Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Natalie Wood

I finished reading Goodbye Splendour, Goodbye Natalie by Marti Rulli. I have adored Natalie Wood since childhood. Over the years, I've read Lana Wood's memoir, and a bio of Natalie by Gavin Lambert, a friend of the family. Natasha by Suzanne Finstad I could not put down. This was one of the most heavily researched and most compelling book than the other biographies; and also the best biography I've read of any star, including Natalie's husband's book, Pieces of My Heart by Robert Wagner (which I didn't read).

"Goodbye..." convinced me that Natalie's husband, Robert Wagner, murdered Natalie Wood. That's right. Robert Wagner, a murderer and a drunk. He threw her in the water and untied the dingy's 2 tethers. Then he would not allow the boat captain, an employee of theirs for years, to call for help. Wagner kept feeding him drinks. She probably took the dingy to the shore, he assured his captain. Christopher Walken was "asleep" in his room. Whether he heard the argument that was so loud and violent between Natalie and "RJ" we will never know. He didn't come out of his room till morning and they told him Natalie was missing. By this time Wagner had people searching for her. She was found dead in daylight, wearing the down coat which actually kept her afloat. The weather had been horrible that night -- cold, rainy, Thanksgiving weekend in Catalina. The water was bitterly cold. I read somewhere that she might have been alive for 4 hours. She often expressed fear of dark water. She couldn't swim. That night she yelled for help, but the captain turned on loud music so no one else could hear their argument -- or, unfortunately, her pleas for help. Four hours of torment. If I was RJ Wagner, I wouldn't take a drop of alcohol ever again. More on Natalie tomorrow.

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