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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Don't Go Near the Water

Like old flotsam and jetsam, sick jokes from the aftermath of Natalie Wood's 1981 drowning are resurfacing: "Why didn't Natalie Wood take a shower on the boat? Because she was going to wash up ashore." "What kind of wood doesn't float? Natalie." "What was the last thing Natalie Wood's mother said to her before she died? 'Natalie, honey, it's OK to have a few cocktails, but don't go overboard!'"

With that cold case now reheated, more than 30 years later, here come those jokes, in our faces like a gush of stagnant, salty water. Spinning out of the murky vortex off Catalina Island, here's Natalie Wood's drowning: the remix!

Dennis Davern, cap'n of the yacht, "Splendour," owned by Ms Wood and husband Robert Wagner, finally decided to make a few bucks by writing a tell-all account about the incident in 2009. It was entitled, "Goodbye Natalie, Goodbye Splendour," co-written with one Marti Rulli. Thanks for the blah-blah-blah, Cap, but looks like you may be in deep seawater yourself. In the book, the Cap'n said he believes Wood's death was a direct result of a fight with Wagner. In 2010, His Nibs said he believes the investigation of Wood's death was incompetent and suggested there was a cover-up. He added that he "regrets" misleading investigators by keeping quiet... at Robert Wagner's request.

Well, shiver me timbers! When asked if our fearless Cap'n could face charges for possibly lying to authorities during the 1981 investigation, the police lieutenant in charge of the re-opened investigation had this to say: "We'll probably end up talking to the captain sooner or later, and we'll assess what he has to say then and now."

All right, Caps, get yourself a lawyer. Now! 'Cause there's a storm brewin' on the horizon, I gotta tell you, lookin' out my crow's nest.

As a life-long non-swimmer (only one of many skills I've failed to master due to extreme but unexplainable lack of interest), I shudder with horror at the thought of death by drowning. Natalie Wood said, once, in a tv interview, that her greatest fear was of dark seawater. I can empathize, and shudder at the thought of that ever happening to me. Still, I took two separate swimming classes at the Y and flunked both!

Three-time Oscar nominee, Natalie, may have sung "I Feel Pretty" in the film version of West Side Story (ok, actually, she lip-synched to it if you wanna get technical) but, when her body was found floating in the water about a mile away from the yacht, she was wearing a long nightgown, socks and a down jacket.

Less-talented sibling, Lana Wood, took offense. "My sister... would never go to another boat or to shore dressed in a nightgown and socks!"
So many fashion faux pas when we die suddenly! Maria Montez was, no doubt, feeling pretty, too, when she drowned. In her own bathroom, yet! Maria could swim; I remember, from watching Cobra Woman, but that doesn't help in your bathtub. Foul play was expected, though the official cause of death was listed as "heart attack." Well, I mean, yeah; you drown, your heart stops, right?
So, don't go near the water! Look what happened to Isadora Duncan, just driving by it (at least in the movie version starring Vanessa Redgrave)! Isadora was no doubt feeling pretty when she grandly tossed that long, flowing scarf about her neck ... only to choke when it got caught in the open-spoked tire and rear axle of the automobile in which the dancing diva was but a blithe and carefree passenger. Don't you hate it when attempts at egomaniacal fabulousness go wrong!

Natalie may have found Splendor in the Grass but she should have stuck with terra firma, because the more firmer, the less terror! Never mind Splendour on the choppy water!

"It would be very satisfying to pin down an exact cause to Natalie Wood's death (and possibly who else was involved), but it doesn't seem like we'll be getting that luxury. Not yet, anyway," said E! On-line News last night with pronounced disappointment. "The Los Angeles Sheriff's Department confirmed to E! News that there has not been any evidence of foul play in the iconic Hollywood star's case and it is still being ruled as an accidental drowning. However, they also stress that the case 'is still being investigated and is still active.'"

Cap'n, I said get yourself a lawyer. Now!


  1. Is this so hard to investigate? I mean, weren't Wagner and Walken (and the Cap'n) the only ones on the boat? Get Mariska Hargitay (no stranger to gruesome death herself, having been in the back seat when her Mom, Jayne Mansfield, was decapitated) to grill them all! I know W&W are both good actors but can they really weather a tough questioning on this?

  2. Me thinks the L.A. police are unwilling to get too deep with this old, hot mess. Where's that fucking Gloria Allred when you need her?

  3. I guess it makes a good summer read.