Who Killed Natalie Wood?

Natalie Wood’s mysterious death at the age of 43 stunned fans. Whispers and speculation ran wild.


Now, after almost 40 years, LA County sheriff’s detectives say they’re reopening the case. The skipper of the yacht she was on, Dennis Davern, has been questioned about bruises found on Wood’s body. To learn more about Who Killed Natalie Wood keep reading the article below.

Natalie Wood starred in some of the most beloved movies of all time, from West Side Story to Rebel Without a Cause to Splendor in the Grass. She was also a private person who kept her personal life out of the public eye, but rumors swirled around her mysterious death in November 1981, and it remains unclear exactly what happened to the actress.

While some conspiracy theorists have alleged foul play in her demise, most of the evidence points to a tragic accident. Her body was found in the chilly water off California’s Catalina Island, where she had been spending Thanksgiving weekend with her husband, Robert Wagner, and her co-star on her new film, Brainstorm. Several of the people who were aboard her yacht that fateful night, including Wagner and her co-star Christopher Walken, later made conflicting statements. The Los Angeles County medical examiner ruled her death accidental, citing her high blood alcohol levels and bruises on her arms, legs, and face that were consistent with a fall overboard from the dinghy she was trying to board.

Despite this, Wood’s daughter Lana is still suspicious of the circumstances surrounding her sister’s death and has long been calling for a reexamination of the case. She has even tried to get answers from Wagner, but he cut her out of his life. Eventually, she turned to Dennis Davern, the yacht’s skipper, who contacted her out of the blue in 2021 and told her his version of events.

Davern’s account, which he repeated in his own book, was that after an argument between Wagner and Wood, she retired to her cabin, and he threw her into the water. He said that he didn’t share this with investigators at the time because he believed that Wagner would go after him. He also claims that he withheld information from Wagner because of his intimidation tactics.

Working with an expert in wills and trusts, the author of this book dissects the never-before-seen official probate file for Wood’s estate and reveals how a trail of inconsistencies shows Wagner’s conscious knowledge that she was dead. She then provides a fictional closing argument by the prosecution and allows readers to decide for themselves whether the case should be reopened.

Dennis Davern

The mystery of Natalie Wood’s death has captivated the public for decades. The West Side Story actress drowned while vacationing with her husband Robert Wagner, friend and Brainstorm co-star Christopher Walken, and her yacht’s captain, Dennis Davern. Many unanswered questions remain, and there have been a number of conflicting accounts from those involved in the case. But now Davern has come forward to tell his version of events.

In a new book, Davern claims that he heard an argument on deck between Wood and Wagner right before she fell into the water. He also says that Wagner told him to ignore a call from the coast guard and that he wanted to keep his wife and friends off of the boat.

According to the book, Davern had a close relationship with Wood and was deeply affected by her death. He says that he was left with a “permanent sense of emptiness.” The book also alleges that the actor’s mother, who was a Gypsy, had received a prophecy that her daughter would die in dark waters. Despite her fame, Wood was a very private woman. She had a history of psychological damage and abuse and was always on edge. She had daily psychoanalysis and multiple suicide attempts, as well as a fear of darkness and water.

For years, Wagner denied any involvement in her death, but the sheriff’s department reopened the case in 2011 due to new evidence. In a 2008 memoir, Wagner claimed that Wood was killed by a dinghy that was banging against the yacht, but he later changed his story to say she drowned after falling off the side of the boat while trying to re-tie it.

In a recent interview on the Today show, Davern admitted that he made mistakes by not telling the truth about what happened in the days leading up to the Thanksgiving weekend death. He also urged investigators to take his claim seriously and reopen the case. The LA county sheriff’s homicide detectives in charge of the investigation have not commented publicly on whether they will do so.

Robert Wagner

Actor Robert Wagner is a central figure in the mystery of Natalie Wood’s death. He has denied wrongdoing for decades, but his daughter and a crew member insist he was responsible.

The case began with a boating accident on November 28, 1981. As Wood, Wagner and his co-star on the sci-fi film Brainstorm, Christopher Walken, left to head back to their state rooms aboard a yacht named Splendour, they started arguing. Splendour captain Dennis Davern told investigators that he overheard the married couple accuse each other of wanting to f-ck each other, then they went their separate ways. The boat was about a mile from shore in an isolated cove called Blue Cavern Point. The next morning, her body was found floating about a mile from the boat. An autopsy showed she had a high blood alcohol level and multiple bruises on her arms, legs and body. The medical examiner ruled her death accidental.

Walken and Wagner both denied knowing anything about the incident, but they have been questioned time and again over what happened that night. Their stories often contradicted each other, but police never had a break in the case. Fresh scrapes and bruises listed on her autopsy report raised suspicions that she had been assaulted before drowning, but they didn’t add up to enough concrete evidence to hold someone accountable.

As the years passed, questions about what happened to Natalie Wood continued to swirl, fueled by gossip and tabloids. But it wasn’t until a few years ago that the LA County Sheriff’s Department officially named Wagner as a person of interest in her death.

Since then, the investigation into her disappearance has intensified with a number of eye-opening revelations. The authors of the new book expose the many conflicting and false accounts given to investigators by Dennis Davern, Natalie’s sister Lana and by Wagner himself, in magazine interviews and books he has written intended to shore up his ever-changing story. They also uncover a long-running campaign by Lana to discredit Wagner in an effort to make him appear innocent.

Christopher Walken

There is no doubt that alcohol and pills played a role in Wood’s death, but the question remains — how did she end up in the freezing water? The answer may lie in the fact that the actress had a lifelong fear of water.

As a result, she was likely trying to board the dinghy when she slipped and fell in. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has not yet officially ruled the cause of her death, but it is known that she had bruises on her arms and face. This is consistent with a fall overboard.

When Wood died, she was on a yacht with her husband Robert Wagner and Brainstorm co-star Christopher Walken. According to the documentary Heavy, Walken had been drinking throughout the evening. A few hours before she was rescued, he and Wagner were having a verbal argument. After the argument, Walken left to go back to his state room and Wagner followed him. During the night, a dinghy was heard bouncing against the side of the boat, which caught the attention of a half-asleep Wood. She went to investigate and ended up slipping and falling in the water.

The following day, an Islander named Doug Bombard spotted her body in the water. The dinghy was beached nearby and was found to have several scratches on it. It was also noted that the star had bruises on her arms and face. The Coast Guard was notified and began searching for the actress.

After the search, the police ruled that she had fallen off the boat accidentally. However, the case was reopened in 2018 after a retired prosecutor petitioned the medical examiner to launch a coroner’s inquest jury.

In the months leading up to her death, the child-star-turned-Hollywood icon was in a turbulent relationship with Wagner. The two were arguing about their marriage and she had spoken to several friends about wanting to divorce him.

In a recent interview with 48 Hours, Detective John Corina said that while Wagner is not considered a suspect, he was a person of interest in the case. In the past, he has denied that he had anything to do with his wife’s death.