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Natalie Wood Death

Book Triggered Homicide Investigation

11/18/2011 6:10 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

1117_natalie_wood_ex_marti_rulli_exNatalie Wood's death has been reopened as a homicide investigation, primarily because of a book written by the captain of the boat where Natalie Wood spent her last minutes ... a book suggesting foul play ... this according to sources close to the investigation.

We've learned Marti Rulli -- who co-authored the book -- has been in regular touch with the L.A. County Sheriff's Dept. over the last few months.  She has given Sheriff's investigators documents supporting material in her book, and we're told the Sheriff is so impressed he has assigned 2 full-time homicide detectives to the case.

In the book -- "Goodbye Natalie, Goodbye Splendour" -- Rulli and Splendour Captain Dennis Davern write about the night Natalie drowned.  They say before Natalie disappeared from the boat, she was drinking and taking Quaaludes with her husband, Robert Wagner and actor Christopher Walken.

According to the book, Wagner became enraged when he saw Wood and Walken speaking, and smashed a wine bottle, yelling at Walken, "What do you want to do, f**k my wife?  Is that what you want?"

At that point, Walken returned to his cabin and Natalie and Robert went to their state room. According to the Captain, he heard a loud argument between the couple and thumping sounds, and eventually silence.

A short time later, the Captain went to the deck and was told by Wagner, "Natalie is missing."

The book claims Wagner refused to let the Captain call the Coast Guard.

Wagner told the Capt. the dinghy was gone, along with Natalie, but some doubted that because she was deathly afraid of dark water.

The death was ruled an accident, but Rulli was like a pit bull since the book was written in 2008.

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We're told the homicide investigators have already traveled to Catalina, as well as  New Jersey to interview Rulli.  They've also gone to Augustine, Florida to interview the Captain, and they're going to Hawaii to look at the Splendour.

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7:25 PM PST  A source familiar with the investigation tells TMZ the Sheriff's Dept. has not called anyone a suspect in Wood's death.  It is a general homicide investigation for now, and will take "a long time to complete."  The source adds, supporting documentation in several books about Wood's death -- including Marti Rulli's book -- triggered the investigation because the witnesses accounts of circumstances surrounding Wood's death did not square with what they told officials immediately after her death.

We're told no one from the Sheriff's Dept. has spoken with Wagner, nor has an interview been requested ... at least so far.

7:08 PM PST -- Robert Wagner's rep released a statement to TMZ ... saying, "Although no one in the Wagner family has heard from the LA County Sheriff’s department about this matter, they fully support the efforts of the LA County Sheriff’s Dept."

The statement continues, "[The Wagners] trust they will evaluate whether any new information relating to the death of Natalie Wood Wagner is valid, and that it comes from a credible source or sources other than those simply trying to profit from the 30 year anniversary of her tragic death."

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251 COMMENTS

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181.

RD    

Is it just my imagination or does Marti Rulli look like a guy in drag?

985 days ago
182.

mstickle    

The sound of a drowning person is SILENCE.
Try and remember that!

985 days ago
183.

RD    

Is it just my imagination or does Marti Rulli look like a guy in drag?

985 days ago
184.

paul    

And William ****ner, killed his wife too!!!!

985 days ago
185.

She's baaaack    

Ludes and beer. That's a ****tail I haven't had in a few decades. Far out.

985 days ago
186.

Heidi    

Omgosh TMZ, get it together & you've fell for it too...... This is all publicity for the 30th anniversary of her death... Notice that 'only' a lieutanent of the LAPD gave an interview & this is still considered an 'accident'..... Yes, I too always believed that it wasn't an accident when it happened, same with Manroe, however, this is only 'publicity' for the 30th anniversary of her death & more free publicity for the book...... Nothing will come of this.....

985 days ago
187.

Marcylu    

Too bad everyone was drunk and on Quualudes. If they had just been on marijuana, they would have laughed and later all gone to sleep!
Medical marijuana, and all marijuana should be legal! It is helpful to people for pain reduction and other maladies, plus marijuana can be a much less harmful recreational drug than liquor, heroin, crack, and cocaine.
Great book on medical marijuana: MARIJUANA - Guide to Buying, Growing, Harvesting, and Making Medical Marijuana Oil and Delicious Chocolates to Treat Pain and Ailments by Mary Bendis. This book has great recipe for marijuana oil and tasty, yummy chocolates! http://bit.ly/obHfCy http://bit.ly/oYO1N6

985 days ago
188.

James    

I always thought there was more to the story.

985 days ago
189.

Pegasus    

Who Was Natalie Wood? The Movie Star Behind The Drowning CaseWho Was Natalie Wood? The Movie Star Behind The Drowning Case
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Posted on Nov 18, 2011 @ 02:00PM print it send it
PolarisBy Radar Staff

Almost 30 years after she drowned while yachting off the coast of California's Catalina Island, the world is again fascinated with Natalie Wood as the police reopen the investigation into her death.

Many who are following the developments weren't even born when the beautiful actress mysteriously fell to her death, and RadarOnline.com is taking a look back on the life and death of the movie star.

