This week’s sensational allegations about the circumstances surrounding the 1981 death of actress Natalie Wood are not the first time the National Enquirer has trolled this territory. (And if you read the details carefully, the lifeguard log in question is far less shocking than the headlines suggest.)
In December 2011, the tabloid published the same basic “sex secret” allegations. And way back in 1983, a reporter working for the publication used dirty tricks to try and get something out of Splendour captain Dennis Davern.
What is new and credible is the revised Robert Wagner context. Thanks to the tireless efforts of New Jersey-based author Marti Rulli, there have been recently some other more authoritative revelations that have put the screws to the still-handsome actor. Rulli’s 2009 book Goodbye Natalie, Goodbye Splendour and related documents submitted to the LA County Sheriff’s Department in the fall of 2011 are directly responsible for all the news today that is fit (and not fit) to print.
FishbowlLA thought it was worth getting Rulli’s latest thoughts on the ongoing, re-opened LASD investigation. She was kind enough to give us the following exclusive statement via email:
“Innuendo that Robert Wagner and Chris Walken were caught in a sexual act by Natalie the night she died has resurfaced. Fact is, Wagner was jealous of Walken and accused him of wanting to bed his wife and that’s the factual account of what caused a huge argument between Wood and Wagner that led to her death.”
“The homicide detectives investigating Wood’s death have good reason to believe former captain Dennis Davern’s account: not only does Davern’s account make sense, Davern has cooperated fully with the department.”
“When the case was reopened, the LASD did not name Wagner a suspect immediately because they trusted his statement that he welcomed the new investigation, and they gave him the opportunity to come forward.He did not. The department had to chase him. Fact is, Wagner has continually refused to cooperate with the new investigation. Natalie Wood’s daughters have also refused, which intensifies suspicion about Wagner’s motives.”
“Wagner, since the release of Natalie’s autopsy review results, has hired a criminal defense attorney, Blair Berk, who claims publicly Wagner had cooperated with authorities since his wife died – a statement which is true, but very misleading. Wagner was interviewed a few brief times in the initial 1981 investigation, but has not cooperated with the new investigation.”
“He publicly claims he has “fielded questions for 30 years and can add nothing new” which is also misleading. Wagner has dodged questions for 30 years, but can add something new: he can explain to the authorities about the argument he admitted to in his book which transpired just before Natalie was no longer aboard their yacht which is the argument he never mentioned in the initial investigation.The detectives would like to hear his version.”
“Over 100 people have been interviewed in the new investigation, but Wagner is not one of them because he refuses, which I think is because he knows he’s the only suspect at this point. Even Walken at least talked with the detectives. New information from Wood’s autopsy review claims her bruises likely occurred on the yacht and not while in the water, plus other telling scientific details suggest she was not alive while in the water. This type of medical information, I’m sure, has the LASD thinking what I’ve suspected all along: Wagner is the number one and only suspect in Wood’s death.”