Well it's about time: HBO will premiere a six-part documentary on Manhattan real estate scion and Galveston-corpse-dismemberer Robert Durst in February, and we couldn't be more excited. Durst most recently made headlines by pleading no contest to charges that he defiled a Kirby Drive drugstore's candy display in July. For that, he received a $500 fine. As far as we're concerned, he's guilty -- of stealing our hearts, that is. Sure, people he comes into contact with have a weird propensity to turn up dead, but he can't be accused of being boring. Here are a few things we hope will be explored in HBO's series.
Durst Adopted the Greatest Disguise of all Time
In Durst's 2001 murder trial in Galveston -- in which he admitted to cutting up his 71-year-old neighbor and throwing the body parts in the Bay, but denied actually killing him -- defense attorney Dick DeGuerin told the jury that the former New Yorker moved to Galveston to escape publicity. He didn't want to be Bob Durst anymore, he just wanted to be a normal person.
So naturally, in order to blend in, Durst wore a wig and dresses and pretended to be a deaf-mute woman named Dorothy. Durst communicated with the landlord of his $300-a-month boarding house solely through written notes, and he once accidentally set his store-bought locks aflame while lighting a cigarette inside a bar. By the time he was arrested, he tweaked the disguise by adding a fake mustache and shaving his eyebrows. If anyone knew how to blend in with chameleon-like skill, it's Durst. (He was acquitted of that murder, by the way. Yeah.)
Do NOT Stand in Line Behind Durst at CVS
We've read a lot of criminal complaints filed in Harris County District Court, but, thanks to Durst, we can now add the charge of "urinating on the candy bars" to the list. As HPD Spokeswoman Jodi Silva told The New York Post, "He wasn't arguing with anybody, and he didn't seem agitated. He just peed on the candy. Skittles, I think."
Durst's attorney Chip Lewis blamed the incident on a "medical mishap." Lewis should win some sort of "Bullshit Criminal Defense Attorneys Say" award for that one. Either that, or the Centers for Disease Control should really investigate the issue of Skittles-induced public pissing.
Durst Has a Weakness for Shoplifting and Pumpernickel
"In the end, accused millionaire murderer Robert Durst was done in by a chicken salad sandwich on pumpernickel." So begins Crimelibrary's fascinating account of Durst and the criminal justice system. Durst went on the lam after bits of his disarticulated Galveston neighbor washed up on the beach in trash bags. By October 9, 2001, he had made it to Hanover Township, Pennsylvania, when he apparently got the munchies. He stopped at a supermarket, and even though he had more than $500 on him, "he decided to steal a sandwich, a newspaper and a Band-Aid." Security guards stopped him and called the cops. We hope, for Durst's sake, the sandwich was tasty.
You Can Watch Ryan Gosling Play a Durst-Like Character While Listening to the Real Durst Say Creepy Stuff
Gosling plays eccentric millionaire "David Marks" in All Good Things,which tackles the disappearance of Marks' wife, based on the 1982 disappearance of Durst's real-life wife Kathleen. Durst himself appears on the DVD's commentary track, and Marisa Lascala wrote about the weirdness for Westchester Magazine.
"The movie opens with old-style, home-movie footage, and Durst talks about his memories of an idyllic childhood in Scarsdale--and he seems human," Lascala writes. "Later, though, the movie gets to a scene where Ryan Gosling's character angrily drags Kirsten Dunst's character out of a party by her hair (in front of her family), and Durst dispassionately reports that the scene is pretty true to their relationship in real life, or 'close enough.'"
Then: "He gets upset that the movie intimated that he killed his dog, and tells the director that's something he'd never do. And, concerning his role in what happened to Kathie, he stays mum. He refers to her disappearance--not her murder--but never says he had nothing to do with it."
That's not just creepy. That's meta-creepy.
Durst's Own Family is Freaked Out by Him
Durst's brother Douglas obtained a restraining order in 2012, and Durst was charged with violating that order in 2013 by approaching his brother's Harlem building and looking into security cameras, according to the New York Post.
According to the Post, "A prosecutor said at Robert's arraignment last night that Robert had also stared into the security cameras of other relatives who live on the block, and a judge issued 13 orders of protection telling him to stay away from them. Robert, the prosecutor said, was wearing a ski mask when he attempted in 2008 to sneak onto Douglas' Westchester property. And in prison, Robert said 'he intended to kill Douglas and his family and wished he could 'Igor' him,' referring to six dogs Robert had killed as a kid, Assistant DA Lawrence Newman said."
Durst was, as usual, found not guilty of trespassing.
We hope that all of this, and more, will be covered in the HBO series. We can't freakin' wait.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.