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Was Natalie Wood's death an "accident"?


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Initial post: Jan 14, 2013 5:19:32 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 14, 2013 5:28:45 PM PST
Michael Ary says:
Was Natalie Wood's death an "accident"?
Questions about several bruises on the body of actress NATALIE WOOD, whose body was found floating off Catalina Island in 1981, have recently led the Los Angeles County coroner's office to change the official cause of death from "accidental drowning" to "drowning and other undetermined factors."

The L. A. County Sheriff's Department now say the 30 year old case is open and ongoing.
On the night in question, actors Natalie Wood, Wood's husband actor Robert Wagner, and Christopher Walken were drinking on board the yacht owned by Wood and her husband, when a heated argument broke out between Wagner and Walken, and involving Wood. Wood and Wagner had invited Wood's "Brainstorm" co-star, Christopher Walken, to join them on the Thanksgiving weekend sail that preceded her death. By Wagner's own admission, the fight was over Wagner being jealous of Walken, and the supposed attention Wood had been giving him.

Although the county coroner's office had ruled that Wood's death was an accident, others said that that made no sense. Lana Wood, who was not on the boat, has stated that her sister (Natalie) "was not a swimmer and did not know how to swim, and she would never go to another boat or to shore dressed in a nightgown and socks," referring to theories that the actress may have voluntarily jumped from the boat", as had previously been stated.

Dennis Davern, the captain of the yacht, has now come forward and said he believes Wood's death was a direct result of a fight with Wagner. Yet, a department spokesman at the time said Wagner was not a suspect.

So, what do you think? Was Natalie Woods death an accident as initially determined? Or, in light of this new evidence do you think Robert Wagner killed his wife Natalie Wood in a jealous rage? Or, do you think it may have been done by one of the two other people on board-- actor Christopher Walken, Natalie's paramour co-star in the movie "Brainstorm" or, for whatever reason, the captain, Dennis Davern?

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 14, 2013 7:43:57 PM PST
Michael-Ive felt from day 1 that Robert Wagner was guilty of killing Natalie Wood. Sadly, money, power and fame overcame justice in this case.

Posted on Jan 14, 2013 9:04:59 PM PST
S. Stalcup says:
I believe all on board honestly thought she was doing the laundry. Well, they saw her going out with the Tide [sic].

I'm sorry. That's a very bad, very old joke.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 14, 2013 9:29:04 PM PST
G. Garner says:
Trouble is, if he pushed her off the boat YESTERDAY, it'd be tough to prove. Much less 30 years ago.

Posted on Jan 15, 2013 7:11:45 AM PST
D. Larson says:
Why would the "murderer" have to be someone on the boat? It's dark, middle of the night, why couldn't a Zodiac-type boat have crept alongside, boarded a pirate/terrorist/hitman/psycho killer or two, tossed Natalie over the side, and stealthily disappeared into the inky shadows? Maybe Natalie suprised them while they were searching for what they'd really come for, the Captain's secret treasure map!

Posted on Jan 15, 2013 8:30:21 AM PST
Was it an accident?

Yes.

Why bother rehashing it now?

Posted on Jan 15, 2013 12:47:09 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 15, 2013 12:52:12 PM PST
Hikari says:
Best case scenario for Robert Wagner:
A drunken, drama-queen Natalie lost her balance on deck and fell into the water, hitting her head on the way down. Her body was legitimately not discovered by anyone onboard until too late, making this a tragic, if stupid and preventable death by misadventure. This is the story he and Christopher Walken (and until very recently, the captain) have been telling for 30 years.

More sinister possibilities:
1. A drunk and enraged RJ, known for his volcanic temper, snapped and after shaking his wife like a rag-doll and slapping her around in a fit of jealousy over an alleged affair with the 30-year-old Walken, threw her into the ocean, and she struck her head on the way down. Though he only meant to scare her, she drifted too far in the dark and he couldn't retrieve her in time, even with assistance from those others aboard.
2. A drunk and enraged RJ snapped and threw his wife overboard in a fit of jealousy over a suspected affair with Walken, after roughing her up, knowing that she couldn't swim and was terrified of the water. He had no intention of retrieving her and did not notify anyone on board for assistance on purpose. This would be second-degree murder, at best. The question of premeditation comes into play if Natalie were in the water for a quarter of an hour or more calling for help, as reports from a nearby vessel suggest.

Though I have no desire to blame the victim here, it was Natalie's idea to have Chris Walken aboard that weekend. She never imagined this particular outcome but she had to know that it could not end well, playing two men off one another like that to wind them up. She was well aware of her husband's tendencies, but apparently she did not care how having a rival aboard would make him feel. For Walken's part, one wonders why he wasn't home with his own wife (whom he'd married in 1969) on Thanksgiving weekend rather than on the unhappy party boat off Catalina with a real-life version of the couple from Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

If it counts for anything, I do believe Chris Walken is innocent of any wrongdoing against Ms. Wood and any knowledge he had was too long after the fact to save her.

