Friday, September 30, 2011

Lana Wood Says Robert Wagner Killed Natalie Wood


One of the things I do enjoy about The Enquirer is they love bringing out the classic old school Hollywood stuff. In an interview they did with Lana Wood, who is Natalie Wood's sister and investigator Marti Rulli, the pair assert that Robert Wagner was responsible for Natalie Wood's death. I agree that this case has always seemed shady and convenient. For those of you who are too young to remember, Natalie Wood was A list. She was also married to Robert Wagner, who was also probably A list or close to it back when Natalie died. Natalie died on a yacht in the middle of the Pacific. On the yacht were the captain, Natalie, Robert Wagner and an actor you may have heard of named Christopher Walken. Christopher and Natalie had just finished making a movie together and Robert was jealous of Christopher. There was a fight the night Natalie died between Robert and Christopher. Wagner smashed a bottle of wine and Chris went to his room and Natalie to hers. Robert followed Natalie and the two began yelling and fighting. The fight moved out to the deck. The next thing you know, Natalie is overboard. Robert would not let the captain turn on the searchlights for Natalie and no one radioed anything in for two hours. Despite all of this, the police bought the story that Natalie was drunk and slipped and that it was an accident. Robert and Chris were not questioned at the scene and were allowed to helicopter home.

47 comments:

JoElla said...

OHHHHHHHHHHHHH SNAP!!

Rita said...

My parents used to talk about his all the time. It was back then, when you TOTALLY believed what actor and actresses told you about themselves. No NE, no tv hollywood shows, no internet, and certainly, no Enty!

I remember also hearing that Chris Walken was already crazy in an eerie sort of way.

msgirl said...

I had no idea that Walken was there! My husband met him in the 70s, worked in the Wooster St Theater group, and he's never said anything except how great that whole bunch was.

Yeah Natalie was HUGE, very big story back in the day. The masses were mourning her. I readily believe that Wagner threw her off.

Jenny said...

The shady character is Lana Wood. I wouldn't trust a word from her, especially a story sold to The Enquirer. She wasn't on board that night.

icywench said...

"For those of you who are too young to remember," Oy. Feeling so old right now.

MISCH said...

My mom talks about this, she could never get over the fact that Natalie was wearing a nightgown and a down jacket or vest....she never had a chance.

msgirl said...

icywench I feel your pain! But hey, we're older and wiser. Right? RIGHT????

JoElla said...

I remember when this actually did happen. They were not finished with the movie her and Chris were working on. It was Brainstorm. It is a good movie, and they had to work with the shots Nat did to finish. I bet if she didn't die, the movie would have been great.

It was 'rumored' her and Chris were in the middle of a torrid affair, the rumors were loud enough that even as a teenager, I was shocked they all took a boat trip together.

Robert and Natalie were kinda like Liz and Richard lite. On, off, married, divorced, married to others, and back together. Also I think at least one of the kids had some problems after this (it was the 80's who wasn't dabbling)

And Robert wrote an autobiography called "Pieces of my Heart" it was a total fluff piece and boardered on the size of self indulgent and cheezy.. but he does write about that night. Not alot but some. But it did make you question things..

Natalie was terrified of the water, so everyone to this day still wonder why she would 'take the dingy out late at night'.

This my friends is going to stirr up A LOT of gossip! And it isn't going to be pretty.

icywench said...

msgirl...RIGHT!!

Les Suckno said...

Natalie was banging Walken on the boat.

angie said...

@Joella..great recounting of the events! If I remember correctly, this "accident" occurred near Catalina Island about 20 miles off the coast of southern California and not somewhere in the middle of the pacific.

BigMama said...

I remember this. I remember my mother at the time saying "she was killed" and not believing the stories. I always did wonder.

Little Miss Smoke and Mirrors said...

I'm old enough to remember this and have speculated about what happened. That story pretty much matches what everyone thought at the time.... which one killed her, Walken or Wagner? It made sense that it was Wagner because if it was Walken, why would Wagner cover for him? It had to be the wronged spouse. Walken keeps quiet, and Wagner doesn't blow up Walken's life by revealing the affair. Back then, it *would* have been a massive scandal that Walken and Natalie Wood were sleeping together. We've been desensitized to it these days. Don't forget that Chris Walken has been married to one wife all these years.

RocketQueen said...

Thanks Joella - yeah, I recall that a dingy was missing from the boat, and of course all three were apparently blind drunk. I'd like to believe it was an accident.

lanasyogamama said...

Wow, how sad for her. :(

crila16 said...

