News that police have re-opened the 30 year old cold case of the death of Hollywood star, Natalie Wood, brought back a personal memory of Natalie and her husband Robert Wagner, who worked in England between 1972 and 1974 on the wartime series Colditz.
In the early 1970s I was in the BBC Television Centre with my husband. We were meeting an old friend who worked there. While walking along a curved corridor I became aware of footsteps just behind us.
Then a soft, mellifluous male voice asked: ”Excuse me. Can you tell us the way to the BBC Club?” I turned and looked straight into the face of Robert Wagner and his wife Natalie Wood. I almost gasped out: ”Oh, follow us, we are going there!”
Robert Wagner was certainly very handsome, but Natalie Wood was without doubt the most beautiful woman I have ever seen in the flesh - and that includes Princess Diana.
No film or photo ever did Natalie justice. She was simply stunning. She was small with lovely dark hair, flawless skin, a gorgeous smile, and the most wonderful huge, expressive brown eyes.
I saw Robert and Natalie later in the BBC Club and formed a lasting impression of them of a devoted couple -they had recently married each other for the second time. Robert Wagner seemed to me a real gentleman in every sense of the word.
Natalie died tragically and mysteriously after falling from the couple’s yacht Splendour on November 29th 1981. Now the yacht’s captain, Dennis Davern, has co-authored a book with Marti Rulli, Goodbye Natalie: Goodbye Splendour, which has attracted the attention of the LA County Sheriff’s department.
Robert Wagner, who married actress Jill St John in 1990, wrote his own version of events in Pieces of My Heart in 2008.
Conspiracy theorists will probably regard the new book and the investigation as a signal to start making wild accusations against Wagner. But I recall that night long ago when I saw him with Natalie and I have no doubt that he is innocent of any involvement in his late wife’s death, which was, I believe, just a terrible accident.