Our modern nation had never come together as we did in the aftermath of that tragic day. Now, 10 years later, we also have never been so separated. Having "blue" and "red" states and all the other nonsense we've witnessed does not exemplify a united nation.

Tonight, people are cheering in the streets of New York City and in Washington D.C., and probably in other USA cities as well. The Pakistanians had danced in the streets and passed around candy the day America was attacked. Pakistan is where bin Laden was killed. Poetic justice.
I am not sorry this maniac is dead. I am not sorry one bit.
I hope the surviving friends and family members of those who were killed on 9/11/01 feel at least a twinge of justice even though it took almost 10 years for this historic news.

America is our home. I wish for unity and peace, for always, but I realize how idealistic such a wish sounds.
In the meantime, and again, I am not sorry Osama bin Laden is DEAD.  I also admit that I hope he saw it coming, if even for but a moment.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Natalie Wood almost made it

Reopen Investigation of Natalie Wood's death Petition

420 people have "liked" the petition at Facebook, and 703 have signed. Thank you for all signatures.

In particular, I am impressed with a comment (signer #702), Mr. Bordeaux from France left at the petition. He makes an important point. Here's what he said:

When I was a kid, I wanted "to be in America" too, for Ms. Wood. She has represented your great country better than you can ever imagine. I think you owe her justice now. It's not about condemning so-and-so. First and foremost it's about restoring dignity to a truly remarkable woman who should have the right to tell her little girls that hangover and recklessness had NOTHING to do with her leaving them. If the word "compassion" means anything to you, please reopen this case. Thank you.  (end comment)

For those "out there" that consider "Goodbye Natalie Goodbye Splendour" a personal attack on Robert Wagner, they are wrong. What GNGS includes is Dennis Davern's polygraphed account of what he witnessed the weekend Natalie died. From his account, it's not difficult to "do the math" but primarily, GNGS was written with an intention to redeem dignity for Natalie Wood, and not as a trial and jury for Robert Wagner. That's the law's job that they failed miserably with in 1981 and refuse to recognize yet in 2011. Those with facts about that terrible weekend continued to be ignored byt the law. Hopefully, the petition will help the law to reconsider.

Thus, I really appreciate the above petition comment as this was recognized by someone across the globe. More and more people are recognizing that Natalie did not get drunk and fall off of her yacht. There was so much more involved that tragic evening almost 30 years ago.

Natalie Wood not only lived with dignity, she died with dignity, struggling to stay alive and calling for help from drowning. According to Coast Guard Captain, Roger Smith, she almost made it.