(NEW YORK) — Robert Durst’s involvement with the HBO documentary series The Jinx wasn’t the first time that the now-jailed real estate heir opened up about his connection to a pair of unsolved cases — the disappearance of his first wife and the murder of his friend, for which he is now charged.
Durst spoke at length during a DVD audio commentary for the 2010 film, All Good Things, loosely based upon his life story — and reacted as he apparently watched a fictionalized version of his life play out before his eyes.
Durst noted during the commentary for the DVD, which first came out in 2011, how some scenes, including disturbing ones showing fights he allegedly had with his wife, were remarkably “close” to how he said they happened in real life.
Durst now is being held in a Louisiana jail after being arrested for the murder of his friend, Susan Berman, and is facing weapons and drug possession charges stemming from items found during his arrest. Durst and his lawyers have maintained his innocence in Berman’s killing.
All Good Things starred Ryan Gosling as a stand-in for Durst and Kirsten Dunst as a character resembling his first wife, Kathie. The film’s director, Andrew Jarecki, came into contact with Durst after the film was released. Jarecki later created the documentary, The Jinx, shown on HBO this year.
Unlike The Jinx, in which Durst is shown in front of the camera, with his personal tics — burping and frequent blinking — on full display, the DVD commentary for All Good Things simply added a conversation between Durst and Jarecki as an audio track cut over the movie.
All Good Things, which was fictionalized with main characters renamed, focused largely on a story based upon Durst’s relationship with his first wife, Kathie, who he married in 1973 and who vanished in January 1982. Durst was the last person to see his wife, and while the local district attorney later suggested he might be to blame when she reopened the investigation, Durst has never been charged in connection to her disappearance and he maintains his innocence.
Here are some of the most telling quotes from Durst’s commentary.
The Happy Days of His Relationship with Kathie Durst
“We were in love — I mean in love — and we loved Vermont. This was brand new for the two of us. We were both already semi hippies.”
He said that they had a “strong physical attraction.”
“Enormous. We couldn’t stop touching one another,” he said.
What He Said About Their Physical Fights
In one scene in the film, Ryan Gosling, the actor playing the Durst character, is seen sitting in their car outside the family home of the Kathie Durst character, waiting to leave a family function. He then storms in and grabs his wife by her hair, dragging her through the room.
“This is close. After a number of years, before I would go to her family’s house for a function I would insist that we agree on how long we were going to stay — two hours, three hours, four hours. We would do a negotiation. When the time was up, I was ready to leave. I’ve seen the story about the hair two different ways: One way I would drag her out of the house by her hair; the other way I would grab her hair and a big chunk comes out. Either one is close enough.”
After another fight with the Robert Durst character, the Kathie character bangs on her neighbor’s apartment window from the terrace.
“This is more-or-less accurate,” Durst said. “I don’t know why she would go in our neighbor’s window as opposed to go to their door. And it was pouring, and we were have a wrestling-shoving-type fight, and she ran out on the terrace and ran to their apartment — said she was afraid to go home. So she didn’t want to go home. She doesn’t have to go home. …I didn’t really care one way or another what she did. It was late and I was just tired.”
The Moment That Made Him ‘Feel Bad’ About the Movie
In one scene, during a difficult period in the couple’s marriage, Kathie’s character goes down to the basement in their country home and sees their dog Igor’s bloody kerchief next to a shovel, implying that the dog of the Robert Durst character had been killed rather than simply taken to the kennel, as the Durst character had told his wife.
“This made me feel bad about the movie, Andrew,” Durst told the film’s director, Andrew Jarecki. “I mean the idea that I could kill Igor, I don’t like.”
Jarecki defended the scene’s inclusion, saying, “Well, there was a lot of discussion about you having had a lot of dogs over the years, a bunch were named Igor. Someone said to us at one point that you had seven dogs over 10 years or something.”
“No, we had two Igors before the Igor that lasted forever,” Durst said. “One of them got run over and one of them, when he was a puppy, went out and the second one ate an apple core. The apple core got stuck in his gut. We took him and had an operation done on him and he died.”
What Does He Regret Most?
