durst-weddingIf you’ve seen the Ryan Gosling flick All Good Things, then you not only know killer Robert Durst’s story, but you’ve seen Gosling in ridiculous, old lady drag. When I first saw this drama, I assumed it was fictional, as an extravagantly wealthy, serial killer who escapes to Texas to avoid the law, acting like a mute, older lady named Dorothy Ciner is juicier than most. I mean this guy is as crazy as an afro wig donning Phil Spector!

Kathie and Robert Durst on their wedding day in 1973. Photo: HBO/ “Jinx”


The heir to a New York City real estate fortune, Durst’s father Seymour pressured him to get into the business along with his brother Douglas. After meeting his first wife Kathie in 1973, Robert became soft under her influence, even opening a health food restaurant in Vermont called All Good Things. They were happy newlyweds until he went back into his father’s real estate business. They grew apart and started frequently fighting when Kathie became more independent by going back to school. Durst even manhandled Kathie in an angry rage in front of her family.

In the early 1980’s, Prudence Farrow, sister of actress Mia Farrow and famous muse of the Beatles song “Dear Prudence”, had been sleeping with Durst. Miss Farrow fell in love with him and even called Kathie asking her to grant him a divorce. It’s incredibly ironic that the mistress of mediation would fall for the evil that lived inside Durst’s three-piece suit. Poor Kathie refused on the phone, but in reality asked Robert for a divorce. She even filed for divorce right after sending some paperwork showcasing illegal business practices of Robert and Seymour Durst’s companies to a local Senator. Who unfortunately, was already being paid off by Seymour, and soon the package was returned. Robert’s furious father ordered him, “To take care of his wife.” Kathie disappeared soon after without a trace. Two weeks before her death, Kathleen McCormack Durst was treated for wounds at a New York City hospital after being beaten by Robert, but never pressed charges. A body has never been found, yet in 2001 Kathleen Durst’s case title changed from ‘missing person’ to ‘deceased.’


That fall Bobby was having an affair with Prudence Farrow, and she was upset about it…she told me that Prudence would call her up and tell her, ‘Give him up. It’s over, let Bobby go.’” Apparently “Bobby had been rapt by Prudence’s tales of meditating with the Beatles. And he was thrilled to be dating the woman who had been the inspiration for his idol John Lennon’s song ‘Dear Prudence.’ He’d told Kathie all about it.”– Ruth Mayer (friend of Kathie’s relating a conversation with Kathie.)

Prudence Farrow traveled from NYC to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s ashram in India in 1968 with her sister Mia. The Beatles arrived shortly after in what has become a famous trip. While Mia was having a grand time socializing, Prudence was taking her practice very seriously, missing the whole day. Prudence  was coaxed by the Beatles to come out of her meditation hut to sing songs hence the lyrics, “Dear Prudence, won’t you come out to play?” 


Prudence Farrow (far left) with the Beatles and Maharishi Mahesh Yogi at his ashram in Rishikesh, India.

“I had been around famous people, but it had not been so interesting. The Beatles being there — I can honestly say — did not mean anything to me. But those two people that I met, John and George, I really liked them, and they were very much up my alley.” -Prudence Farrow Bruns  (Rolling Stone, 2015)                                          


Prudence Farrow and Ringo Starr in India.

Today, Prudence lives in the Florida Panhandle in the town of SeaGrove with her husband of nearly 50 years, off a dirt road in a mobile home hidden behind thick vegetation.

The perfect place for a person who does not want to be found. Possibly, hiding from someone?

Preudence Farrow with Ringo Starr and the Maharishi The Beatles and their wives at the Rishikesh in India with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, March 1968. Credit: Colin Harrison/Avico
Preudence Farrow with Ringo Starr and the Maharishi The Beatles and their wives at the Rishikesh in India with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, March 1968. Credit: Colin Harrison/Avico

“I think besides being great musicians, [the Beatles] really resonated on the level that they were going through and saying what we were all feeling, so they were kind of a voice [for] a lot of us. So the fact that all these young kids now were interested in the Beatles meant that to me that voice was still resonating and still being heard. – Prudence Farrow ( Rolling Stone, 2015)

The mother of three and grandmother of four earned a Ph.D. in Sanskrit studies from UC-Berkeley and teaches meditation classes out of her trailer. Prudence Farrow Bruns recently published her memoir, Dear Prudence: The Story Behind the Song, which covers her Hollywood childhood, meditation, and The Beatles.

“I heard John practicing and tinkering with different notes and melodies on his guitar every afternoon for a couple of hours or so. I think it was just John and George (and not Paul) that came into my room one evening and played “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” for me.”  – Prudence Farrow Bruns (Rolling Stone – 2015)


Prudence Farrow in India.

Robert met his good pal Susan Berman at UC Berkeley in California while she was getting her master’s degree in journalism.  Berman’s father was the mafia connected, Davie Berman, who took over The Flamingo Hotel after Bugsy Seigal was murdered. He died of a heart attack during surgery when she was 12, leaving her an orphan. (Susan thought it was actually foul play.) Her mother overdosed on drugs soon after. Susan received $4.5 million dollars from the mafia in her twenties due to her father’s interests in casinos. Susan was an accomplished writer and contributed to Cosmopolitan and New York Magazine among others but acquired real admiration from her book ‘Easy Street’ based on growing up a mobster’s daughter. After the scandal surrounding her death surfaced, used paper back copies of her book soared from $5 to $100 on EBay.


