Back in the early-00s, Robert Durst was "skulking around the local gay bars" while hiding out as a mute woman named Dorothy Ciner in Galveston, Texas where he became known as the "ugliest drag queen" in town. Durst had sought the guidance of resident female impersonator Claire Schuler (nom de drag Cici Ryder) to get in touch with his inner lady, but his outer lady still needed all the help she could get.
"I mean, it was like blue eye shadow and red lipstick and that was it," Ryder told ABC affiliate, KTSR. "Called it a day."
Durst complemented his look with a "nasty, ratty wig" in an attempt — according to Miss Ryder — to be "inconspicuous rather than noticeable." Needless to say, it didn't work.
“What stuck with me the most was the fact that he was just horrible in drag,” Ryder told the New York Post. Durst looked to Ryder as his "drag-queen mom," tipping his mother $20 in exchange for makeup tips, but there was only so much wisdom Cici could impart:
I felt bad for the guy. He wanted to know how to make his body look like this 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 is back in the spotlight afterThe Jinx, the HBO doc that led to his rearrest for the 2000 murder of his friend Susan Berman. Durst had initially moved to Galveston in 2001 to avoid further questioning in the Berman case. Shortly thereafter, Durst was arrested for the murder and dismemberment of his neighbor, only to be acquitted years later.
Currently incarcerated in Louisiana, the real estate heir could face the death penalty if finally convicted. But stranger things have happened — such as Dorothy Ciner's regular workout routine, as Durst described on the DVD commentary of the 2011 film, All Good Things:
I wore the wig for the first couple of weeks, but it’s a real inconvenience, pain in the tush. 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.
I guess his drag mother never shared with him the secret of the high ponytail.
Les Fabian Brathwaite, Mother of the House of Ryder