“One of the major regrets in my life is the way I treated her [Kathie Durst’s] family, her mother. They’d never met anything like me before — this guy with piles of money and terrible manners,” Durst said. “I used to feed the dog while I was sitting at the table. I used to talk about making love to Kathie at the dining room table in front of her mother, absolutely impossible. …I mean I look back on the whole thing and it could’ve been beautiful. Her family was very caring. I just was in this attitude of yuck.”
Throughout the commentary, Durst pointed to his aversion to having children as a wedge that drove he and Kathie apart, though at the end of the film, he seemed to think that he could have changed.
“I look back on my life and the two things which most adversely affected my life was my mother dying and the way I treated Kathie,” he said. “I mean, I could have let her have a child. I mean, I would have survived it all. I don’t think I would have been a real good father but I think she would have been a real good mother, and I didn’t have to be so controlling.”
His Drug Use
“I was always getting stoned,” he said. “Discovered it in Los Angeles and learned to love it right away. …Everybody was sort of smoking pot in the crowd I sort of ended up with at UCLA.”
He said that he and Morris Black, his neighbor in Texas, smoked pot together on occasion before Durst killed Black in what he told the court was self-defense.
“Oh yes, certainly, many, many, many fewer people smoke pot as they get older but some do,” Durst said. “I know several people who do my age.”
What He Said About Susan Berman, His Friend That He Is Now Charged With Murdering
“Susan’s about the most outgoing person I ever met, other than my mother,” Durst said. “She got along with everybody. She always had people around.”
He said he and Susan were “always” platonic and he later walked her down the aisle at her wedding.
“She moved to Los Angeles shortly after Kathie disappeared in 1982,” he said. “We were still close, still spoke frequently, but we were far away from one another. We went away a couple of times. …We saw each other frequently…but its just different when you’re not nearby. We used to see each other when she was in New York and it would be several times a week.”
His Time Living as a Mute Woman in Galveston, Texas
“I wore the wig for the first couple of weeks but it’s a real inconvenience, pain in the tush. I don’t know how women do it with the hair in my mouth all of the time. I mean, jogging with it was absolutely impossible and, after a while, I just stopped doing it,” he said.
Durst was charged with murdering his neighbor, Morris Black, whose body police found dismembered and tossed into Galveston Bay in garbage bags. He was arrested for Black’s death in 2001 and acquitted at trial in 2003, where he said that he killed Black, 71, in self defense before panicking and dismembering his former friend.
“I remember it [Black’s death] very, very, very clearly,” he said. “I remember the nightmare I went through over the next several days, trying to decide what to do, deciding I could not go to the police, [that] the police are not going to believe this. Nobody’s going to believe that I came down here to Galveston, a rich guy, rented a $300-a-month apartment disguised as a woman and, oh, by the way, my neighbor is lying in my kitchen with a shot in the face from my gun.
“Yeah they never found the head,” he added. “I have no idea why. I don’t know. There must’ve been 15 garbage bags full of body parts and other stuff with blood on it or whatever, and they found 12. Now why they didn’t find the other ones, since they were all dumped in the same place, I have no idea.”
What Neighbor Thought About Durst’s Disguise
Durst said that Black saw him dressed as a woman — but he stopped wearing the wig and woman’s clothes as they became closer, telling Jarecki that Black asked him about the change in attire infrequently.
It was, Durst said, a “‘Why are you here’ kind of thing, ‘Why do you periodically put on this wig,’ kind of thing. And I just, in essence, told him I was in a movie, that I wanted to get away from Robert Durst.”
What Durst Chose to Ignore While Watching the Film
There are some key moments in the movie that involved Berman’s character that Durst chose not to comment on directly — the first being when the film shows a character representing Morris Black going to the Berman character’s home in Los Angeles and shooting her in the back of the head. Investigators now believe that Durst was the one to kill Berman.
The Jinx, which was based around a series of other interviews between Durst and Jarecki, contends that Durst admits he was in California around the time of Berman’s murder on Christmas Eve 2000, but Durst says he was in a different part of the state and did not kill his friend.
Durst also didn’t say anything at the end of All Good Things when, in a flashback sequence, it shows Berman’s character wearing a blonde wig as she retraces the alleged last steps of Kathie Durst, who was reportedly seen leaving her building by the doorman and heard placing a call to the Kathie Durst character’s medical school dean to say that she would be missing class.
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