Durst is the eldest son of Seymour, a New York City real
estate developer and inventor of the National Debt Clock and Bernice Herstein
(now dead after committing suicide in 1950). Durst has three siblings, Douglas,
Thomas, and Wendy, all of whom were raised in Scarsdale, NY.
Durst and his brother Douglas have a contentious
relationship going back to childhood when Robert reportedly would harass him. “We
would have constant physical fights,” Douglas told The New York Times. He also detailed
a time when he broke his wrist after being shoved onto the ice of a skating
rink. Douglas also said that his younger siblings were subjected to Robert’s
torture and harassment.
In 1973, Durst married his first wife Kathleen McCormack.
For a short period the two moved to Vermont and opened a small food store, All
Good Things, before Durst returned to New York City to work in the real estate
Kathleen was first reported missing in 1982 and has never
been seen since.
In 1994, Douglas was named Seymour’s successor of the Durst
Organization, prompting Robert to leave the company.
In 2000, after New York State Police re-opened the
investigation in Kathleen’s disappearance with Durst as suspect for her murder.
Berman, who served as Durst’s spokesperson after Kathleen first went missing
and is believed to have knowledge about the true nature of her disappearance,
was executed in her home just before Christmas.
Her death happened just weeks after Durst married his second
wife Debrah Lee Charatan. According to The New York Times, the couple has
“never lived together as husband and wife.”
That same year, Durst moved to Galveston, TX and assumed the identity of a deaf mute woman. He eventually befriended his neighbor Morris Black, who was later found dead. Durst was promptly arrested for the 2001 murder. In court, he admitted to dismembering Black's body and dumping him into the Galveston River but he was acquitted of the charges.