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Posts Tagged ‘Marti Rulli’

Splendour Captain Recalls Early National Enquirer Tactics

A big complaint of Marti Rulli, co-author of the 2009 book Goodbye Natalie, Goodbye Splendour is that many journalists writing about the re-opening of the investigation into the drowning death of actress Natalie Wood have failed to actually read the book. She’s absolutely right on that point.

FishbowlLA has read the book. It is very cleverly structured, extremely well-written and though faithful to a single point of view (that of co-author and former ship captain Dennis Davern), full of details and context that would likely amaze many reporters. For example, how many of these journalists know about Wagner allegedly keeping Davern under the equivalent of house arrest for months on end after the November 29, 1981 incident, forcing the dutiful employee to stay at the Wagner residence and abide by a 10 p.m. curfew?

However, for the purposes of this item, the detail we want to share is a recollection from Davern about the ways in which the National Enquirer tried to get him to spill his story in the fall of 1983. After a snoop posing as a potential buyer of Splendour failed to get Davern to let him photograph the inside of the boat, this wining-and-dining individual—Peter Williams—brought along one evening a leggy, female accomplice. Per the book:

She, too, wanted “business-related” photographs of Splendour’s interior. Dennis refused, but Elizabeth invited him back to her apartment for dinner. “We were on the sofa in her apartment,” Dennis recounted, “and she put her hand inside my shirt… She started to take off her clothes, so I took off mine. We went at it…”

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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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