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Nearly 37 years after Natalie Woods died, the late actress’ yacht captain Dennis Davern is sharing what he remembers about her mysterious death.
During a Wednesday morning appearance on Megyn Kelly Today, Davern doubled down on his previous claim that he believes Wood’s former husband Robert Wagner pushed Wood off the side of the boat.
“I was interviewed by the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, a lengthy interview, and I gave them all the information that I could give them,” Davern said of his most recent conversations with authorities. In his original testimony, Davern didn’t name Wagner as a potential suspect.
Davern continued: “After I gave them all that information, they asked me if I’d be willing to take a polygraph from the L.A. Sheriff’s Department and I said, ‘Yes, I would.'”
He then told host Megyn Kelly that he passed the polygraph test with “flying colors.”
In the 2014 book, Goodbye Natalie, Goodbye Splendour, Davern and co-author Marti Rulli allege that Wagner pushed Wood off the yacht to her death. Rulli appeared on Kelly’s show alongside Davern, where the writer attempted to defend Davern for waiting years to tell police what he believes to be the truth.
“The first year after [Davern] stayed with Wagner, he wanted Dennis under his wing. So it was very hard to talk with his family, his family, his friends,” Rulli said of Davern, who continued to work for Wagner for a full year after Wood’s 1981 death. “And when I finally did get involved, and that’s when [Davern] planned to move away from L.A., we started early. This has been decades of effort.”
Davern — who hosts a new podcast, Fatal Voyage: The Mysterious Death of Natalie Wood, with Rulli — also alleged that Wagner held him “hostage,” suggesting that the actor did so in an effort to bar him from telling the truth about Wood’s tragic incident.
“When I was at Robert Wagner’s house, I was actually there for just about a year. Robert Wagner got me a job at the studio. He was doing the TV series called Hart to Hart. If I would have a morning call, or something like that, to go to the studio, his driver would pick me up and take me from the house to the studio,” he said. “At the end of my work day, the driver would bring me back to the house. When I would go to bed for the night, you’d close the door [to my room] and there was sort of like a magnetic lock to where you couldn’t open the door.”
Added Davern: “I couldn’t get myself out of my own room. I thought maybe the whole house has this security system. Whether it did or not, I don’t know, but to me it was a very locked-in feeling.”
Wagner, now 88, had no comment when contacted by Megyn Kelly Today.
Wood drowned off the coast of Catalina in November 1981 after she went missing from her family’s yacht, Splendour. Wood, Wagner, Christopher Walken and Davern were all on board the night before Wood was found floating in the water, wearing a red down jacket and flannel nightgown. She was 43.
Davern and Rulli’s interview comes months after police named Wagner a person of interest in the investigation back in February. The death was originally ruled an accident, following a two-week investigation, but in 2011, the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department reopened the death investigation, and a year later the L.A. coroner’s office amended Wood’s death certificate to change the manner of death from accidental drowning to “drowning and other undetermined factors.”
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