These are the shocking claims from Hollywood insiders, experts and law-enforcement figures who spoke exclusively to the acclaimed podcast Fatal Voyage: The Mysterious Death of Natalie Wood.
The 12-part audio documentary sheds new light upon the mysterious demise of one of Hollywood’s greatest legends — the Oscar-winning beauty Natalie Wood.
“This is what Hollywood used to do,” said Tommy Lightfoot, a Hollywood publicist and insider whose bombshell interview appears in chapter 8 of the podcast.
“It would specialize in covering up investigations into deaths. That happened as far back as the '20s and '30s with Gene Harlow, and RJ knew this."
“He knew the image to the Hollywood players. He knew the image to the studio would mean something so he played on all of that."
“He got sympathy from all the right people, and they all surrounded him and protected him.”
Author Kathleen McKenna pointed to the influence of a seemingly invisible, yet supremely powerful force on the Wood investigation as proof of Reagan’s involvement.
“It had to have been somebody incredibly powerful to ensure there was no investigation and no questioning of one of the most famous women in the world dying in a completely bizarre way,” said McKenna.
“And no phone call to the Coast Guard until she'd been in the water for almost six hours. Only real power could cause nothing to happen."
“And I'm not a conspiracy theorist, and for anyone who's rolling their eyes I do not blame you for doing that. And why would the President of the United States protect an actor?"
“They were old friends, they'd been in the studio system together. I very much doubt Ronald Reagan thought he had killed Natalie, he just thought he was grieving and wanted to protect him.”
Marti Rulli, co-author of Goodbye Natalie, Goodbye Splendour, echoed Reagan’s powerful influence on the case.
“I've often wondered how high up did it go to protect Robert Wagner, keeping this story under wraps,” the author told Fatal Voyage.
More proof of an alleged cover-up can be found in the coroner's bungling of Wood's autopsy, claimed TV legal commentator Nancy Grace.
Grace cited the coroner's failure to scrape Wood's fingernails for tissue that could have yielded evidence of a struggle.
Meanwhile, retired trial lawyer Sam Perroni came forward to Fatal Voyage with the contents of a secret addendum to the autopsy report that the medical examiner commissioned from colleague Paul Miller — but whose sensational findings were never made public!
The coroner "didn't want to find any evidence of homicide,” Perroni told Fatal Voyage. “He wanted the autopsy performed and he wanted it performed fast so he could shut the book on this case.”
But perhaps the most sensational theory is one advanced by an earwitness who told Fatal Voyage in the podcast’s chapter 7 that she heard Wood's screams for help on the night she died.
Now Marilyn Wayne has come forward to add to her remarkable account, saying she received a warning in the days after the actress’ demise to zip her lip – or there would be consequences.
“My feeling was that the note had come from a very powerful Hollywood individual, henchman if you will, and it scared me to the point where for 19 years I was quiet,” she said.