Captain Polygraph – The boat captain who claims Robert Wagner silenced him on the night Natalie Wood drowned off the California coast has passed a lie detector test.
The actress’s death was ruled accidental, after a controversial investigation. But after 30 years in Hollywood infamy, the 1981 case was reopened last week.
Howard Temple, who administered the polygraph test, told HuffPost that “there was no question that he [Davern] was being up-front and straight” when he took the 2008 test.
Statements appeared truthful that Davern heard Wood and Wagner arguing on board The Splendour, as did Davern’s assertion that Wagner, Wood’s husband, told him not to turn on the boat’s search light when the 43-year-old actress couldn’t be located on board, Temple said.
According to Temple, there was no sign Davern lied when he claimed that Wagner told him not to tell anyone — including police — about what happened on the yacht over Thanksgiving weekend.
Temple, who founded Accredited Polygraph Services in 1971, shared his results with “Good Morning America” and then spoke to The Huffington Post.
Davern submitted to several hours of tests by Temple in the summer of 2008, because he was working on a memoir about the mysterious death of the Oscar-nominated actress on a boozy night near Santa Catalina.
Many states do not allow polygraph results to be submitted as evidence in court.
“He did not actually see the drowning,” Temple said. “He just heard the commotion.”
The book “Goodbye Natalie Goodbye Splendor” came out in 2009, but there’s renewed interest in Davern’s account of a half-hearted rescue effort and subsequent coverup, because the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department reopened the investigation into Wood’s death.
Wood is best remembered as Maria in “West Side Story” and as James Dean’s costar in “Rebel Without a Cause.”