PHOTOS: Celebs Who Died Young

Born in 1938, Wood was a successful child actress during the golden age of Hollywood and her part in the Christmas classic Miracle On 34th Street remains a holiday-viewing staple to this day.

It was her break out role in 1955's Rebel Without A Cause alongside James Dean that rocketed her to fame though and earned her an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

PHOTOS: Celebrities Who Died In Bizarre Cir****tances

Both Dean, and Natalie's other co-star, Sal Mineo died young, leading the film's stars to be dubbed "the tragic three."

The pretty porcelain-skinned brunette went on to star in the timeless classics West Side Story and Gypsy, before winning Academy Awards for Best Actress in Splendour In The Grass and Love With The Proper Stranger.

PHOTOS: Celebrity Death Threats

Blossoming into a beautiful woman, Natalie was soon wooed by a string of older men, including Dennis Hopper, Elvis Presley and Robert Wagner, the man at the center of her drowning mystery, whom she had a childhood crush on and married in 1957 but divorced five years later.

Wood's on-screen success was marred by personal trauma including a suicide attempt in 1966 in the wake of her breakup from famous Hollywood Casanova Warren Beatty.

PHOTOS: Celebs We Lost In 2010

She went on to bounce back from the heartbreak to marry British producer Richard Gregson and gave birth to daughter, Natasha in 1970.

The couple separated just ten months later after Natalie learned her husband was having an affair with her secretary.

PHOTOS: Beautiful Celebs Who Have Been Cheated On

After her double heartbreak, Natalie circled back to her one true love, Wagner, and they reunited and married for a second time and welcomed their daughter, Courtney Wagner in 1974.

Wagner found fame on the small screen with the television series Hart To Hart while Natalie focused on raising their family.

PHOTOS: Celebrity Cheaters

When her children were older, the Oscar-winner attempted to return to acting in the early 80s by moving to North Carolina to star in Brainstorm with Christopher Walken, a move that may have caused irreparable damage to her marriage and possibly even led to her death.

After becoming close on set, Wood brought Walken back to Los Angeles for Thanksgiving and invited him to join her, Wagner, and boat captain Dennis Davern on the ill-fated boat trip to Catalina.

PHOTOS: Stars Who've Married Co-Stars

On Saturday, November 28, 1981, they all dined at a restaurant on Catalina Island where Natalie reportedly got drunk. Hours later she fell to her death off their yacht into the depths of the Pacific, in what was ruled an accidental drowning.

As RadarOnline.com previously reported, Davern told the Today Show on Friday that he had lied to officers investigating the death back in the early 80s, and he thinks Wagner is responsible.

PHOTOS: Celebs Involved In Murder

"I made some terrible decisions and mistakes," he told NBC's David Gregory. "I did lie on a report several years ago...I made mistakes by not telling the honest truth.”

He added, "We didn't take any steps to see if we could locate her...I think it was a matter of, 'We're not going to look too hard, we're not going to turn on the searchlight, we're not going to notify anybody right now.'"

PHOTOS: Sexy Stars Who Have Been Arrested

Investigators who have reopened the case said in a news conference that Wagner is not a suspect in her death.

Wagner's spokesman Alan Nierob said in a statement Thursday, "Although no one in the Wagner family has heard from the LA County Sheriff's department about this matter...they fully support the efforts of the LA County Sheriff's Dept and trust they will evaluate whether any new information relating to the death of Natalie Wood Wagner is valid, and that it comes from a credible source or sources other than those simply trying to profit from the 30 year anniversary of her tragic death."

985 days ago
190.

S, Daniella    

Remember this was 1981- Actors were to avoid public scandals
this would have hurt them - not helped their star status
So therefore the hush-up was normal / look at Monroes death
same thing - and there too alot of questions unanswered - this is A quest for Fan Fair over another book - I say give it up ,leave her in peace - "The Guilty can Rot in Hell"

985 days ago
191.

Grouchy Smurf    

Marti Rulli looks like a transvestite.

984 days ago
192.

Rose brandon    

After watching the interview with the Captain of the Splendour, I think he is crazy and we are waisting tax payers money to open the investigatin of this case. He is not credible, and I sure hope they have more information that what he is saying, because as of now he is looney!!!!

984 days ago
193.

Marie    

Only Natalie Woods knows exactly what really happened to her that night but she is dead and she cannot tell us her side of the story.

984 days ago
194.

Ben    

I always felt he was guilty somehow and found it odd that no further investigation was made. Maybe he hit her during the fight and she passed out. The fact that he refused to call for anyone to find her when she fell into the water, shows he did not want her to be found right away. And why? He is certainly responsible.

984 days ago
195.

CONNIE REDFIELD    

I THINK THESE 2 AUTHORS ARE PULLING A REAL SCAM/CON.......COME ON......NOW AFTER 30 YRS. THEY ARE COMING FORTH WITH MORE INFO......THEIR BOOK WASN'T GETTING ANY PUBLICITY AND WASN'T SELLING.....THAT'S THE WHOLE STORY IN A NUT SHELL!!!! DISGUSTING!!!!

984 days ago
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