The Oscar-nominated actress he had married twice is said to have fallen overboard as they partied drunkenly with another actor, Christopher Walken. Wagner has in a forthcoming autobiography, 'Pieces of My Heart', admitted for the first time that he was jealous of Walken, whose performances in 'The Deer Hunter' and 'Pennies from Heaven' made him a rising star.
According to the actor's account, a fight had broken out after a late dinner on the yacht, which was moored off the island of Santa Catalina, near Los Angeles. The fight started after Walken suggested that Wood should star in more films instead of caring for two young children, making Wagner lose his cool and smash a wine bottle on the table.
Wood immediately got up and went down below to their cabin, and Wagner said that was where he saw her for the last time, as he went back up on deck with Walken to cool down. It was only at about midnight that he returned to the cabin and discovered that his wife was missing, and that the yacht's dinghy had gone too. He searched for Wood on the yacht Splendor but in was not able to locate her.
"Now he thinks that Natalie heard the dinghy banging loosely against the Splendor, went to fix it and slipped on the 'swim step', knocking herself unconscious, and rolled into the water, and the dinghy just floated away," Times Online quoted a friend familiar with Wagner's manuscript as saying. "There was no conspiracy, nobody walking in on something sexual, nothing absurd like that," the friend said.
The coastguard found the drifting dinghy a few hours later, the inquest into her death heard. Soon after that Wood's body was spotted floating nearby. The coroner found that Wood had consumed seven or eight glasses of wine but was probably not drunk. He ruled that she had fallen into the water by accident and had been dragged down by her heavy clothing. She was 43.
"He writes that he went through the inquest in a daze and after that he took to his bed for eight days in a catatonic state, blaming himself for her death. He's never entirely recovered, but how can you?" the friend added.