What Christopher Walken has said about the night Natalie Wood died

When news broke that Robert Wagner is officially a “person of interest” in the 1981 death of Natalie Wood and that her cause of death is now deemed “suspicious,” actor Christopher Walken — one of the last people to see Wood alive — didn’t make a statement. But don’t expect him to say much on the topic — ever.

Walken was one of the three people on Wood and Wagner’s boat, the Splendour, when she was found dead, floating in the water off California’s Catalina Island, on Nov. 29, 1981. The third person was Dennis Davern, the boat’s captain. While Wagner wrote about the tragedy in his 2009 memoir, Pieces of My Heart: A Life, and Davern has given interviews to the likes of Today and TMZ, Walken has rarely commented.

He gave a curt quote to People magazine about Wood’s death in 1986: “I don’t know what happened,” Walken said. “She slipped and fell in the water. I was in bed then. It was a terrible thing. Look, we’re in a conversation I won’t have. It’s a f***ing bore.”

19 PHOTOS
Natalie Wood's life in pictures
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Natalie Wood's life in pictures
Daily News front page November 30, 1981, Headline: NATALIE WOOD DEAD - Body found floating off Catalina. ALLEN EXITS - Takes 'leave of absence' Richard Alen: 'I certainly feel that I have done nothing wrong' (Photo By: /NY Daily News via Getty Images)
The gravesite of actress Natalie Wood is seen in the Westwood Village Memorial Park in Los Angeles, on August 18, 2009. The burial spot located just above the final resting place of Marilyn Monroe is going on sale for a cool 500,000 dollars on auction website eBay. The tomb in the Westwood Village Memorial Park in Los Angeles is currently occupied by one Richard Poncher, who died 23 years ago aged 81. But his widow is having his body moved over one spot and auctioning the site above Monroe's, hoping to earn enough to pay off her 1.6-million-dollar Beverly Hills home. The cemetery is also the final resting place for celebrities as Natalie Wood, Truman Capote, Frank Zappa, Dean Martin, Jack Lemmon, Burt Lancaster, Billy Wilder, and more recently Farrah Fawcett. AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - AUGUST 9: Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood at the premiere of 'The Godfather' on August 9, 1972 in London, England. (Photo by Tom Wargacki/WireImage)
379373 06: Lana Wood poses with her sister, the late actress Natalie Wood, right, when they were children. (Photo courtesy of Lana Wood/Delivered by Newsmakers)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 11: Actress Natalie Wood attends American Movie Awards on February 11, 1980 at the Wilshire Theater in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Actress Natalie Wood photographed in 1979. (Photo by Jack Mitchell/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 21: Natalie Wood during a cocktail party to honor the beginning of film shooting 'The Concorde-Airport 79' by David Lowel Rich, November 21, 1978 in Paris,France. (Photo by Michel GINFRAY/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
NBC MONDAY NIGHT AT THE MOVIES -- 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof' -- Pictured: Natalie Wood as Maggie -- (Photo by: NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
American actress Natalie Wood on the set of This Property is Condemned based on the play by Tennessee Williams and directed by Sydney Pollack. (Photo by Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)
American actress Natalie Wood (Photo by Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND: Legendary US singer Frank Sinatra in a picture taken 08 December 1951 in London with his bride of a month US actress Ava Gardner forming a piano and vocal duet at Washington Hotel before 'Midnight Matinee' show at the London Coliseum. Frank Sinatra, born 12 December 1915, was a playboy who married four times, twice to famous actress, Ava Gardner and Mia Farrow. But he was deeply attracted to the actress; his biographer Kitty Kelley wrote that Gardner was the only woman he respected because he knew he could not dominate her. Sinatra got married for the last time in 1976 to Barbara Marx, widow of comedian Zeppo Marx of the four Marx brothers. Sinatra number his conquests, according to Kelley, among Hollywood's greatest beauties, including Marlene Dietrich, Judy Garland, Natalie Wood, Elizabeth Taylor and Victoria Principal. (Photo credit should read AFP/AFP/Getty Images)
circa 1953: Portrait of American actor Natalie Wood (1938 - 1981), wearing a strapless bathing suit with plaid trim, posing in front of a wicker wall. Wood has light hair. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
American actress Natalie Wood (Natal'ja Nikolaevna Zacharenko) standing beside a stone wall in the film Kings Go Forth. France, 1958 (Photo by Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES,CA - JUNE 13,1955: Musician Dick Contino hugs Leigh Snowden as actor John Smith hugs actress Natalie Wood at Wil Wright's Ice Cream Parlor in Los Angeles,CA. (Photo by Earl Leaf/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES,CA - JUNE 13,1955: Actress Natalie Wood, actor John Smith and actress Leigh Snowden takes a taste of chocolate at a Wil Wright's ice cream parlor in Los Angeles,CA. (Photo by Earl Leaf/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES,CA - JUNE 5,1955: Actress Natalie Wood attends the Screen Directors Building party in Los Angeles,CA. (Photo by Earl Leaf/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES,CA - CIRCA 1955: Actress Natalie Wood poses during an event in Los Angeles,CA. (Photo by Earl Leaf/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES,CA - JUNE 13,1955: Actress Natalie Wood, actor John Smith and musician Dick Contino and actress Leigh Snowden pour chocolate at a Wil Wright's ice cream parlor in Los Angeles,CA. (Photo by Earl Leaf/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
American actress Natalie Wood (1938 - 1981) holding a glove puppet of a lion, circa 1955. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)
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The magazine noted that Walken “snapped” his response and that his eyes were “icy.”