Actually...supposedly Natalie and Robert got into the fight, and Natalie jumped into the dingy and said she was leaving. Robert cut the dingy loose and left her there over night, and in the morning, Natalie was no longer in the dingy.

Danielle said...

wow @crila I hadn't heard that one before.. pretty interesting and certainly seems plausible.
I can't even look at him, even as an old man, and not wonder, "Did he?".
I wanna hear Christopher Walken's side but he's never talked about it, right?

mngddess said...

The bottom line is, ANYTHING could have happened. I don't understand why Natalie would step onto a boat if she was terrified of the water. Why would Robert Wagner allow his wife's alleged lover to join them on a boat ride? If they were all stinking drunk it's perfectly valid to think she slipped and fell. It's also perfectly valid to think someone shoved her in an argument and fell over. Anyway, it LA. Celebrities get away with EVERYTHING.

JoElla said...

Right Danielle, Christopher never talked about it.

I really need to google this, but I think they were fighting and then passed out/ went to sleep and when they woke up she wasn't there.

I will reread the chapter in his book.. okay.. just a bit more.. I must finish up birthda shopping for little miss cranky pants.

in chapter 18 he does mention that he didn't have her full attention when he visited her on set.. and "the thought occured to me that she was being emotionally unfaithful"

Does anyone have this book handy? If so, can someone read chapter 19?

Cheryl said...

Read the captain's book. According to what's in the book, RJ dragged her across the deck and later saw her in the water but didn't do anything to help her. He doesn't SAY how she got into the water because he can't legally say because he didn't SEE it happen...

SusanB said...

I remember when this happened too. If what Lana says is true, just another example of celebrity justice in California.

Jeannies Bottle said...

I always thought it was RJ and Walken having the hookup and Natalie caught them and her and RJ fought about it. In an old biography about Natalie it stated that she and RJ split the first time cuz she caught him in bed with a man.

Danielle said...

hmm that's interesting @ Jeannies.. this article mentions him with another man (I'd never heard this before).
http://www.franksreelreviews.com/shorttakes/nataliewood/nataliewood.htm

Daveb said...

The explaination put forward by Wagner and supported by the coroner was the Natalie went to bed, was disturbed by the dingy banging against the side of the boat by her cabin, put on coat, went out to move the dingy, slipped into the water between the boat and the dingy and could not climb back due to the weight of the water sodden coat and her alcohol intake. Walken has never said anything publicly. There was a captain on the boat as well, who had worked for Wagner for years, and he initially said nothing publicly either. I believe both were interviewed by police at the time. The captain many years later was interviewed for a book about it. That contained a lot more about wood and Wagner drinking and fighting, and while there was lot of speculation about the manner in which she died (you don't sell books without stirring up some controversy), there wasn't anything indicating that Wagner caused her death. Natalie apparently owned the condo where her mother, Lana and I believe Lana's son lived. Natalie's estate (I'm not sure if Wagner himself was executor) apparently sold the condo and, while some provision was made for her mother, her sister was left to shift for herself. She promptly started giving interviews blaming Wagner for all her problems. So there you have it.

Maja. With a J. said...

I bet you Christopher Walken has the true story written down and hidden in a safe which will be opened after he dies. By a Christopher Walken impersonator, I hope!

iheartjacksparrow said...

Back in 1979/1980 I was working at The Burbank Studios where "Hart to Hart" was filmed. That was the only set on the entire lot that you couldn't get on unless you proper credentials (the best set was "Fantasy Island" because there were new stars every week). I always assumed the set was closed because Robert was afraid someone might question him about Natalie's death.

Daveb said...

Natalie died in 1982, so I doubt restrictions on the Hart To Hart set in 1979/1980 were because of her death.

Angela said...

True story. Justin Bartha, then a debuting actor, tried to impress a big casting director by showing her his Christopher Walken impersonation from The Deer Hunter. She wasn't impressed and revealed she could easily pick a good Walken impersonation from a poor one: she had been married to the guy for more than three decades.

bits of moxy said...

Here's hoping Maja's theory is right.

Danielle said...

Yep.. I'm with Maja and Moxy

Jeri said...

I believe Wagner did it. It's always ben shady and the way Lindsay keeps getting off, Hollywood has not changed.

I wonder if more will come out after Wagners death.

Mother Campfire said...

Why would Walken protect Wagner (not talking is protecting, in my book) unless there was something else going on: they were both sleeping together or Walken was paid off? It just doesn't make any sense that Walken wouldn't protect his colleague from Wagner AND not talk about it with authorities. Very fishy.

skeeball said...

