Susan Berman

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Susan Berman
Born Susan Jane Berman
May 18, 1945
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Died 23 December 2000(2000-12-23) (aged 55)
Beverly Hills, California
Resting place Home of Peace Cemetery
Occupation Writer
Language English
Ethnicity Jewish
Citizenship U.S.
Education Bachelor's, master's
Alma mater University of California, Los Angeles
University of California, Berkeley
Genre Fiction, nonfiction
Subject Mob, Las Vegas
Notable works Easy Street
Spouse Mister Margulies (divorced)
Relatives Davie Berman, father

Susan Berman (1945–2000) was an American journalist and author who was the daughter of Davie Berman, a mob figure in Las Vegas. She wrote about her late-in-life realization of her father's place in a criminal empire. She was murdered execution style with a nine-millimeter hand gun on Christmas Eve 2000 in Benedict Canyon, California. In 2010, Lily Rabe played the character Deborah Lehrman, inspired by Susan Berman, in the film All Good Things.


She received a bachelor of art's degree from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1967 and a master of art in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley in 1969.[1]


Berman's father Davie was born into a Jewish family in Odessa, Ukraine during the Russian Empire. Her grandfather was a former rabbinical student.[2] Berman's father was a mob figure who had replaced Bugsy Siegel in Las Vegas at the Flamingo Hotel after Siegel's murder by the mob. Berman always maintained that her father died mysteriously on an operating table when she was 12. Berman also believed her mother Gladys' overdose suicide a year later was under mysterious circumstances.

Susan Berman was known affectionately as a "Jewish Mafia Princess." In 1981, Berman published the memoir Easy Street about life as the daughter of a mobster. Susan Berman was represented in the 1970s by the William Morris Agency, who talked with several Hollywood producers interested in adapting Berman's book into a screenplay. The movie rights were purchased from Berman, but the film project never got off the ground.

Various published accounts, including Murder in Beverly Hills by author Cathy Scott, have reported possible connections between Berman's murder and the 1982 disappearance of Kathie Durst—the wife of Berman's college friend and heir to a New York real estate fortune Robert Durst.[3] In a review of Scott's book, True Crime Zine wrote that "detectives came to suspect one of (Susan's) long-time friends but have never been able to charge him with murder."[4] Durst was considered a prime suspect in his wife's disappearance, along with another person of interest, but he was never charged in the case.

Berman remained a friend of Durst after the disappearance of his wife, and Durst gave large cash gifts to Berman in the months before Berman's death.[5] Almost two decades after Kathie Durst's disappearance, New York State Police, at the request of Jeanine Pirro, the district attorney at the time in New York's Westchester County, contacted Susan to interview her about the Durst case. She was killed within a few days of the query.

Berman lived just off the Sunset Strip on Alta Loma Road in West Hollywood for several years prior to moving to her last residence in Benedict Canyon. Nyle Brenner, Berman's manager, said to the Los Angeles Times days after the murder that "many details of Ms. Berman's personal life are unclear" and added "she had been married once in the 1980s, and later helped rear the two children of a boyfriend." Her only husband, Mister Margulies, died of a heroin overdose.[5] She kept close ties to friends on Alta Loma Road, where she once lived, the Las Vegas Strip and in New York City, including Durst.

Berman was a novelist and author of two memoirs. She was a reporter for The San Francisco Examiner and also wrote for Francis Ford Coppola's City Magazine, the Westinghouse Evening Show on KPIX and the "People" show on CBS. She was a contributing writer for New York, Cosmopolitan and Family Circle.

According to Online Nevada Encyclopedia, "Despite neuroses and irrational anxieties, Berman was a versatile writer in many literary genres.",[1][6]

She wrote Driver, Give a Soldier a Lift! and Lady Las Vegas, which accompanied the 1996 release of an A&E documentary for which Berman was a co-writer and for which she was nominated for a Writers Guild of America award.[7]

At the time of her death, she was working on a project for Showtime with attorney Kevin Norte. The title of the project was Sin City and was being planned as Showtime's version of the HBO hit The Sopranos.





  1. ^ a b "Susan Berman". Online Nevada Encyclopedia. 2009-03-20. Retrieved 2012-12-14. 
  2. ^ Bismarck Tribune, "Las Vegas mob boss had ties to N.D.," January 2, 2011
  3. ^ Book Probes New Evidence in Mob Daughter's Murder | Psychology Today
  4. ^ Susan Berman book: Murder in Beverly Hills by Cathy Scott | True Crime Zine
  5. ^ a b DePaulo, Lisa (March 12, 2001). "Who Killed the Gangster's Daughter?". New York Magazine. 
  6. ^ Susan Berman | ONE - Online Nevada Encyclopedia
  7. ^ "Mobster's Kin Killed: Writer was daughter of Bugsy's partner". 5 January 2001. Retrieved 2012-12-14. 

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