Decades later, the death of Natalie Wood remains among one of the darkest and mysterious of Hollywood’s unexplained celebrity deaths.
Even those closest to the case have conflicting theories on what really happened to the actress on that fateful night aboard their yacht and how her then-husband Robert Wagner and famed actor Christopher Walken may have been involved.
Now, as we approach the 40th anniversary of Woods’s tragic, untimely death, her sister has revealed some stunning new information. Appearing recently with Dr. Oz, Wood’s sister Lana shared never-before-heard information from her own investigation into what happened the night Natalie died and what she would say to her brother-in-law Robert Wagner now.
“Well, it was after the funeral, back at Natalie’s house,” she told Oz. “And… I couldn’t find him. And I asked somebody, ‘where is RJ’ and they said, ‘he went upstairs into the bedroom.’ So, I ran upstairs. And he was sitting on the edge of the bed, and I walked up and said, ‘RJ, what happened?'” Lana claimed, “His response to me there was… ‘It was an accident… I’m sorry,’ which didn’t really make any sense or answer any questions for me. And then, at that point, somebody grabbed me by the arm. I seriously do not remember who, and said, ‘Leave him alone.’ And I said, ‘OK, fine.’ And I walked away. It’s an accident. That was it. That’s all I ever heard.”
Lana insisted Wagner “never spoke to me, never told me what happened, never shared his feelings, never shared anything at all.”
Lana feels Natalie and Wagner had an argument on the boat, and he knocked her around until she fell into the water.
Lana, a fellow actress who starred as Bond girl Plenty O’ Toole in 1971’s “Diamonds are Forever,” claimed she was blacklisted from Hollywood following Natalie’s death.
Natalie was traveling on her family’s yacht, Splendour, with her husband Robert Wagner, the ship’s captain David Davern, and her friend Christopher Walken, when her body was found floating in the water off Santa Catalina Island.
At the time, Woods’ death was labeled an “accidental drowning,” but the investigation into the death of Natalie Wood was reopened in 2011 when Davern revealed that he had heard the married couple arguing before Natalie’s disappearance. That year, the coroner changed the cause of death to “drowning and other undetermined factors” after re-evaluating the case details, including that Natalie’s body appeared to have fresh bruises when it was initially found. Police reclassified the case as “suspicious” and, in 2018, named Wagner, now 91, a “person of interest.” The case remains open.
Little Sister: My Investigation into the Mysterious Death of Natalie Wood
In a new book entitled just out by Lana, “Little Sister: My Investigation into the Mysterious Death of Natalie Wood,” she clearly points her finger at Wagner. Lana, now in her 70s, has spent the last four decades shattered by the death of her sister and has spent many of those years conducting her investigation into Natalie’s death.
The book — part memoir, part true-crime investigation using new evidence dug up by homicide detectives — aims to dispel the myths and illuminate the facts surrounding Natalie’s tragic death.
Lana writes in her book that she believes Wagner and Natalie had an “alcohol-fueled argument” that “escalated into a physical confrontation” and that Wagner “delivered a blow to the left side of Natalie’s face that knocked her unconscious.”
“I believe,” she writes, “that suddenly, panic-stricken when he realized what he’d done, RJ made the fatal decision to put Natalie in the water to avoid being held responsible for what had happened.”
The book speculates that Wagner sent Davern — who had come up to intervene — to look for the “missing” Natalie “to give himself time to untie the dinghy.” Davern said in his testimonial that Wagner did tell him not to turn the searchlights on or to call the authorities until two hours later, and Lana writes that she believes that he did this to “[cover] up the fact that, in a drunken, jealous, rage-filled moment, he’d ended the life of Natalie Wood.”
Still, Lana said she didn’t write the book to bring down her brother-in-law.
“Wagner is not going to jail. He’s not going to be arrested. He’s not going to admit anything,” Lana explained. “All I can do is attempt to have people understand the truth and to show Natalie as she really was.”
In Little Sister, Lana also drops another long-suspected Hollywood bombshell that Wood has sexually assaulted by Hollywood legend Kirk Douglas.