I think it is very funny that lana has been saying this stuff for years and the timing matches what daveb says about the money. Having read a few books about Natalie, I think Lana was/is jealous, especially of the attention that Natalie got from their mother and she has always felt like second fiddle. Not sure what the true story of Natalie's death is, but Lana has been blaming Wagner for years, this is nothing new.

Natalie was so beautiful.

Robert said...

Ironically, Natalie had a lifelong terror of water and fear of drowning caused by falling in a river and nearly dying at 9 years old while filming a movie.
Again ironically, Lana Wood plays Plenty O'Toole in Diamonds Are Forever, a character who is thrown out of a hotel window into a swimming pool.
A footnote to this tragedy is the end of Douglas Trumbull's career. A special effects genius (2001, Close Encounters, Star Trek, Blade Runner,) he was the director of Brainstorm. When Natalie died, the studio wanted to scrap the movie and collect the huge insurance payout, but his contract left that decision up to him. He used a body double and extraneous footage to finish the film, but allegedly it was deliberately under-promoted by the studio and he ended up banished from Hollywood for daring to buck the system.

pomme said...

1:her sister was not on the boat
2:why did Walken protect Wagner if Wagner killed Nathalie Wood?
3:Why did Wagner invite his wife's alleged lover?
4: why did Wood go on a boat if she was afraid of water?

pomme said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Black Cat said...

Wow! I have never heard the story about Walken and Wagner.... THAT would make everything else make sense.

The Black Cat said...

I seem to recall hearing they were all REALLY drunk, they had gone to a bar/restaurant on Catalina Island with the captain I believe. They were remembered by other patrons as being loud and drunk and an argument started at the restaurant.
Yes Natalie was afraid of water but if she was that drunk she may have been brave enough to get into a dingy. She fell out at some point, probably stumbled and slipped over into the water. I think it was an accident but likely could have been avoided.

Sherry said...

I lived in NC when this happened and knew someone who worked on that movie. Here's a story that NO ONE here has repeated so far and that was that it wasn't Natalie and Walken in a torrid affair but Wagner and Walken. I swear I am not making this up to be different. Natalie came in a caught them and that was the reason for her hasty departure. How that for mudding the waters? Hard to say all these years what the real story is but it's a sad shame nonetheless.

Sherry said...

Oh forgot, she saw them but they did not see her and that's why she decided to leave th boat and they were unaware of it. And really that was the "story" I heard. Guess it's as good as Lana's

Robert said...

@Sherry: That's pretty juicy, and (in H-wood) entirely plausible. I wonder if Walken was sleeping with both of them, her in NC and him in CA? That would explain her braving a terrifying situation to get off that boat, no matter what. Imagine her finding her lover in bed with her husband (something she had allegedly discovered him doing before?) Wow.

Henriette said...

I remember this story! It was so weird even at the time. A lot of the speculation was Walken having an affair with Natalie Wood. No one has ever really talked about it though. Wagoner has shut-up and Walken has too.

It was shown on Entertainment Tonight at the time.

Lelaina Pierce said...

This story has always fascinated me. I always wondered why Walken had never spoken a word about it.

thisoldbroad said...

I remember this story as well - but the 'cover up' had less to do with murder conspiracies & more to do with protecting Natalie's public image & her children from the extent of her drinking problem. Her alcohol level as well as her panic at being in black water were huge factors in her drowning death. There was evidence she had gotten up during the night to secure whatever was banging against the side of the boat & fell in. A tragic accident.

I also remember the sister - married & divorced 5 times by age 29 & her 'acting career' dropped off the radar after Natalie's death. Ever since she has tried to extend her 15 minutes with her conspiracy theories in a book & movie project. She is a forgettable bit part actress that started the conspiracy theories up again when she returned to her lackluster acting career in 2008. Also interesting is her ongoing feud since 1971 with Jill St John - Robert Wagner's wife since 1990.

Me said...

duh. William Shatner got away w/ it too.

Jennifer H. said...

Robert was having the affair, not Natalie. Robert was having an affair...with Christopher. That's why an upset Natalie tried leaving the boat in the middle of the night and that's why neither Robert or Christopher noticed, they were...busy. That's also why they protected each others stories afterwards.

Lindsey said...

I just find it suspicious that Robert has forbidden the Woods' family from having any contact with Natalie's daughters after she passed away - even her first child which wasnt even his.

And the down jacket wouldnt have weighed her down - it would have aided as a floatation device and kept her a float.