As soon as she reached her 40s and have become a mother herself, Natasha Gregson Wagner had a newfound need to rediscover her mom Natalie Wooden — and shield her legacy.
A part of that was addressing the thriller of how she ended up within the waters off of Catalina Island within the early morning hours of Nov. 29, 1981, and addressing the painful hypothesis that Wooden’s husband, Robert Wagner, the person who raised her and her sisters Katie and Courtney, had failed to save lots of his spouse and bore some type of accountability.
It’s a topic Natasha, 49, examines in her memoir Extra Than Love, excerpted within the present difficulty of PEOPLE, and the HBO documentary Natalie Wooden: What Stays Behind, airing Could 5.
“For therefore a few years we have been suggested to disregard or not speak about it,” says Natasha. (Her organic father was Natalie’s second husband, Richard Gregson, and he or she calls each males her dad.) “However sufficient is sufficient. I do know that if my mother had been in any type of misery, he would have given his life for her.”
“It’s true,” Wagner, 90, says in a uncommon interview. “She mentioned that as a result of she is aware of me and he or she is aware of that I by no means would have carried out something to harm her mom.”
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Within the documentary, Natasha asks her father to explain what occurred that evening on their yacht, the Splendour, after he, Wooden and actor Christopher Walken returned to the boat following a dinner offshore the place that they had all been consuming. He recounts the argument he and Walken had over how a lot Wooden ought to work, throughout which she went under deck to mattress.
When Wagner went to search for her, he noticed that each the dinghy and Wooden have been gone. “No person heard something,” he tells his daughter.
As they each struggle again tears, he recounts the second he was advised that they had discovered her physique. “That evening has gone by way of my thoughts so many occasions,” he says.
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“If he hadn’t been capable of go there, we’d not have made the movie,” says Natasha.
She acknowledges she’ll by no means know with “full certainty” precisely how her mom ended up within the water as a result of she was alone when she died. “It was a horrible, horrible accident,” she writes, “and the one factor responsible was an excessive amount of alcohol that evening.”
She hopes with each tasks, the main target will now return to her mom’s life and work.
“Natasha actually needed to focus, not how Natalie left us, however how she lived,” says Wagner. “And I feel she captured that. It was a very long time coming and I’m so happy with her. Imagine me, it wasn’t simple. It was one thing in her coronary heart and soul that she needed to do.”
“The Natalie Wooden story is the story of Hollywood and the films and the golden age of cinema,” says Laurent Bouzereau, who directed the documentary, “however actually, it’s the story of a household.”
Natalie Wooden: What Stays Behind will premiere Tuesday, Could 5 at 9 p.m. ET/PT, solely on HBO.