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Posts Tagged ‘Natalie Wood’

Liz Smith Hosts Robert Wagner

Book Review You Must Remember ThisTuesday night at the 92nd Street YMCA, gossip columnist Liz Smith sat down with now 84-year-old actor Robert Wagner for a discussion, reading and signing of his latest book You Must Remember This. Today, she writes briefly about what she took away:

I remarked on R.J.’s way with women (he made love to most of his leading ladies) and married the adorable Natalie Wood — twice! I was careful, however, because in the audience was Wagner’s wife of more than 20 years, Jill St. John. How has Wagner survived, personally and professionally? Well, he is a real gentleman that’s how – intelligent, wise, charming, open and with open arms.

The Y event took place a few hours after Wagner’s appearance on Live with Kelly and Michael. That earlier conversation started off with some mutual gushing between Wagner and his former Hope & Faith co-star Ripa.

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Natalie Wood Author Comments on Bombshell Tabloid Report

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.”

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Author Marti Rulli Comments on Latest Natalie Wood News

Five pages into the autopsy report for Natalie Wood begins the reason for today’s chilling headlines: a re-evaluation begun May 12, 2012 and signed off by Coroner’s Office chief medical examiner Lakshmanan Sathyavagiswaran on June 15. The information is what led the cause of death on Wood’s to be expanded to “drowning and other undetermined factors.”

We decided to check in with author Marti Rulli to get her take on today’s developments. “The main point that needs to be made I think is that this is an independent report from the Coroner’s Office,” Rulli says. “It’s the forensics and science end of the investigation, and when it corresponds with the information gathered by the LA Sheriff’s Department and their ongoing investigation, then the department will be able to put together their most logical explanation regarding Natalie’s final night.”

“The important details include the 300 cc’s of urine in Natalie’s bladder,” she continues. “It’s likely she would have released her bladder if alive in the water for any length of time. There also exists no evidence that Natalie clung to a float-away dinghy and that is huge because it disposes of the long-time theory that that’s what happened the night she died. There’s also no evidence of Natalie having scratched the dinghy in an effort to climb aboard it.”

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Seven Months Later, Disappearance of Gavin Smith Remains an Excruciating Mystery

As we head into a rare, rainy weekend in LA, the mysterious disappearance of 20th Century Fox distribution executive Gavin Smith is set to cross the seven-month mark. With no signs that his baffling May 1 drive-to-nowhere will be solved any time soon.

FishbowlLA reached out to America’s Most Wanted to find out whether an October 12 segment about the case elicited any solid leads. We’ve also tried, without success at press time, to get comment from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s detective overseeing the investigation. If we hear back from either party, this item will be updated below.

The circumstances of Smith’s vanishing into thin air are as confounding as the deaths of Ronni Chasen and Natalie Wood (and, beyond LA, that of Natalee Holloway). With the big difference of course that there is no certainty at present that Smith, a one-time UCLA basketball star, has in fact perished.

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One Year Later, Natalie Wood Author Points to the Bruises

On November 17, 2011, the LA County Sheriff’s Department announced that it was re-opening the investigation into the 1981 Thanksgiving weekend drowning death of actress Natalie Wood. The following day, a press conference was held.

Marti Rulli, author of the 2009 book Goodbye Natalie Goodbye Splendor, was instrumental in bringing about this new LASD investigation. This weekend on her blog, she recalls what it was like to be thrust into the resulting national media frenzy and – more importantly – shares images of two pages from the Wood autopsy report.

Rulli argues that the extensive bruises found on Wood’s body are the main reason why the LASD recently amended the cause of death on the actress’ death certificate to “drowning and other undetermined factors:”

After much research and studying Natalie’s autopsy report, I explained in Goodbye Natalie Goodbye Splendour (with the help of Dr. Lyndon Taylor), Natalie’s bruises appeared to be of classic domestic violence nature. The bruises on the backs of her legs appear to be combat bruising. The small circular bruises at her ankles appear to be fingerprints. The scratch at her neck and the numerous other bruising indicates a possible altercation. There were over two dozen bruises on Natalie’s body when she was pulled from the ocean: bruises not logically accounted for in 1981.

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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 Author Reacts to Death Certificate Change

What does the person most responsible for the re-opening of the Natalie Wood drowning investigation think about the latest development – the August 7 amendment of cause on the actress’s death certificate? Tonight, Goodbye Natalie, Goodbye Splendour co-author Marti Rulli has finally shared her thoughts:

Natalie’s death is no longer considered an accident: it is considered undetermined how she acquired her bruises. The 1981 initial investigation into Natalie Wood’s death was incompetent…

This development is huge for Natalie Wood’s legacy. She did not “get drunk and fall off a boat,” as a couple of books would have us believe. No one ever thought Natalie’s case would be reopened. It was. And, it will remain open until other conclusions can be determined. If that can’t be done, at least we now know, although no suspects have been named, that Natalie’s death is a suspicious one.

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LASD Updates LA Times on Natalie Wood Investigation

It appears as if the truth may never be fully known regarding what exactly led Natalie Wood to fatally wind up in the waters off Two Harbors on the night of November 28, 1981.

Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department chief of detectives William McSweeney tells LA Times reporter Richard Winton that several weeks of interviews and other footwork have turned up nothing new and that only a few minor aspects of the investigation remain active. However, he stresses that a case such as this, even if it is to be deemed once again cold, could always be re-opened once more if warranted. Then follows the key sentence of Winton’s dispatch:

But McSweeney said he’s doubtful that more investigating will change the overall conclusion that her death was an accident.

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Author Chastises Access Hollywood for Natalie Wood Item

The first dispatch of the new year relating to the re-opening of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department investigation into the 1981 drowning death of actress Natalie Wood has turned out to be a sloppy piece of Web reporting.

AccessHollywood.com published a report late this afternoon headlined “Natalie Wood Investigation a Cold Case.” But the permalink for this item now points to an update in which the outlet seemingly clarifies that by “cold case,” the LASD did not mean the re-opened investigation had been tabled.

Author Marti Rulli, whose excellent tome Goodbye Natalie Goodbye Splendour was the trigger for some critical sworn statements submitted to the LASD, had angry words tonight for Access Hollywood. Blogs Rulli:

I received many notices tonight of an article published by Access Hollywood claiming that the Natalie Wood case was transferred to a cold case file, further stating the reopening of the case in November 2011 had been nothing more than a publicity stunt to promote my book Goodbye Natalie Goodbye Splendour.

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Robert Wagner Set for Florida ‘Conversation’

When Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood honeymooned in 1957, they traveled by train to the Atlantic Ocean community of Stuart, Florida, where they planned to go fishing. But as the actor recalls in his 2009 autobiography Pieces of My Heart, it was a bust.

“Stuart was terrible, totally unromantic,” he writes. “We were there only a couple of nights; then we got on a train and went to New York, to the Sherry-Netherland.”

Next week, Wagner will be back in Stuart for “A Conversation with Robert Wagner,” a special December 13-15 retrospective series organized by Lyric Theatre executive director John Loesser. To promote his first public appearance since the Wood drowning investigation was re-opened, the actor chatted via email with the Treasure Coast Palm newspaper.

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