Celebrity deaths have continued to fascinate the world for decades. The death of Natalie Wood has continued to be a mystery to the world and it may never be solved. There are so many different accounts of that night and so it’s hard to tell who is lying, who is telling the truth and who can be trusted. Here are some facts about the fateful night of Natalie Wood’s death that will have you questioning what REALLY happened that night.
Natalie Wood was a 43 year old mother and famous actress who had been married to her two-timed husband, Robert Wagner, 51. Like many actors in Los Angeles, they decided to anchor off to Cantina with friends on their yacht named The Splendour. On November 29th, 1981, she disappeared from the boat into the dark water below. Hours later, her body was found floating about a mile away from the yacht. At the time, her death was ruled as an accident, but in 2011, after the case was reopened by the Los Angeles Police Department, her death certificate was changed to “drowning and other undetermined factors”.
Why Her Death Is In The News AGAIN
In February 2018, it was confirmed that there was substantial information regarding the case that caused them to re-open it. Police claim that new witnesses might have given statements that “portray a new sequence of events on the boat that night.”
Who Was On The Yacht That Night?
Wood: Natalie Wood was an american actress. She began acting in films before the age of five, by starring in the beloved Christmas film, Miracle on 34th Street and continued acting into adulthood. She received three Academy Award nominations before she turned 25 years old. Wagner: Wagner was a charming man known throughout Hollywood when he married Wood in 1957, when she was in her late teens and he was in his mid-20s. Their first marriage to each other only lasted about five years, until they remarried in 1972 and stayed married up until the fateful night. Walken: Walken had Co-starred in a film with Wood, and was a guest to the Wagner’s yacht that night. Davern: Davern was the boat captain, and had also been a drinking companion to the group the night of Natalie’s death.
About Natalie Wood
Natalie Wood was born Natalia Nikolaevna Zakharenko, on July 20th, 1938, in San Fransisco California. In fact it was a studio executive who had decided to change her name to Wood, after his friend, Sam Wood. Natalie later recalled that she “didn’t mind Natalie, but hated ‘Wood’” she would explain by saying that “it didn’t suggest a nice image.” Wood was a controversial women with her 6” stilettos and low cut tops. She also favored flashy jewelry and heavy makeup, which in turn earned her a spot on “Hollywood’s Worst Dressed” list. She would famously say, “I’m Natalie Wood, and this is how I look when I go out.”
Natalie’s Dating History
As far as publicity goes, Natalie knew how to stir things up in the media. She had numerous affairs with big name celebrities at the time including Dennis Hopper, and Conrad Hilton’s son, Nicky. She had also been romantically linked to Elvis earlier on in her career. In fact, it is said that Elvis was so charmed by her that he invited her to memphis to meet his parents. Wood met Robert Wagner when she was 17, and they married a year later. When Wood and Wagner split, she began dating Warren Beatty, but their relationship would soon end in a very embellished, Hollywood way. While the couple was dining at a restaurant, Beatty left to take a phone call. The restaurant manager had to break the news to Woods that he did not intend on coming back and that he had talked the hat-check girl into leaving with him. Woods married British writer and producer Richard Gregson, in 1969, but when their marriage ended in 1972, she re-married Wagner that same year.
World’s Reaction To Her Death
At the time it was agreed that Wood’s death that occurred at the peak of her success, fame, and beauty was a tragedy. After her death, there was a feverish debate amongst people in Hollywood and in the media. Many people had claimed that it was an accident, while on the other hand, there were those who believed she had been murdered.
Natalie Suffered From Aquaphobia
The actress had a deep fear of water, and is even recorded telling a reporter a week before her death that she was “afraid of water that is dark.” This is suspicious seeing as the theory of Wood’s death involves her slipping trying to tie a dinghy to the yacht she was on. There was plenty a time when her fear of water inhibited her acting career as well. While filming Splendor In The Grass there was an important scene that takes place at a reservoir, and she asked the director if the scene could instead be filmed in a tank within the studio. The director declined her request, seeing as the water was shallow enough that her feet could touch the bottom at all times. As a professional, Wood obliged, but once the scene was shot, she leapt from the water and shivered out of fear.
The LA Coroner Changed Wood’s Cause of Death 30 Years Later
In 1981, Natalie Wood’s death was ruled as a drowning, only for it to change in 2013 after a 10-page addendum was released concerning her biopsy. In 1981 the biopsy reported that the bruises found on Wood’s face, arms and ankles were from the actress trying to climb back onto the yacht after being overboard. When the case was re-opened in 2011, the NEW coroner claimed that the bruises were caused BEFORE she had been thrown into the water.
Wagner Was Finally Named A Person Of Interest
In February 2018, an intriguing development in Natalie Wood’s murder was released. Investigators from the Los Angeles police department named Robert Wagner as a person of interest and stated that they would like to speak to him again about that night in 1981.
