Natalie Wood Death: New Audio Recordings Indicate Robert Wagner's Involvement
September 14, 2012
The mystery behind the death of Hollywood star Natalie Wood continues to unfold.
On November 29, 1981, the actress, husband Robert Wagner and Christopher Walken boarded a boat off the coast of Catalina Island, in California. Wood was famously found drowned in the water the next morning; the death was ruled as an accidental drowning.
Now never-before-heard audiotapes of Lana Wood discussing her sister's drowning have been obtained by CBS News. Biographer Suzanne Finstad collected the recordings as part of research for her 2001 book, "Natasha: The Biography of Natalie Wood." In the recordings, Lana says that boat captain Dennis Davern had called her while in a state of intoxication and claimed that Wagner had not helped Wood after he had accidentally pushed his wife overboard. Wagner is referred to in the recording as "RJ."
"He said it appeared to him as though RJ shoved her away and she went overboard. Dennis panicked and RJ said, 'Leave her there. Teach her a lesson.' Dennis said he was very panicky that he was sitting and RJ just kept drinking and drinking. And he'd say, 'Come on, let's get her.' And he said RJ was in such a roil mood, at the point, that he then shut up and was waiting for when, when are they gonna go to her rescue, until all the sound stopped."
The statement mirrors what Davern would claim at least 10 years later. In November 2011, the police reopened the investigation of Wood's death. The same month, a somber Davern appeared on the "Today Show" and publicly declared Wagner responsible for Wood's death.
"We didn't take any steps to see if we could locate her. I think it was a matter of, 'We're not going to look too hard, we're not going to turn on the searchlight, we're not going to notify anybody right now,'" he said.
In August 2012, the Los Angeles County coroner amended the late actress's death certificate from accidental drowning to "drowning and other undetermined factors."
For more, click through to CBS News.
From: "Yacht captain blames Robert Wagner for Natalie Wood's death," Los Angeles Times, November 18, 2011:
... Wagner said the evidence suggests "she had slipped and rolled into the water, which makes a lot of sense because the boat — when they found it, it hadn't been started and the oars were all in the same position. There was no evidence that she tried to get in it."]
She had been boating with Wagner and her "Brainstorm" costar Christopher Walken near Catalina Island when she drowned.
"I made some terrible decisions and mistakes," Davern told NBC News' David Gregory. "I did lie on a report several years ago." He added, "I made mistakes by not telling the honest truth in a police report." ...
“Was the fight between Natalie Wood and her husband Robert Wagner what ultimately led to her death?” the "Today" show's Gregory asked.
“Yes,” Davern replied.
“Like I said, that's going to be up to the investigators to decide,” the captain said.
Davern said he believes Wagner had intentionally kept the investigation into Wood's death low-profile and didn't do everything he could have done. When Gregory pressed Davern for supporting details, the captain said that was the duty of investigators. ...