I bet Chris has wished every day since that fateful weekend that he hadn't accepted that invitation and could have been anywhere else.

I do not know to what degree Robert Wagner is culpable for the death of his wife. I can honestly say the only thing I want him to be guilty of is having too much to drink and letting his wife drink too much. All the rest can only be speculation. But he cannot escape the cloud. He was there. He was very drunk. He was very angry. There are multiple witnesses on shore that will attest to how drunk and how ugly the mood was among the party. He is in the frame, but only God, and two, possibly three, people, only two now living, know what really happened.
P.S. to Mr. Smith--Apparently the Catalina-area coroner feels there is sufficient cause to rehash this case.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2013 6:15:29 PM PST
Without Hercule Poirot, no matter how many times they try to open this case (like with Marilyn Monroe), this is a hazy, unclear picture that will stay so. If Wagner really is culpable, one can only hope that curse follows him forever. If it was instrumental in killing the Hollywood career that never materialised afterwards (or even before?), he has only himself to blame again, whereas Christopher Walken has gone to star in many interesting vehicles ever since, and continues to do so.

A wonder Wagner never went for him-perhaps another rather definitive hint of the trait of a pure coward. When I see Wagner's cameo in trashy but fun sex-thriller 'Wild Things' sitting in court with a pirate's eye patch (but as a family member of a witness), I can never stop thinking to myself that it's the closest he'll ever to a complete verdict.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2013 7:32:56 PM PST
G. Garner says:
The interesting thing about the Natalie Wood mystery is how sharply it serves to distinguish between celebrity culture then as opposed to now.

All 3 major participants-Wagner, Wood, and Walken-were celebrities because their profession placed them in the public eye.

What a quaint, antiquated notion.

Think about it: whoever wins the Oscar this year, he won't be as recognizable to the general public as that midget on tv who walks on crutches and runs the pumpkin farm.

Today, our 'celebrities' consist of morbidly obese people, ignorant rednecks hauling rotten wood out of rivers, cripples and deformed people, teen albinos, cheap little girls, spoiled housewives, dog ugly trailer park trash dragging toddlers to 'beauty' pageants...........

I'm not really sure why anybody WANTS to be famous these days. If ANYBODY can do it, what's the point?

Posted on Jan 16, 2013 7:35:54 AM PST
D. Larson says:
Every time this "mystery" resurfaces as a topic of speculation, it's a pretty good bet that some writer has just cranked out another book about the "Real Truth of the Party Boat".

And that some publicist is busy salting the mine with factoids and suspicious bruises. I think it's time to exhume the body and look for obscure and sinister poisons, myself. And find the original boat and stage a "re-creation" of the murder.

Drunk people fall off boats and drown four or five times a year on Lake Minnetonka, but nodoby writes books about them, I mean.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 16, 2013 7:54:51 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 16, 2013 7:55:34 AM PST
Hikari says:
But then, you don't have celebrities drowning as a rule on Lake Minnetonka.

Alcohol and water certainly do not mix, particularly in large quantities of either.

Natalie's cause of death is not in dispute but the manner in which she came to be in the water on that fateful night will continue to be a mystery. That there was plenty of ill feeling and negligence aboard is obvious--but homicide? Impossible to prove.

The captain, who came out of the woodwork last year to promote his book of 'what really happened', after ostensibly lying for the last 30 years, is not a trustworthy source. It was the Wagners' boat, but he was the captain, and therefore is equally culpable for everything that happened aboard.

I had just started high school when it happened, and I remember the shock of the news. I don't think anything further will come of this 'reopened' investigation and it will stay an accidental drowning.

Posted on Jan 16, 2013 5:20:24 PM PST
I think the government invented the Natalie Wood conspiracy theory to distract us from UFOs and the Kennedy assassinations.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 17, 2013 7:05:21 AM PST
D. Larson says:
Unless Wood was really abducted by the UFO visitors who actually did the Kennedy assassinations?

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 17, 2013 10:56:25 AM PST
Hikari says:
The plot thickens . . .

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 31, 2013 5:42:09 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Mar 31, 2013 5:45:06 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 31, 2013 5:50:19 AM PDT
I am just now publishing a new book entitled Drowning and Other Undetermined Factors The Death of Natalie Wood. By tomorrow - 31st March - which just happens to be Christopher Walken's 70th birthday - it is already the 31st here in Australia - the book will be for sale, but it will take some time to appear on Amazon. It has 91 (A4 sized) pages, all pages have colour illustrations of my own design as well as photographs. The softcover version will be available in about 6-8weeks from Amazon.
Best regards, Pamela Valemont
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Discussion in:  Movie forum
Participants:  10
Total posts:  16
Initial post:  Jan 14, 2013
Latest post:  Mar 31, 2013

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