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Posts Tagged ‘Marilyn Wayne’

Breaking Down Last Night’s 48 Hours-Natalie Wood Updates

For anyone who has read Goodbye Natalie Goodbye Splendour, the big “reveal” from last night’s updated repeat of a CBS News/Vanity Fair 48 Hours investigation into the re-opening of the Natalie Wood drowning investigation was already well familiar.

In chapters 32 and 34, author Marti Rulli writes that she encouraged Splendour captain Dennis Davern to call Wood’s younger sister Lana in 1992. During these conversations, Davern speculated about different possible scenarios involving Natalie’s final moments on the boat with Robert Wagner. Ten years later, Lana revisited these talks with Suzanne Finstad, author of the 2001 biography Natasha, with a taped excerpt of that conversation showcased on last night’s program.

There were two problems with this. One, 48 Hours made no mention of the wealth of related information in Rulli’s book. Two, the show misleadingly framed the Wood-Finstad audio as “Davern told her [Lana] he saw what happened to her sister.” Even though Lana is next heard saying that Davern “said it appeared to him…” (in the non-literal sense). From Rulli’s book:

Suzanne informed me that Dennis, years ago, had corroborated to Lana part of the Marilyn Wayne and John Payne account – that in fact Natalie was in the water crying for help as R.J. argued with her. She said Dennis had told Lana that R.J. “might have” pushed Natalie into the water and that R.J. decided to teach Natalie a lesson by not helping – taunting her when she was in the water.

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Natalie Wood Drowning ‘Ear Witness’ Was Threatened Three Days Later

Whenever a sensational story such as the re-opening of the police investigation into the 1981 drowning death of actress Natalie Wood breaks, it’s often possible thanks to the Internet to click right through to the heart of the matter. In this case, that would be the PDF of new statements submitted recently to the LA County Sheriff’s office by author Marti Rulli, boat captain Dennis Davern, the actress’ sister Lana and Catalina Island “ear witness” Marilyn Wayne.

Many of the stories hitting the wire this morning from Radar Online, the Daily Mail and other outlets are parsing info from this document. But not getting a lot of media attention, yet, is the fact that Wayne had a further connection to Robert Wagner beyond being moored just 50 feet away from the Splendour that terrible night and knowing him from various Southern California marinas. She was also working at the time as a stockbroker at an LA firm servicing Wagner; in her statement, she details a frightening subsequent office incident:

I had a “client box’” designed for clients to drop off their messages through a slot in the front. The boxes were opened in the back, labeled by broker name on each end. Three days after Natalie died, I found a scribbled message on a torn piece of paper in my box that read, “If you value your life, keep quiet about what you know.”

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Author Campaigns to Have Natalie Wood Death Investigation Re-Opened

As the 30th anniversary of Natalie Wood‘s tragic drowning death looms, Canyon News columnist Tommy Garrett has news of renewed efforts to get to the bottom of what happened off the coast of California on November 29, 1981.

Author Marti Rulli and the actress’ sister Lana are pushing to have the closed investigation re-opened. Over the weekend, their signed statements, along with those of four others, were sent to LA County Sheriff Lee Baca. Also included was a copy of an online petition asking for the death investigation to be re-opened. Writes Garrett:

The package includes [Captain] Dennis Davern‘s full witness account; a statement from Marilyn Wayne, who heard Natalie’s cries for help but was never interviewed by authorities; one from Roger Smith, the Coast Guard captain who recovered Natalie’s body and believes she lived hours through the night in the cold ocean; and one from a licensed, certified psychologist.

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