-- A man who performs in drag says Robert Durst asked him for make-up tips and fashion advice at a time when he was living in disguise as a mute woman, according to a new report.
The New York real estate heir has said he moved to Galveston, Texas, in 2001 to avoid publicity surrounding the reopening of the investigation into his first wife’s disappearance nearly two decades earlier. He has publicly described living in a $300-a-month boarding house in the coastal town, initially as a mute woman.
At the time, Durst gained attention for his less-than-subtle make-up and clothing choices, according to Claire Schuler, who performs in drag under the stage name CiCi Ryder.
"I mean, it was like blue eye shadow and red lipstick and that was it," Schuler told ABC-owned station KTRK.
Durst is jailed in Louisiana after being arrested on murder charges for the 2000 slaying of his friend Susan Berman. He has not yet had to enter a plea in that case but his lawyer has publicly said that Durst is innocent. There is a status hearing scheduled for today to determine whether or not Durst should be extradited from Louisiana to California to face the murder charges. Durst also faces drug and weapons possession charges related to items found during his arrest in New Orleans in mid-March, and he has not entered a plea on those charges.
Back in 2000, Schuler said that he gave Durst "make-up tips and he used to give me $20 tips."
"I felt bad for the guy. He wanted to know how to make his body look like this," Schuler told KTRK, "and how to look like that in a dress and what dress to wear -- how it conforms to your figure, to your shape. Do you wear hip pads? Butt pads? What do you use for bosoms, make everything look real. Because he really wanted to pass as a real woman."
Durst’s attorney, Dick DeGuerin, told ABC News that while he did not know anything specifically about Schuler or any alleged relationship he had with Durst, he believes that Schuler is "just someone else wanting to cash in on the publicity" surrounding Durst's case, adding that he has "bigger fish to fry."
Durst has openly spoken about his time dressed in drag on a number of occasions. The first being when he was on trial for killing his Galveston neighbor, Morris Black, in 2001.
Black’s body was found dismembered and tossed in garbage bags in Galveston Bay. Durst was charged with murder, but acquitted based on his claims of self-defense.
Durst also detailed his use of wigs and adoption of a female identity during the DVD commentary of "All Good Things," a 2011 movie that portrayed a fictionalized version of his life, and later in "The Jinx," a 2015 documentary about Durst.
"I wore the wig for the first couple of weeks, but it’s a real inconvenience, pain in the tush," Durst said on the DVD commentary. "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."