However, Walken opened up more in a 1997 interview with Playboy, theorizing how Wood ended up in the water.

“Anybody there saw the logistics — of the boat, the night, where we were, that it was raining — and would know exactly what happened,” Walken told the magazine (and recently referenced in the Hollywood Reporter). “You hear about things happening to people — they slip in the bathtub, fall down the stairs, step off the curb in London because they think that the cars come the other way — and they die. You feel you want to die making an effort at something; you don’t want to die in some unnecessary way.”

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Walken had accompanied Wood, his co-star in the 1983 thriller Brainstorm, and her famous husband on their Thanksgiving weekend trip.

“What happened that night only she knows, because she was alone,” Walken said. “She had gone to bed before us, and her room was at the back. A dinghy was bouncing against the side of the boat, and I think she went out to move it. There was a ski ramp that was partially in the water. It was slippery — I had walked on it myself. She had told me she couldn’t swim; in fact, they had to cut a swimming scene from [Brainstorm]. She was probably half asleep, and she was wearing a coat.”

Walken suspected that Wood also might have hit her head before falling into the water.

An in-depth investigation in Vanity Fair from 2000 also attributed this quote to the actor.

“The people who are convinced that there was something more to it than what came out in the investigation will never be satisfied with the truth. Because the truth is, there is nothing more to it,” Walken said. “It was an accident.”

TMZ filmed Walken’s response (well, nonresponse) to a question about Wood in 2011, after the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department reopened the case based on new information. The video was hailed as Walken “breaking his silence,” which gives you an idea of just how quiet he’s been on the subject, at least in public.

Davern, the third man aboard the Splendour, has insisted for years that Wagner and Walken were arguing before Wood’s disappearance because Wagner was jealous.

Wood’s sister, Lana, wrote in her own book, titled Natalie, in 1984, that Wood did have a great affection for Walken: “I don’t know if Natalie’s [love affair] with Chris was imaginary or real, though my strong suspicion is that it was all in her mind and that perhaps she was only wishing it to be so.”

