Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner in an undated photo.
In an uncomfortable interview on NBC's TODAY, the former captain of the boat off which actress Natalie Wood drowned in 1981 alleged that her husband, actor Robert Wagner, was responsible for her death.
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Dennis Davern, once captain of the couple's boat, The Splendour, is now urging homicide investigators to take another look at the 30-year-old case. Wagner, a Hollywood beauty known for roles in films like "Rebel Without a Cause" and "West Side Story," was working on the 1983 film "Brainstorm" with actor Christopher Walken at the time. Walken was on the boat with the couple when Wood died.
During the TODAY interview, Davern appeared reticent and unwilling to tell interviewer David Gregory what happened or what he was alleging. When pressed, he did say "I made some terrible decisions and mistakes. ... I made mistakes by not telling the honest truth in a police report."
When further pressed by Gregory, Davern said he believed Wagner had intentionally kept the investigation into her death low-profile. And when asked if he thought Wagner was "responsible" for Wood's death, Davern said, "yes, I would say so. Yes."
Davern is co-author, with Marti Rulli, of the 2009 book "Goodbye, Natalie, Goodbye, Splendour." Rulli also appeared on TODAY. She told Gregory that when Wood disappeared after a reported fight with Wagner, Davern wanted to help in the search but was dissauded by the actress' husband.
"Dennis wanted to do everything. Make a phone call , turn on the searchlight," Rulli said. "His instincts told him something was terribly wrong, and Robert Wagner asked him not to."
KTLA reports that according to Wagner's account of the night, the argument concerned Wood's balance of personal life vs. career, and he we was upset that Walken was advocating that Wood focus on acting even at the expense of her husband and children.
Reports in the past have said that Wood may have been trying to board or secure a dinghy attached to the boat and instead slipped and fell into the water. She was wearing a down jacket over a nightgown when her body was found. The case has never completely been settled in the minds of many fans, particularly because Wood once said in an interview that dark seawater was her greatest fear.
The L.A. County Sheriff's Department announced Thursday that it had reopened the investigation into Wood's death. A news conference has been scheduled for 11 a.m. PT Friday with the detective leading the investigation.
In a statement, Wagner said Thursday that he supports the new investigation, but with the caveat that he trusts any new information used in the investigation will come "from a credible source or sources other than those simply trying to profit from the 30 year anniversary of her tragic death."
Davern told Gregory, "I'm far away from even thinking about profiting over a 30-year anniversary. I have known this information for many, many years. And my book has been out for two years. I'm not in it for any kind of profit. I'm in it for the justice of the whole situation."
We will continue to update this story. Watch the video below to see Davern and Rulli's interview with David Gregory.