Overheard on CNN.com: Readers debate Natalie Wood theories
Authorities are investigating the 1981 death of actress Natalie Wood. The 30th anniversary will be on November 29.
November 18th, 2011
08:34 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Readers debate Natalie Wood theories

Editor's note: Readers have a lot to say about stories, and we're listening. Overheard on CNN.com is a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

Commenters engaged in a spirited debate about the reopened case of Natalie Wood's 1981 drowning. Los Angeles County authorities announced Friday that actor Robert Wagner wasn't a suspect, but authorities have received "substantial" new information to initiate a new inquiry.

Wagner waited hours to call Coast Guard after Natalie Wood vanished, captain says

Readers theorized about the three men on the Catalina Island yacht with Wood that night: Wagner, Dennis Davern (the captain), and actor Christopher Walken.

"There are a lot of holes here," said billybob22. "Probably some of them will never be answered. However, the things that don't add up should be looked into. Whose story is correct? The captain, Wagner or neither? Wagner's responses, at least from this article, look very suspicious, so I don't know. I suppose the only thing is to remember the lovely actress whose life came to a horrible end that night."

SmartDummy replied, "The way I see it, if they haven't figured it out after 30 years, they won't now. I think there's another motive behind this investigation."

allycat52 said, "I think the bruises that were stated to be found on Wood during the autopsy are a telltale sign that there most likely was foul play. I don't understand why it wasn't assumed suspicious at the time. I think Wagner has some big-time explaining to do. Natalie's ghost has probably been haunting him all these years."

DownByTheSea was one of the commenters wondering about the captain of the yacht. "You are going on the word of the captain, who seemingly has something to gain. Perhaps he did it, it is just as likely. Just because he was a 'captain' doesn't mean anything. He was just some guy they hired to steer a boat. Beautiful woman on board, beautiful woman mad at her husband ... alcohol. Some men might see an opportunity. Just saying. There were three men on that boat."

A few people wondered what Christopher Walken might know.

Jag0419: "Can somebody please find Christopher Walken??? It seems he's the only person present that night who hasn't talked, written a book or otherwise profited from her tragic demise."

CAmomontheru: "I've always admired him both as an actor and as a person. You won't see him out there trying to tell his side of the story for profit. You'll probably see it in testimony only."

Some questioned the reasoning of reopening such an old case. David2100 said, "It's a good thing that LA has a low crime rate, so they can work on 30-year-old cases."

In other news ...

Readers reacted to some other stories that were heavily viewed Friday. Here's a quick peek:

A week of Wall Street layoffs

Many big banks are rushing to lay off workers, and an estimated 75,000 job cuts have already been announced. This is a busy season as companies seek to make cuts ahead of the holidays and year's end. Many commenters criticized the companies' management practices, and some connected the cuts to Occupy Wall Street.

"The job creators are at it again," said gremmie69. "If they keep creating jobs at this rate, the entire country will be on unemployment in time for Christmas. This is our reward for bailing the banks out after they gambled with our money and lost. And people wonder why Americans are protesting Wall Street."

But sladejim said, "Look, there are plenty of countries that don't embrace capitalism. "If you don't like one that does then choose one that doesn't. But keep in mind, you may not be able to get Starbucks there."

We also heard about layoffs from the perspective of the person handing out the pink slips, leading to an interesting exchange in the middle of one thread:

bjj: "Do you actually think people enjoy laying people off? Have you ever had to? I once laid off 60 people in one day, 5 minutes per person for 5 hours. When I was done I spent an hour in the restroom throwing up, and felt like hell for a month."

Theoldchief: "They aren't people to them. When you lay off employees by the thousands, they become nothing more than numbers that affect the bottom line. If they were looked at as individuals, I'm sure there would be more reactions similar to bjj's."

Test confirms particles appear to travel faster than the speed of light

Physicists say they have been able to confirm a previous test showing that tiny particles called neutrinos can travel faster than the speed of light, thus challenging Albert Einstein's special theory of relativity. Of course, a lot of research remains to be done.

jj said what many others also expressed: "I am so awed by the scientists researching the mysteries of the universe. The new physics changes everything."

Others said Einstein was not infallible.

