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Lana Wooden is craving to get closure for the sudden demise of her older sister, Hollywood actress Natalie Wooden.
Natalie’s physique was discovered floating within the water off Santa Catalina Island on Nov. 29, 1981. She was 43.
The “West Aspect Story” star was touring on the household’s yacht Splendour with fellow actor and husband Robert Wagner, the ship’s Capt. Dennis Davern, and Wooden’s good friend, actor Christopher Walken.
Natalie’s physique was discovered within the water by a restaurant proprietor after an obvious night time of ingesting. She was sporting solely a nightgown and a pink jacket.
Police initially deemed her demise an accident, after Wagner advised authorities he believed his partner slipped whereas making an attempt to board a dinghy, hit her head and drowned.
A 12-part podcast, titled “Deadly Voyage: The Mysterious Loss of life of Natalie Wooden,” launched Friday, the day that the doomed display screen siren would have turned 80 years previous.
In February of this yr, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Workplace introduced Wagner, now 88, had been named a “individual of curiosity” within the “suspicious” demise of Natalie.
Wooden’s sister Lana, additionally an actress, was interviewed by the present’s host, investigative journalist Dylan Howard, and she or he stated she’s nonetheless pissed off Wagner gained’t discuss to police in any case of this time.
“He has at all times refused,” stated the 72-year-old. “How lengthy has the case been reopened? It wasn’t reopened yesterday, was it?… The opposite factor that bothers me – and at all times has – is why didn’t he rush to her aspect after they discovered her? Once they discovered her drowned, useless, within the water. Why did Dennis should establish the physique? Why didn’t RJ [Wagner]?”
Howard advised Wooden that his sources claimed Wagner gained’t allegedly discuss to police as a result of his reminiscence “is unreliable” and “he has early onset reminiscence loss and he actually doesn’t need to reply these questions.”
The previous Bond lady scoffed on the declare.
“That’s nonsense,” she stated. “It’s absolute nonsense.”
When Howard requested Wooden if police ought to merely arrest Wagner for questioning, she responded, “Sure, I do.”
“And they’d like to,” she claimed. “They’ve actually advised me that.”
Wooden additionally shared that on the time of Natalie’s demise, her beloved sibling was allegedly “carried out” together with her marriage to Wagner.
“Too many issues,” she defined. “The continuous fights; the sudden push that she wished in direction of her profession; her feeling that the youngsters had been sufficiently old and had been given sufficient of a foundation the place she may go off to work… There’s jealousy concerned. It’s notably troublesome for a person who has a spouse who’s doing higher.”
Davern, the captain of the boat who first spoke to “48 Hours” again in 2011, revealed it had been a “tension-filled weekend” that was allegedly fueled by alcohol and Wagner’s jealousy of Natalie’s co-star, Walken.
“It simply stored getting extra tense – each minute – of the day,” claimed Davern. “I opened a bottle of wine and – Natalie and Christopher had continued to giggle. After which Robert Wagner – picked up the bottle of wine and smashed it… Natalie, she stated, ‘I can’t take this,’ and she or he went into her room. And – then RJ went into the room – Natalie and RJ’s room – and began arguing, yelling – issues being thrown about.
“The combating continued. After which – to the again of the boat. I used to be involved that one thing actually unhealthy was happening, due to the combating, the arguing was so intense.”
Whereas it’s been reported that Davern bought his story to tabloids for cash and collaborated on a tell-all ebook over time, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Lt. John Corina stated in February his model of occasions “match.”
“Makes extra sense of what occurred and is corroborated by different individuals,” he stated.
Quickly after that, different witnesses claimed they heard a person and a lady arguing on the again of the boat. They believed the voices belonged to the couple.
Wooden additionally advised the podcast her sister’s demise is very weird as a result of she was terrified of darkish water.
“She was petrified of water going all the best way again to once I was a child and Natalie was a teen and my mom would regularly inform the story of the gypsy who advised my mom’s fortune in China who stated that she would have a world-famous daughter and that anyone would die by drowning,” she claimed. “It additional terrified Natalie, who wasn’t precisely keen on the water because it was. My mom by no means discovered to swim both. Natalie by no means discovered to swim.”
Wooden has her personal concept of what actually occurred on the final day of Natalie’s life.
“I consider that there was a horrible battle onboard the Splendour,” she defined. “I feel the proof can be not simply what Dennis Davern, the captain, has stated, however the damaged wine bottle and the risk that was first denied by Robert Wagner after which later in one other ebook that he wrote he admitted to it. I feel that issues obtained out of hand. I do know Natalie can verbally push, and Natalie was a really by-the-rule individual… She didn’t put up with an ideal deal that she felt was dangerous to her.
“I feel it escalated to some extent the place she was both struck or pushed. I don’t consider that it was deliberate. I don’t consider in any of these weird tales, however I do know she wouldn’t have ended up someplace the place she would utterly by no means ever go in 1,000,000 years or actually not exit not dressed. There’s simply an excessive amount of that doesn’t add as much as who Natalie is.”
If Wooden had the prospect to confront her brother-in-law at present, she would have one message for him.
“The identical factor I’ve at all times thought: Inform the reality for as soon as and for all,” she stated.
Again in February, Los Angeles Sheriff’s Division Lieutenant John Corina advised “48 Hours” that investigators wished to speak to Wagner concerning the occasions main as much as Natalie’s demise.
After excerpts of the “48 Hours” interview had been launched, the workplace confirmed Natalie’s drowning was being investigated and that new witnesses had come ahead.
Us Weekly reported that the brand new podcast highlights never-before-heard interviews with Natalie herself, in addition to excerpts from her unpublished memoir. As well as, dozens of members of the family and pals open up in “candid” new interviews, in response to the publication.
Howard and his workforce spent the final seven years investigating Natalie’s ultimate hours, in addition to the instant aftermath of her stunning demise. They combed by means of tons of of pages of testimony and police statements to additional perceive what may have trigger Natalie to drown.
The podcast additionally goals to research Natalie’s unique post-mortem, the bruises discovered on her lifeless physique, her blood alcohol content material and even addresses whether or not Wagner is taken into account a “individual of curiosity.”
The preliminary coroner’s report dominated Natalie’s passing was “unintentional demise by drowning.” Nevertheless, the case was reopened in 2011.
“This isn’t a retelling of Natalie’s unhappy story,” burdened Howard. “It’s an energetic investigation of the case. It will likely be essentially the most complete investigation since Natalie’s demise. And in the long run, the listener can resolve what occurred to the last word display screen siren… and simply who was liable for her demise.”
A rep for Wagner has declined to remark. He has refused to speak to officers about Natalie’s demise because the case was reopened in 2011.
Wooden and Wagner married in December 1957. The 2 started courting when she was 17 and he was 26. They divorced in April 1962 and remarried in 1972.
Again in 2016, Wagner advised Fox Information he nonetheless has fond reminiscences of his late spouse.
“Oh God, I do have many,” he shared. “, Natalie was such a particular, marvelous girl… How fortunate I used to be. I simply had such fantastic occasions together with her. We have now our daughter and we had been very fortunate to have that occurred to us. She was only a marvelous, marvelous gentle. My gentle and the sunshine for our kids. She was only a particular individual.”