DECADES after actress Natalie Wood tragically drowned off a yacht, the boat’s captain is coming forward with his version of events. This morning, Dennis Davern, who was on the boat the night Wood died, told Megyn Kelly that he believes Robert Wagner pushed his wife into the water. Davern insists that he wanted to tell the truth about Wood’s 1981 death sooner, but he alleges that Wagner, his longtime employer, prevented him from doing so. Davern told Kelly that he lived in Wagner’s home for about a year after Wood’s death, and during that time, Wagner held him “hostage” by arranging his transportation to and from work and trapping him in his room with a “magnetic lock.”
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. This morning, Davern and Rulli clarified those claims, and the captain promised that fans should believe him because he passed a polygraph test administered by the Los Angeles police “with flying colours.” Wagner maintains his innocence and has characterised Davern and Rulli as “despicable.”
‘There was a magnetic lock… I couldn’t get myself out of my own room,’ Dennis Davern, who was on the boat the night of Natalie Wood’s death and claims he believes Robert Wagner pushed Wood, says he was also ‘held hostage’ by Wagner. #MegynTODAY pic.twitter.com/t5DA30IN5X— Megyn Kelly TODAY (@MegynTODAY)
When asked why they chose to come forward so many years after Wood’s death, Rulli explained that Wagner kept Davern “under his wing”the first year after the accident. “It was very hard for Dennis to talk to his family, his friends,” said Rulli. Davern continued, explaining that he lived at Wagner’s house for “just about a year,” and the actor got him a job on his series, Hart to Hart. According to Davern, Wagner managed his entire schedule. “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. At the end of my workday, the driver would bring me back to the house,” he said.
But that wasn’t all Wagner controlled. “When I would go to bed for the night, my room — you’d close the door and there was sort of like a magnetic lock. To where you couldn’t open the door,” said Davern. “I couldn’t get myself out of my own room … To me, it was a very locked-in feeling.”
Davern and Rulli’s appearance on Megyn Kelly Today comes just months after Los Angeles police announced a new development in the case. In February 2018, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Lieutenant John Corina told a 48 Hours special that Wagner is a person of interest in the investigation. Police are reportedly interested in speaking with Wagner about the events of that night, but the actor has refused to talk to investigators since the cast was officially reopened in 2011.