N49: "Yes...Einstein can be wrong. He has become this mythical, supernatural being whose hypothesis became laws. Like Jesus, the myth and image surrounding this man has evolved over time into something that is so far from reality."

Mikeinfc: "Even Einstein was smart enough to admit that his theories were in fact theories, because the science to prove or disprove them didn't exist yet."

Commenters bounced physics concepts around and talked about scientific thinking itself.

erimano: "I bet you if Einstein had the computers we have today we would be even further in our knowledge of physics."

Duckmanbill: "What makes you say that? Einstein's true genius was in his ability to perform thought experiments. Don't need computers for that."

Sam I. Am: "Yeah, I agree. People like Newton, Einstein and Hawking (to name but a few) think on a whole different level! Newton INVENTED differential calculus, Einstein's space/time & relativity ideas, and Hawking's ideas on the structure of the universe, black holes, etc. ... and that was from a book in layman's terms I once read. Really mind-warping! (For me at least!)"

What's your take? Join the conversation below and in the latest stories on CNN.com. Or, sound off on video via CNN iReport.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

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soundoff (42 Responses)
  1. leeintulsa

    I must say domestic violence was a bad thing then, too. That was about the time i tried to intervene between strangers on the street only to have her ambush me for hurting him.. Good times..

    November 20, 2011 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
    • leeintulsa

      It was enough to make a young man put away his cape and utility belt forever..

      November 20, 2011 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
  2. leeintulsa

    @joey: are you saying she didn't sing her own song? Next, you're gonna tell me she wasn't even puerto rican..

    November 20, 2011 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
  3. Be advised

    Ask joey questions only if you have a high tolerance for bull shiit responses...

    November 20, 2011 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
  4. Kathy

    @ Lee, that is true; all of her singing was dubbed.

    November 20, 2011 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  5. be advised

    That anything coming out of philip's mouth is patent bull sh!t...backed up by years of vomiting patent bull sh!t...who will continue to live in his own delusions of patent bull sh!t...

    November 20, 2011 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  6. banasy©

    Maria's singing was dubbed by the fabulous Marnie Nixon.
    She had an extraordinary voice, imo.

    November 20, 2011 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |


    November 20, 2011 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jesu

    Nothing could ever bring back the very lovely Natalie Wood. Speculation is useless and could cause more harm to those who loved her.

    November 20, 2011 at 9:42 pm | Report abuse |
  9. chris Eisele

    My theory, and it is only that, a theory, is that all had been drinking heavily and acting in an altered state. That would explain the altercation possibly motivated by an "involvement" between Natalie Wood and Christopher Walken, RJ Wagner's jealousy (after all, she had walked out on him with Warren Beatty and broken the trust in their first marriage,) and the fact that it could have affected an impairment of faculties in Wagner which made him less than able to deal with the reality his wife had disappeared and he was in no shape to make decisions....I would not see foul play, but certainly substance abuse which alters behavior and faculties....

    November 21, 2011 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Eric

    1.) two dozen bruises.... TWO DOZEN bruises. She was in some way or another abused over twenty times..... They obviously had a violent domestic argument and fight. They never really got along, got divorced, remarried. There's motive.

    2.) She was very afraid of the ocean, especially dark water, as mentioned in an interview. Very unlikely that she would even consider getting off the boat, unless she was being beat up so badly that it was her best option. That's an unlikely explanation for Wagner's defense.

    3.) she was in a NIGHTGOWN, not something you wear when departing a ship, even if very angry with someone on board. You'd be so cold you would die of hypothermia...Again not good for Wagner's defense.

    4.) Wagner's and Davern's stories don't even match up. This only happens when somebody is hiding something...It's either Wagner of Davern. I'm leaning towards Wagner considering he's the only one with a motive.

    My best guess as to what happened is Wagner was so upset he tossed her off the boat. Then he through off the dingy, either to give to her so she wouldn't drown, or he threw it off as a desperate measure to make it appear that she got off the boat by choice. Either way the reason she was off the boat all points to Wagner.

    All this information and Wagner isn't a suspect? Unbelievable...

    September 29, 2012 at 7:49 am | Report abuse |
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