KEY POINTS

  • Robert Durst was worth an estimated $65 million at the time of his death, according to reports
  • He was found guilty of murdering his friend and was sentenced to life in prison without parole last year
  • The Durst family as a whole is reportedly worth $8.1 billion

Real estate scion Robert Durst has died in a California prison hospital while serving a life sentence for murder. He was 78. 

His net worth was estimated to be around $65 million at the time of his death Monday, according to Celebrity Net Worth. However, the Durst family as a whole is worth $8.1 billion, according to a Forbes estimate.

The Dursts, ranked by Forbes as the 47th richest family in the country in 2020, owns more than 16 million square feet of real estate in New York and Philadelphia. This includes a 10% stake in One World Trade Center.

Robert's grandfather Joseph Durst founded the Durst Organization in 1915, 12 years after he arrived in the country from Poland. After Joseph died in 1974, his son Seymour took over and focused on building skyscrapers in New York City.

Seymour's younger son Douglas and his nephew Jody now run the company. They bought the shares owned by Douglas' brother Robert for $65 million in 2006, according to Forbes.

Robert first gained notoriety in 1982 following the disappearance of his wife, Kathleen McCormack. He was then arrested in March 2015 for the murder of a longtime friend and confidante, Susan Berman, in her Los Angeles-area home in 2000.

Robert reportedly killed Berman to prevent her from speaking to authorities about the disappearance of his wife, whose body has never been discovered, The Guardian reported.

Robert was found guilty of murdering Berman in September 2021 and was sentenced to life in prison without parole a month later. He was also charged with his wife’s murder in October last year.

Robert's troubled history also included a trial for the 2001 killing of his neighbor Morris Black, for which he was acquitted due to lack of evidence. 

The real estate heir became a national sensation following the release of HBO's 2015 documentary series "The Jinx," which chronicled his involvement in the three murder cases.

Robert studied at Scarsdale High School and later went to Lehigh University. He graduated in 1965 and went on to pursue a doctoral program at the University of California, Los Angeles, but he dropped out midway and came back to New York.

It was reported that Robert was not interested in working in Durst Organization so he started a small food store called “All Good Things." 

However, after a few years, he closed down his shop as his father persuaded him to join the company. But according to reports, his father did not appoint him successor due to his misdeeds. 

It was his younger brother Douglas who was appointed to take over the company. Robert later filed a case to claim his share of the family fortune as he felt that he was entitled to be the heir. 

Robert died of natural causes Monday morning, CNN reported, citing a statement from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. He had been housed at the California Health Care Facility in Stockton following his conviction.

He was treated for COVID-19 in October last year and suffered from a multitude of other ailments, including bladder cancer.

US real estate scion Robert Durst was sentenced Thursday to life in prison with no possibility of parole for killing his friend. US real estate scion Robert Durst was sentenced Thursday to life in prison with no possibility of parole for killing his friend. Photo: POOL