To many who were alive (and cognizant) in 1981, or weirdos like me who found a second-hand copy of the biography her sister wrote, Natalie Wood’s life and death holds an endless fascination. She was an A-list actor from the time she was a little girl with 1947’s Miracle on 34th Street, and successfully made the transition from child star to adult movie star, a rare occurrence. She starred in classics such as Rebel Without a Cause, West Side Story, Splendor in the Grass, and others, and yet no article about her feels complete without the mention of the suspicious circumstances that she died under.
Long story short, in 1981 she was boozing heavily on a yacht in Southern California with her then-husband, Robert Wagner, and Christopher Walken (of all people). Something happened, and Natalie ended up in the water and drowned. These are facts that most people agree on (unless you’re really into weirdo conspiracy theories, which I obviously am, but not in this case.) Wagner’s version of the story is that he verbally fought with Natalie, she was extremely drunk and didn’t want to spend the night on the yacht with him so she stormed off, got into the lifeboat, and ultimately drowned. However, something has always seemed off about the incident and her sister, Lana Wood, has banged the drum that Natalie’s death was not accidental for a very long time, now. Lana insisted that Natalie was deathly afraid of water, and never would have gotten into a lifeboat, drunk or sober, as Wagner’s version of the events went. The Los Angeles Sherriff’s Department, whose jurisdiction Natalie’s death falls under, agreed and reopened the case in 2011, going so far as to name Wagner a person of interest in Natalie’s death.
Cut to today, when Lana began her first of a two-part, two-day appearance on Dr. Phil. (Yes, he is objectively terrible, but he’s giving her a platform to speak, so go with it.)
(The second part of the interview airs tomorrow, Friday September 12th)
Lana goes straight for the jugular and declares that Wagner “has something to hide.”
The video is brutal. In one portion, Lana confronts Wagner on camera and asks him why he refuses to talk to authorities about Natalie’s death. Rather than address it, he simply asks why Lana would confront him about it before (weakly) insisting that he has talked to “people” about the death.
Whether or not Robert Wagner has something to hide, he is one of the few people who were there that night. What he knows, and how forthright he’s been about it is something we can only speculate on. (I mean I’d like to go all the way to bright and throw around some real accusations, but I feel that would test the tolerance we have towards libel here at Pajiba.)
Hopefully, the truth about Natalie Wood’s death comes to light eventually, and god help us if Dr. Phil plays a part in that. Something good should come out of his show every once and a while, right?
Header Image Source: Getty