39 PHOTOS
Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood together through the years
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Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood together through the years
Actress Natalie Wood with her husband, actor Robert Wagner.
American actor Robert Wagner and his wife actress Nathalie Wood. (Photo by Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)
Actress Natalie Wood and husband, actor Robert Wagner, at London Airport in 1976. (Photo by � Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
(Original Caption) The El Morocco. New York City: Actress Natalie Wood and actor Robert Wagner.
Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood (1938 - 1981) leave the church holding hands just after their wedding, Scottsdale, Arizona, December 28, 1957. (Photo by Jack Albin/Getty Images)
circa 1958: American actors Natalie Wood (1938 - 1981), wearing a black evening gown with long gloves and a white fur wrap, and Robert Wagner, wearing a tuxedo with a white opera scarf. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - 1958: Actors Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner attend an event in 1958 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Earl Leaf/ Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
Married American actors Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood (1938 - 1981), circa 1958. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)
(Eingeschr�kte Rechte f�r bestimmte redaktionelle Kunden in Deutschland. Limited rights for specific editorial clients in Germany.) Wood, Natalie *20.07.1938-29.11.1981+ (Eigentlich Natalia Nikolaiewna Zacharenko) Schauspielerin, USA - mit ihrem Mann Robert Wagner - 1958 (Photo by ullstein bild/ullstein bild via Getty Images)
(Original Caption) Enjoying a tete-a-tete in an outdoor phone booth outside Penn Station, recently wed screen stars Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood are shown here. The couple was visiting Manhattan the first time since their marriage at Scottsdale, Az. on December 28, 1957.
Mr. and Mrs. Robert Wagner (she's Natalie Wood) arrive at Penn Station from Miami. They're here to see Bob's new movie, 'In Love and War.' (Photo By: Art Whittaker/NY Daily News via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - JANUARY 23: Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood back stage of 'The Jack Benny Program.' Image dated January 23, 1960. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)
Robert Wagner, US actor, and his wife, Natalie Wood (1938-1981), US actress, with a small dog, circa 1965. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)
American actors Robert Wagner and his wife Natalie Wood (1938 - 1981), circa 1970. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)
American actor Robert Wagner with his actress wife Natalie Wood at the time of their second marriage. Original Publication: People Disc - HM0378 (Photo by Evening Standard/Getty Images)
American actor Robert Wagner with his former wife American actress Natalie Wood, 23rd April 1972. (Photo by Chris Wood/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Actors and spouses Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner following their reconciliation, Britain, April 24th 1972. (Photo by Roger Jackson/Central Press/Getty Images)
Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood during 45th Academy Award Rehearsals at Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
MALIBU, UNITED STATES - AUGUST: Actress Natalie Wood and husband actor Robert Wagner at home with daughter during August 1973 in Malibu, California. (Photo by Sandy KAPLAN/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
Actors and spouses Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner, arriving at the premiere of the film 'The Godfather', London, August 24th 1972. (Photo by Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood during 16th Annual International Broadcasting Awards at Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
American actors Robert Wagner and his wife Natalie Wood (1938 - 1981) at the 29th Cannes Film Festival, May 1976. (Photo by RDA/Getty Images)
Actor Robert Wagner and actress wife Natalie Wood arriving in London en route for the South of France for a short holiday before returning to London next month to make TV production of the Tennessee Williams play 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof' for Granada, 24th April 1976. (Photo by Dennis Stone/Mirrorpix/Getty Images)
American actor Robert Wagner and his actress wife Natalie Wood at Heathrow Airport in London before leaving to present the prizes at the Cannes Film Festival. (Photo by PA Images via Getty Images)
Actors and spouses Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner in London, July 1st 1976. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
NBC MONDAY NIGHT AT THE MOVIES -- 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof' -- Pictured: (l-r) Natalie Wood as Maggie, Robert Wagner as Brick -- (Photo by: NBC/NBCU Photo Bank)
Film actor Robert Wagner and his wife Natalie Wood arrived at Heathrow Airport from Los Angeles with their children Courtney (2) and Natasha (5). Courtney was carrying a doll called 'Curious George.' They were met by Lord Olivier and are here to make a Granada TV production with him of 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof .' 19th May 1976. (Photo by Victor Crawshaw/Mirrorpix/Getty Images)
Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner during 5th Annual AFI Lifetime Achievement Award - Salute to Bette Davis at Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, CA, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Robert Wagner, Ehefrau Natalie Wood, Dreharbeiten zur US-TV-Serie 'Switch', Hollywood, Los Angeles, Kalifornien, USA, Nordamerika, SW, schwarz-weiss-Foto, Dreh, Bett, Ehemann, Schauspieler, Schauspielerin, NB/BB, 01.08.1978; (Photo by Peter Bischoff/Getty Images)
Robert Wagner, Ehefrau Natalie Wood, neben den Dreharbeiten zur US-TV-Serie 'Switch', Hollywood, Los Angeles, Kalifornien, USA, Nordamerika, Dreh-Pause, Wohnmobil, Wohnwagen, Auto, Becher Kaffee, in den Arm nehmen, Ehemann, Schauspieler, Schauspielerin, NB/BB, 01.08.1978; (Photo by Peter Bischoff/Getty Images)
Laurence Olivier, Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner during 'A Little Romance' World Premiere Filmex Opening Honoring Laurence Olivier in Century City, CA, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood during Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood Sighting at a Beverly Hills Restaurant - June 1, 1977 at Beverly Hills Restaurant in Beverly Hills, California, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - 1980: Actors Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner outside La Scala restaurant in 1980 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
circa 1980: Married American actors Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner attending a formal event. Wood is wearing a blue dress with powder-blue sheer sleeves and a floral top. Wagner is wearing a black tuxedo. (Photo by Darlene Hammond/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood during 'Hart to Hart' Wrap Party - April 9, 1980 at Chey Moi in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Robert Wagner, Natalie Wood, and Daughters Katie Wagner, Natasha Gregson Wagner, and Courtney Wagner (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - CIRCA 1981: Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood circa 1981 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Bret Lundberg/IMAGES/Getty Images)
Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
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