Actress Natalie Wooden joined her husband Robert Wagner and actor Christopher Walken in late November 1981 on her household’s yacht, Splendour, off Santa Catalina Island in California.
Little did she know it might be her final night time alive.
The actress, who received three Golden Globes, was reportedly found lacking round midnight on Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend by both the captain of the boat, Dennis Davern, or Wagner. Additionally lacking was the boat’s dinghy.
It wasn’t till the following morning, Nov. 29, that the 43-year-old’s bruised physique was discovered floating a mile away from each the boat and the dinghy.
She had been sporting a flannel nightgown, knee-high socks and a purple down jacket.
An preliminary investigation by police concluded that her demise was an accident and that Wooden took the dinghy to shore, slipped and fell into the water. The L.A. coroner on the time stated Wooden launched the dinghy and fell overboard and died of hypothermia.
Within the hours earlier than Wooden went lacking, the 4 passengers dined on the restaurant Doug’s Harbor Reef, the place workers later stated they keep in mind them ingesting closely and that Wooden’s conduct was unstable.
Waitresses have stated Wooden was flirting with Walken after they’d a number of bottles of champagne.
The restaurant’s supervisor, Don Whiting, warned the harbormaster to maintain a watch out for his or her security as they headed again to the Splendour, Vainness Honest reported. He additionally instructed police that “he was of the impression that Robert Wagner was a bit of bit irritated together with his spouse” after a glass was damaged or thrown.
Theories of foul play have been swirling ever since Wooden’s demise.
The life and mysterious demise of Natalie Wooden
Wagner and Wooden have been one among Hollywood’s iconic on-again, off-again , married from 1957 to 1962 earlier than divorcing. They remarried in 1972 remained collectively till her demise.
The actress had famously publicly reiterated her concern of darkish water and had stated she did not know how you can swim.
Davern maintains that the autumn wasn’t an accident — however relatively the results of jealousy, combating and drama that performed out over the weekend, fueled by alcohol. He recalled to Vainness Honest that Wooden was “positively flirting” with Walken.
Wooden was allegedly jealous of Wagner’s relationship on-set with William Holden’s girlfriend, Stefanie Powers, and Wooden reportedly had an infatuation with Walken that Wagner could not bear to witness.
Wagner maintains Wooden’s demise was an accident and when the case was reopened in 2011, he refused to cooperate with investigators.
In his 2008 memoir, “Items of My Coronary heart,” he wrote, “no person is aware of” what induced her to fall of the boat — however that her disappearance adopted an argument.
“There are solely two prospects: both she was attempting to get away from the argument, or she was attempting to tie the dinghy,” Wagner wrote. “However the backside line is that no person is aware of precisely what occurred.”
He stated the final time he noticed her she was fixing her hair on the vainness within the lavatory.
“I went under, and Natalie wasn¹t there,” he continued in “Items of My Coronary heart.” “Unusual. I went again up on the deck and regarded round for her and seen the dinghy was gone. Stranger. I keep in mind questioning if she¹d taken the dinghy due to the argument, after which I believed, No manner, as a result of she was fearful of darkish water, and moreover that, the dinghy fired up so loudly, and we might have heard it, whether or not we have been within the salon or on deck.”
In a 2002 Larry King interview he stated he was in “complete shock.”
“I do not assume you ever overcome it,” Wagner instructed Larry King in 2014. “And why must you?”
Walken — who was starring with Wooden in “Brainstorm” when she died — mentioned the night time of Wooden’s demise publicly for the primary time two years later.
“The people who find themselves satisfied that there was one thing extra to it than what got here out within the investigation won’t ever be happy with the reality. As a result of the reality is, there may be nothing extra to it,” Walked stated. “It was an accident.”
In his memoir, Wagner admitted to moving into struggle with Walken on the yacht and smashing a bottle on the desk after an evening of ingesting.
Davern modified his story from his preliminary report, which is what led investigators to reopen the case in 2011. He recalled an argument and combating between the couple.
Wooden was accompanied by Davern to shore the night time earlier than she went lacking as a result of Wooden reportedly could not deal with the stress on the boat, in line with the captain. Wooden and Wagner stayed on the Pavilion Lodge in two separate rooms, the place a receptionist stated they each gave the impression to be intoxicated.
The subsequent morning Walken woke as much as Wooden asking if he was going to remain as she was going to take the ocean airplane black. She ended up remaining on the boat and making breakfast.
“Everybody acted like nothing occurred,” Davern recalled. “And the whole lot was lovely once more.”
It was revealed Thursday that Wagner was a “individual of curiosity” in Wooden’s homicide, a suspicion her sister Lana Wooden had all alongside.
“Solely RJ [Wagner] and Natalie know what occurred,” she instructed Piers Morgan in 2011. “And solely one among them can converse.”
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Division stated in an upcoming “48 Hours” particular that after persevering with the investigation over time, Wagner, now 87, is taken into account an individual of curiosity since he was the final individual to see the star.
“As we have investigated the case over the past six years, I believe he is extra of an individual of curiosity now,” L.A. County Sheriff’s Division Lieutenant John Corina stated. “I imply, we all know now that he was the final individual to be with Natalie earlier than she disappeared.”
“Natalie Wooden: Demise in Darkish Water” will air on Feb. three at 10 p.m. on CBS, that includes new witnesses, proof and theories as to what occurred the night time of her demise.