Wagner Pushed Natalie Wood Off That Boat: Interview

Sister Lana Wood recalls story on old audio tape
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 15, 2012 2:22 PM CDT
Wagner Pushed Natalie Wood Off That Boat: Interview
In this April 23, 1972 file photo, actor Robert Wagner and his former wife, actress Natalie Wood, pose at the Dorchester Hotel in London, England.   (AP File Photo)

Newly unearthed audiotapes indicate Robert Wagner may have pushed girlfriend Natalie Wood off a boat and dithered while she drowned, CBS News reports. In a taped interview, Natalie's sister Lana Wood said she once received a call from Dennis Davern, captain of the boat on that fateful night in November 1981. "Dennis was obviously drinking" when he called, Lana says on the tape. "Dennis was not a close friend, and I don’t know why he decided to call me."

"He said it appeared to him as though RJ [Wagner's nickname] shoved her away and she went overboard. Dennis panicked and RJ said, ‘Leave her there. Teach her a lesson.'" According to Lana, Davern urged Wagner to take action, but he "kept drinking and kept drinking" and was in "a foul mood." Still, "it was an accident," says Lana. Davern has already accused Wagner of failing to look for Natalie after she went overboard, and a coroner has updated her death certificate from "drowning" to "drowning and other undetermined factors." (More Robert Wagner stories.)

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