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According to New York Magazine, Los Angeles police now have new evidence and are seeking to re-question Robert Durst about the 2000 murder of writer Susan Berman.
The subject of the recent thriller All Good Things starring Ryan Gosling (Blue Valentine) and Kirsten Dunst, the real-life Durst is the son of a New York real-estate giant, and at one time was questioned about the 1982 disappearance of his wife Kathleen Durst. In 2003 Durst was also tried and acquitted of the 2001 murder of a neighbor in Galveston, Texas.
In 2010′s All Good Things (available from redbox), the Robert and Kathleen characters are called David and Katie Marks, but in an interview last December, director Andrew Jarecki told redblog he and the writers only changed the names to allow him to delve into the Durst/Marks characters’ inner lives and motivations more fully: “To me the interesting thing is to explore all the dark corners of this story, the things that are not understood.”
Otherwise, All Good Things closely follows Durst’s real-life story. After nine years of marriage to Robert Durst, Kathleen Durst went missing in 1982–Robert was questioned in the case, but never charged. Kathleen’s body has never been found and New York Magazine‘s sources in the Westchester District Attorney’s office say Robert is still the only suspect.
In December of 2000, Westchester, New York detectives contacted Berman in California and arranged to interview her about the Kathleen Durst missing-persons case.
Two days later Susan Berman was found murdered execution-style in her Los Angeles home. Investigators believe Berman knew her killer, and they questioned but did not charge Robert Durst about her death. (In the film Berman is called “Deborah Lehrman” and is played by Lily Rabe.)
A year after Berman’s murder, Durst, who was living in Texas, was arrested in connection with the death and dismemberment of his elderly Galveston neighbor Morris Black. (Portrayed in the film by Philip Baker Hall as “Malvern Bump.”) Durst went on the run as a “billion-dollar fugitive” and was eventually caught in Pennsylvania and returned to Texas to stand trial.
A jury acquitted Durst of murder, finding his killing of Black to have been in self-defense. (The film All Good Things speculates that David Marks had hired Malvern Bump to kill Deborah Lehrman and then murdered the man after the job was done.)
After his acquittal of the Black murder, Durst was convicted of bond jumping and evidence tampering and served three years in prison.
The life story of Robert Durst (and the film) has quite a few more psychological twists and turns than just his connection to those two murders and his wife’s still unsolved disappearance–for example, when living in Galveston next to Black, Durst cross dressed as a mute woman half the time.
Earlier this year, Robert Durst returned to New York City and is believed to live in Harlem. Despite past speculation that Berman’s murder was a mob hit in connection to her father, LAPD detectives told New York that Durst is the only suspect they’re focusing on. At this time they’re working to contact Durst in New York, but Durst has so far remained elusive.
More dark-side-of-love thrillers from redbox:
- The Resident
- The 19th Wife
- A Crime
- The Disappearance of Alice Creed
- The Killer Inside Me on DVD and Blu-ray