Natalie Wood has been dead for nearly 35 years, but her tragic drowning is still mired in mystery. And now, in a new interview with People, Wood’s daughter Natasha Gregson Wagner says she had a bad feeling the day her mom left for the ill-fated boating trip in November 1981 with her husband, Robert Wagner, and their friend, Christopher Walken.
Natalie Wood set off for the weekend yachting trip off of Catalina Island, but her 11-year-old daughter Natasha remembers that she pleaded with her mom not to leave, telling her, “Don’t go!”
“I remember she was getting dressed and putting on [her perfume] Jungle Gardenia on. They were getting ready to go on the boat. I was hugging her and telling her I loved her and to have a great trip. She had an angora sweater on and it was very soft. That’s my last memory of her.”
Natasha said that something didn’t feel right that day as she watched her famous mom take off for the weekend trip on Wagner’s boat Splendour.
“I had a funny feeling. I don’t know if it was just being a child who didn’t want her mom to leave or what it was but I didn’t want her to go.”
Natalie Wood never came back from the trip. The West Side Story star drowned at age 43 after she slipped and fell into the waters off the coast of Catalina. Wood’s death was ruled accidental, and her daughter says she was “in a state of shock for years.”
While Wood’s husband Robert Wagner has said very little publicly about Natalie Wood’s death—and Christopher Walken has said even less—the former Hart to Hart star did detail the night of his wife’s death in his memoir, Pieces of My Heart.
The Daily Mail posted excerpts from Wagner’s book, in which he detailed an argument he had with Walken, who was Natalie’s Brainstorm co-star while they were partying on the boat shortly before she died. Wagner reportedly became agitated over the fact that Walken was trying to give Natalie career advice, and Natalie walked away as the argument escalated.
“The last time I saw my wife she was fixing her hair in the bathroom while I was arguing with Chris,” Wagner wrote. “I saw her shut the door. She was going to bed.”
While Walken has remained mostly mum on the events of the night of Natalie Wood’s death, in a 1997 interview with Playboy he did open up and even offered up a theory on how the actress may have died.
“Anybody there saw the logistics — of the boat, the night, where we were, that it was raining — and would know exactly what happened…What happened that night only she knows, because she was alone. She had gone to bed before us, and her room was at the back. A dinghy was bouncing against the side of the boat, and I think she went out to move it. There was a ski ramp that was partially in the water. It was slippery – I had walked on it myself. She had told me she couldn’t swim; in fact, they had to cut a swimming scene from [Brainstorm]. She was probably half asleep, and she was wearing a coat.”
More than three decades after Natalie Wood’s tragic death, the investigation was reopened by the Los Angeles sheriff’s department. To keep her memory alive, her daughters Natasha and Courtney have developed a new fragrance named after their famous mother. The Natalie fragrance is inspired by Wood’s signature gardenia scent and serves a reminder of the “funny” and “fierce” mom.
Take a look at the video below to see Natalie Wood’s sister Lana Wood giving her theory on her sister’s death.
[Photo by Keystone Features/Getty Images]