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…”