Natalie Wood, Robert Wagner And Dennis Davern As Lionel Stander: Cos When They Met It Was Murder (Allegedly)
NATALIE Wood, nee Natalia Nikolaevna Zakharenko, is back. Robert Wagner’s wife drowned on November 29 1981 when she fell off a yacht, Splendor, anchored off Santa Catalina island. It was night. She’d been drinking. It appeared that at some point she’d tried to tie a dinghy and accidentally tumbled into the briny.
Prince Valiant, the inflatable dinghy, washed washed up on the rocks on Catalina Island, Calif., on Nov. 30. Patrolmen discovered the actress’s body 100 yards away from the boat after a seven hour search.
The boat’s captain was Dennis Davern. In Marti Rulli’s mawkishly titled book Goodbye Natalie, Goodbye Splendour (published September 2009), Davern claims Wagner and Wood had rowed. He says the Hart To Hart actor had smashed a wine bottle after yelling “What do you want to do, fu*k my wife? Is that what you want?” at Christopher Walken, her co-star in Brainstorm. Davern says he heard “a loud argument and thumping sounds” from the couple’s room.
Davern goes on the telly:
“I made some terrible decisions and mistakes. I did lie on a report several years ago. I made mistakes by not telling the honest truth in a police report… 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 then points the finger at Wagner. He’s asked if Wagner was responsible for Ms Wood’s death. He replies:
“Yes, I would say so.”
And with that the LA County Sheriff’s department clicks it heels like Gene Kelly in a thunderstorm and screams “Boat Trip!” The Celebrity Police Force are on the case. With any luck one of them will get their own book and maybe – just maybe – Brad Pitt can play them in the film of the case.
“I’m not really the investigator here, and I’m far away from even thinking about profiting over a 30-year anniversary. I’ve known this information for many, many years and my book has been out for two years. I’m not in it for any kind of profit, I’m in it for the justice of the whole situation.”
Justice for what?
Robert Wagner’s people make a statment:
“Although no one in the Wagner family has heard from the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department about this matter, they fully support the efforts of the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department and trust they will evaluate whether any new information relating to the death of Natalie Wood Wagner is valid, and that it comes from a credible source or sources other than those simply trying to profit from the 30-year anniversary of her tragic death.”
That’s a statement more loaded that George Dubya Bush at a frat house wine and cheese party.
All we need now is cutaway shots of rich people in an island paradise, and someone who sounds like Lionel Stander to voice the action…’Cos When they met, it was…
FILE - In this 1980 file photo, actor Robert Wagner appears with actress Natalie Wood. Los Angeles sheriff's homicide detectives are taking another look at Wood's 1981 drowning death based on new information, officials announced Thursday, Nov. 17, 2011. A yacht captain said on national TV Friday, Nov. 18, 2011, that he lied to investigators about Natalie Wood's mysterious death 30 years ago and blames the actress' husband at the time, Wagner, for her drowning in the ocean off Southern California. (AP Photo, File)