Dr. Phil Steps Into Fray of Natalie Wood Death

Wood's sister, yacht captain tell Phil McGraw they're sure husband Robert Wagner killed her
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 15, 2018 6:00 AM CDT
Dr. Phil Steps Into Fray of Natalie Wood Death
In this April 3, 1978, file photo, Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood arrive at the Academy Awards in Los Angeles.   (AP Photo, File)

For nearly 40 years, the death of Natalie Wood has remained a mystery. First the 43-year-old actress was ruled to have died of accidental drowning after disappearing from a yacht she was on with husband Robert Wagner and actor Christopher Walken. Then, in 2012, that ruling shifted to drowning plus "other undetermined factors," with LA County Sheriff's Department investigators suspicious there was more to the case. Wood's sister, Lana Wood, has contended for years that Wagner was responsible for her sibling's death, and this week, Dr. Phil McGraw added oxygen to that theory by having Lana Wood and the yacht's captain, Dennis Davern, on his show for two days of interviews on the subject, USA Today reports. "You believe Robert Wagner murdered Natalie Wood?" McGraw asked Davern, who'd initially stuck with the accidental drowning story. "Yes, I really do," Davern answered.

He says he heard Wood and Wagner fighting, and when the noise ceased, he went up on the deck to find Wagner standing there solo; Davern says Wagner insisted they say Wood likely slipped and fell into the water. Lana Wood sticks by that, too. "Are you suggesting that [Wagner] knocked her out and threw her in the water?" McGraw asked. "Something like that, absolutely," she answered. Per Us Weekly, Lana Wood also recently appeared on a podcast in which she says that, shortly after her sister's death, Hollywood exec Rowland Perkins informed her Wagner was keeping her out of Tinseltown. "He said, 'Stop trying to get a job in production or acting. You've been blacklisted by Robert Wagner," Lana Wood said. A rep for Wagner, now 88, tells USA Today that Davern and Lana Wood are "despicable human beings" and that "they should be ashamed of themselves." (More Natalie Wood stories.)

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