Dennis Davern, the boat captain who was there on the final night time of Natalie Wooden’s life, is firing again after a rep for the late star’s husband informed Fox Information he and Wooden’s youthful sister had been “despicable human beings” for accusing the actor of being concerned in her demise.
“I believe [Robert Wagner] seems like, along with his harsh phrases, the individuals will hear as a result of he’s a star,” Davern informed Fox Information. “The underside line is, I’m not despicable. I’ve cooperated with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Division. I’ve gone to … the murder detectives. I’ve taken a polygraph check on each query, intensive polygraph exams on questions that confirmed I handed. I’m a truthful particular person. I’ve no cause to lie. And I’m not a despicable particular person. Disgrace on him!”
Davern and former Bond Lady Lana Wooden participated in a 12-part podcast titled “Deadly Voyage: The Mysterious Demise of Natalie Wooden,” that launched on July 20, the day that the doomed display screen siren would have turned 80 years outdated. Within the podcast each claimed Wagner was allegedly accountable for Wooden’s demise. It was additionally the primary time in 4 years that the boat captain spoke out concerning the night time Wooden died.
Wagner, 88, has solely harsh phrases for the pair. “They’re despicable human beings, capitalizing on the unintended demise of a beloved member of the Wagner household,” his rep informed Fox Information. “They need to be ashamed of themselves.”
Natalie Wooden’s physique was discovered floating within the water off Santa Catalina Island on Nov. 29, 1981. She was 43. The “West Aspect Story” star was touring on the household’s yacht Splendour with Wagner, Davern and actor Christopher Walken.
Whereas the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Workplace introduced Wagner had been named “an individual of curiosity” within the “suspicious” demise this yr, the “Hart to Hart” star has reportedly refused to talk with officers because the case was reopened in 2011.
“I believe he has himself so satisfied in his story that he doesn’t wish to converse with investigators,” stated Davern. “I believe he’s afraid he could get cornered and he could fumble. I’m not likely certain, however that’s what he ought to actually do.”
It’s been reported Davern had beforehand bought his story to tabloids for cash and collaborated on a tell-all e book through the years. Whereas Davern co-authored a 2009 e book alongside Marti Rulli titled “Goodbye Natalie, Goodbye Splendour,” he claimed it was his approach of lastly coming ahead. Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Lt. John Corina additionally stated in February of this yr that his model of occasions “suits.”
“The very last thing I used to be out to do was attempt to revenue from a e book,” he stated. “I nonetheless have my day job.”
Rulli informed Fox Information Davern reached out to her in 1983, however was initially hesitant about going public along with his story. Nevertheless, he needed to get the eye of regulation enforcement to reopen the case. She revealed that after an legal professional learn the e book, he launched a petition to get Wooden’s case reopened. The petition was then despatched to the county sheriff’s division with testimonials from different witnesses.
“Two weeks after they obtained the package deal, they tell us that they had been reopening Natalie’s case,” stated Rulli. “We met with detectives, they gave Dennis a polygraph check, which he handed with flying colours they usually now consider each single factor that we introduced to the general public.
“The detectives would nonetheless love to speak with [Wagner], particularly if he’s refuting the data given on this podcast and the data introduced over the previous 10 years. If he’s refuting the data, go to the detectives and show it unsuitable. He can’t. So he avoids them. … I can’t identify something extra despicable than being named an individual of curiosity in your spouse’s demise.”
Davern admitted he modified his story through the years, however solely as a result of he was allegedly ordered by Wagner as media consideration intensified over Wooden’s sudden passing. He claimed that call haunted him through the years.
“Within the very starting when Robert Wagner went again to his home in Beverly Hills after leaving the island in a helicopter, I used to be later delivered to his house,” Davern alleged. “Robert Wagner stated, ‘The three of us need to get our story straight and that is what it’s going to be — it was an accident. Natalie… slipped and fell into the water and she or he drowned. And that’s going to be our story.’
“So me being a younger man at the moment, and believing in Robert Wagner a lot, I believed I need to do what he desires to do right here as a result of this can be a horrible, horrible factor that’s occurred. So, I went together with that story. After which the case was closed. It was over. Nevertheless it actually wasn’t over for me. That’s after I contacted Marti.”
Davern, who first met the Hollywood couple within the mid-‘70s, initially described them as “very, very fantastic individuals” who warmed as much as him shortly.
“I simply had a sense we had been going to have an exquisite friendship [while] working for them,” he stated. “To me, they had been simply the right couple… they had been completely flawless.”
Nevertheless, Davern described Wooden’s final night time of her life as “a dwelling hell.”
“It was the stress,” he recalled. “It was increase ever because the journey started all the way in which as much as that night time. The jealousy, the trend, the arguing, the combating — the whole lot. It was simply extraordinarily horrible. I believe the explanation why Robert Wagner was so offended that night time and in that jealous rage is whereas Natalie and Christopher Walken had been making a film, rumor had it that there was one thing happening. So approach earlier than that weekend, this jealousy had been increase.
“And after we had gone away for the weekend, it was shut quarters. Robert Wagner was going through Christopher Walken with Natalie there. It simply made it all of the extra worse. That’s why the whole lot intensified and it turned out to be essentially the most horrible weekend ever.”
The couple was identified in Hollywood for inviting family and friends aboard their yacht for cruising. Since Walken and Wooden had been filming what could be her final film, 1983’s “Brainstorm,” it wasn’t uncommon for the actor to be invited for a weekend getaway.
“I’ve spoken with individuals from North Carolina the place they had been filming,” stated Rulli. “Everybody I’ve spoken with, they stated that they simply gave the impression to be pals. … Wagner had all the time contained himself. However he was jealous of Christopher Walken. … So the entire thing collectively was a mixture that ended up with Natalie Wooden lifeless.”
In response, a rep for Walken, now 75, informed Fox Information, “That is all bulls— so after all we do not remark!”
Whereas Davern is hopeful new consideration surrounding Wooden’s demise will immediate Wagner to lastly come ahead, he nonetheless has his doubts.
“I wish to see the case solved,” he stated. “[But] completely he’ll take it to the grave.”
In September, Detective Ralph Hernandez informed the producers of “Deadly Voyage” that investigators are nonetheless keen to talk with Wagner. He confirmed that because the case was reopened in 2011, new witnesses have come ahead with particulars that might make clear what brought on Wooden, who was reportedly scared of water, to drown. Nevertheless, Wagner’s aspect of the story could be essential in lastly fixing the decades-long thriller.
“The actual fact is we’ve lots of info as to the occasions of what occurred that night,” he defined. “Now we have lots of proof that tends to level to a really suspicious demise and will surely point out the opportunity of foul play. The issue is, whereas we will show the occasions that led as much as the argument in the back of the boat, finally we will’t show how she ended up within the water.
“With out [Wagner’s] interview, with out his cooperation, we could by no means get to that fact. If there was a witness, that witness both isn’t coming ahead or has since handed away. It makes it fairly tough to ascertain us making an arrest anytime quickly.”