The Coast Guard Delay
According to the report written by the coroner, Wood’s stomach contained 500 cc of partially digested food, meaning her time of death can be put around midnight. That night, Wood is said to have went missing around 11:05 PM, and yet a ship-to-shore call was placed much later at around 1:30 AM, and it was 3:30 AM when the coast guard was notified. The delay in notifying assistance is what causes speculation about whether there was foul play involved.
Everyone, Including Wood Was Intoxicated That Night
The night manager of the restaurant where Wood, Wagner, Walken, and Davern were that night claims that he was concerned that the group was too intoxicated after multiple bottles of champagne to make it back to the yacht safely. The manager was so concerned in fact, that he asked a member of Harbor Control to make sure they made it back. After the toxicology report came back, it was revealed that Wood had a blood alcohol content level of 0.14 percent, along with motion sickness medication and painkillers.
A Witness Was Ignored By Authorities
A retired stockbroker who’s boat was anchored to The Splendour said she received a death threat three days after Natalie Wood’s death after coming forward to say that she heard somebody cry out for help around midnight. She insisted that she tried to contact the Harbor control, but there was no response. She then called out to the local sheriff who told her that a helicopter would be sent to the scene.
Walker vs. Wagner
Dennis Davern, the ship captain, said that he heard Wagner shout to Walker “Do you want to F*** my wife?”, apparently moments before Wood fell overboard. Wagner stated that the fight between the two became unruly and so Wood left to go to bed. According to Wagner, him and Walken moved to the deck to be “refeshed by the ocean air” before the argument became physical.
The Yacht Captain Saw Everything
In 2013, Dennis Davern revealed that he had initially lied to the police in his original claim. He now states that Wagner was the cause of Wood’s death. Natalie’s sister, Lana Wood, told authorities that Davern drunkenly called her one night to admit that Wagner had played a hand in Natalie’s murder.
Wood And Walken
It was said that Wood had a serious infatuation with Walken, and that the two even had an affair. They had starred together in the 1983 thriller Brainstorm, where Wood became obsessed with Walken and would openly flirt with him. Lana Wood, also claimed that her sister had a weird obsession with Walken, writing in her book Natalie: A Memoir For My Sister that “I don’t know if Natalie’s with Chris was imaginary or real, though my strong suspicion is that it was all in her mind and that perhaps she was only wishing it to be so.”
Taking Off Her Jacket Could Have Saved Her Life
When Wood’s body was found a mile south of her yacht, she had been wearing a nightgown, knee-length wool socks, and a down-filled jacket. After 24 hours, her clothes were still wet, and it was estimated the wet jacket had been between 30-40 pounds. It is believed that it is the weight of the jacket that caused Wood’s demise. Since the actress had a high blood alcohol content level, her reasoning could have been affected. There is a chance that had she not been drinking, she would have realized to take off her jacket in order to stay afloat and possibly survive.
Wood And Wagner Had Fought
Davern told investigators that after dinner, the group had gone back to the yacht to continue drinking heavily. At one point, he says that Wagner simply picked up a glass bottle, and smashed it on the table, causing glass to go everywhere. Davern then says that Walken and Woods went back to their separate rooms, only to have Wagner follow Woods into the bedroom where he could hear them arguing. Davern claims that he heard the dinghy being untied followed by Wagner appearing “tousled and sweaty, as though he had been in a terrible fight, an ordeal of some kind.” Davern then told investigators that the two men continued to drink together until 1:30 AM, when Wagner went to go check on Woods and realized that she was missing. Although the testimony contradicts what Davern later claimed happened, the basic story is still the same. Wood and Wagner had had a huge fight the night of her death, he drove her away and turned his back on her to continue drinking that night. Of course, since the entire group had been impaired on alcohol and perhaps drugs, it’s hard to trust the said accounts of what happened that night.
Walken Was Tight Lipped About The Incident
Walken kept completely silent about Wood’s death until two years after it happened. When he finally did speak, it was in an effort to stop speculation. He told reporters that “the people who are convinced that there was something more to it than what came out in the investigation will never be satisfied with the truth. Because the truth is, there is nothing more to it. It was an accident.”
Wagner has insisted Her Death Was An Accident
Wagner once wrote in relation to Natalie’s death that the theories were ““all conjecture. Nobody knows. There are only two possibilities: either she was trying to get away from the argument, or she was trying to tie the dinghy. But the bottom line is that nobody knows exactly what happened.” Over the years, Wagner has recounted the details on Natalie’s death several times. Wagner is quoted saying that “the last time I saw my wife she was fixing her hair in the bathroom while I was arguing with Chris (Walken). I saw her shut the door.”
The Public Will Never Really Know What Happened