Robert and Susan were very close, he even walked her down the aisle at her wedding. Susan’s lifeless body was found in her Los Angeles home on December 23, 2000, a bloody, gun shot wound obstructing her raven locks. Investigators from NYC had phoned her just days earlier asking for an interview that was set to happen two days after her murder. They were reopening the Kathie Durst case and Berman was a witness. Durst sent Susan $50,000, right after investigators contacted her. Berman had been working with Showtime, writing a tv series based on the Las Vegas mafia (taking from her father’s mob experiences) titled, Sin City.


Davie Berman who took over The Flamingo in Las Vegas after Bugsy Seigal was assassinated, known by the mafia as “Davie the Jew.”

In 1994, Durst’s father Seymour finally handed the company over to his younger son Douglas, (after Robert urinated in one too many office trash cans.) It was a blow to Robert who didn’t show up to his father’s funeral four years later.

On December 11, 2000, Durst married real estate broker Debrah Charatan in a secret wedding in a midtown office. How Romantic! (I know all my girlfriends would love to tie the knot under florescent lighting surrounded by Staples supplies. You think they went to a Starbucks for the reception?!)  Twelve days later, Susan Berman was found dead after police received an envelope with her address and the word “cadaver” scribbled on paper inside.


Morris Black, Galveston, TX neighbor of Robert Durst who was allegedly murdered and dismembered by him.


Ryan Gosling as Robert Durst in drag in ‘All Good Things.’

Robert moved to Galveston, Texas to escape the heat two murders will bring you. While living in a rented apartment as a mute woman, he met neighbor Morris Black. One day he found Morris in his home illegally and fought with him, accidentally shooting him in the struggle. (Or so he says.)  He then gruesomely dismembered Black’s body with an ax and knives, distributing each body part into separate black garbage bag and dumped it into the Galveston Bay. The only body part missing was the head. He was arrested on October 9, 2001 for the murder of Mr. Black. He bought the best lawyers he could as a multi-millionaire and was found not guilty of the murder of Morris Black and was just charged with unlawful disposal of a body. Insane! His lawyers were better than O.J.’s!


Robert Durst in court in 2014. Photo: Getty

During the finale of “The Jinx,” HBO’s documentary on Durst, he seemingly confesses to killing Berman, his first wife (who disappeared more than 30 years ago), and his neighbor in Texas (who he chopped up and dumped in the Galveston Bay), when he thought no one was listening by whispering to himself in the bathroom, “What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course.” His microphone was still on and his own bad habit of talking to himself (which he did all his life) got him into serious trouble with the authorities.


Robert Durst and last wife, Debrah Charatan.

As of March 15, 2015, a now 71 year old Robert Durst was arrested by FBI agents at a New Orleans hotel, a day before the final episode of the HBO series, ‘The Jinx’ aired. He was transferred to the Elayn Hunt Correctional facility because “it is equipped to treat the mentally ill,” according to ABC News. Durst legal team says he suffers a mild form of Asperger syndrome and officials believe him suicidal.


Kathie Durst’s missing poster with reward offer dated February 1st, 1982.

That same month, a New Orleans judge orders Durst to remain jailed without bail. During this bond hearing, things were revealed in Durst’s belongings that would make your skin crawl. Maps of Cuba, New Orleans, and Florida were found in his hotel room, along with a new cell phone and a Leatherface style mask which appeared to look like natural skin covering his face and neck and included greying hair on top.


Robert Durst and Kathie Durst in 1982 – she disappeared soon after.

Durst is suspected in the the 1971 disappearance of a Middlebury College student, Lynne Schulze, who was 18 years old at the time. According to the Burlington Free Press, Schulze was last seen standing across the street from Durst’s health food store, All Good Things. He has been linked to two other missing girls of decades past as well, but no hard evidence was found.

Lynne Schulze (CBS News)

The L.A. Times published a story featuring the first interview with Robert’s brother, Douglas Durst, since Robert’s arrest. Douglas, believes Durst wants to kill him and is stalking him. Even with a restraining order, he showed up to his NYC home. His daughter, Anita Durst, has also been being followed, with Robert showing up at her events around town. Douglas believes his brother is obsessed with her and calls him, “A true psychopath.”


Robert Durst outtake from HBO’s ‘The Jinx.’

Director Andrew Jarecki told The Los Angeles Times earlier this year:

“It’s really clear that he loved her (Susan Berman), platonically. I’ve always seen that relationship as demi-romantic in that it was never an overtly romantic relationship. But I have to assume that she was in love with him. First of all, women love Bob. I don’t know that all women love Bob, but certainly some women love Bob a lot, and he’s had no trouble attracting women. I always felt that Susan had a thing for Bob and at some level figured maybe they would end up together when he was finished with all of this gallivanting around. But she would not be the only woman that has been in love with Bob. There are dozens. He had a serious relationship with Mia Farrow’s sister, Prudence. I think he was genuinely upset by what happened to Susan.”


Any psychologist would tell you that true psychopaths are very  sexually attractive. They will charm your pants off. They learn to mimic emotions and manipulate even the smartest and most aware individuals while not seeing them as human but around for their amusement only. They also abuse animals. Robert Durst has killed seven dogs and disturbingly named one of his real estate companies, Woofwoof LLC.