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Susan Berman

Susan Berman is my 3rd cousin.

Susan Berman - Date of brith -month - May - 18 year 1945. Date of death Dec.- 22 - Year 2000. One gun shot to the back of the head. Susan was 55 years old. Is my mother's 2nd cousin on my mother's side of the family. Mom's aunt Florence J. Ewald.  She remembers Susan and her mother Betty (Gladys Ewald) Susan's mothers maiden name is Elizabeth Lynell Ewald. Bith date is Sept. -7 th - 1919. Date of death 2 - 2 -1959. Betty's sister's name is Jane Leonilda Ewald. Maiden name is Westwelt birth date is  Jan - 1914.  Mom was afraid of David Berman. Mom first met David Berman when she was 4 years old.  I have never met any of the Warners or the Westervelts side of the family. Mom always have talked about Betty and Susan. I wished I could of been able to know them. And the rest of the Warner and westervelt side of the family. 

Betty died in 1959 at the age of 39 years old sucide by overdose of her medication. She was on depression medacation. She was in a mental Institution. Mom thinks Betty was in Los Angeles at the time she was in the mental Institution. Mom's side of the family always thought Betty's death wasn't a suicide. Murder was more like it. But they could not prove it. Cause in a mental institution  medacation's are handed out by nurses. As in a regular hospital. I have some pictures I'll be putting on this page also. Of Betty and her sister Jane and Susan.  When Betty met David Berman  Betty  was 18 years old. And she was danceing in a sister act up in Minnepolis Minnesota. My mom was 11 years old when Betty died. Mom said when David Berman died Susan was sent to her uncles place to live (Chickie) he then sent her to a girls school which one we don't know.  

David Berman - Was born in (1903-1957) to a Jewish family in Odessa, Ukraine which at that time was in the Russian Empire.His father was a former Rabbinical student who played the violin.  When David Berman was  a child his father  moved to south Dakota and homesteaded on land here in the united states.

After failing on the land the Berman's then moved to Sioux City, Iowa, where David got his start as a mobster. At the age of 13 he ran a crew of teenaged thugs committing petty shakedowns and eventually a string of illegal distilleries. Then he went on to run his own bank-robbing crew. After developing close ties to the Genovese crime family, he moved to Minneapolis Minnesota, where he oprated a major bookmaking operation in rivalry with local mob bosses Kid Cann and Tommy Banks (gangster). One of Berman's closest enforcers during those years was Israel "Ice Pick Willie" Alderman a homicidal Jewish gangster from Noth Minneapolis.

 His brother "Chickie " Berman also worked for him. His close relationship with Minneaplis maror Marvin L. Kline, Berman briefly eclipsed his rivals as boss of the Minneapolis gambling rackets. According to his daughter Susan, he also used his crew to intimidate and terrorise members of the racist Silver Shirts, driving them out of Minneapolis.

David Berman enlisted in the Canadian Army after he was turned away by the U.S. military because he was a convictes felon. He served with the 18th Armoured Car Regiment( 12th Manitoba Dragoons) a reconnaissance outfit, along with Minnesota friend Nathan Gittlewich. After his return to Minneapolis, Davie's gamling operations were shattered during the first term of racket busting Mayor Hubert Humphrey. Berman moved his crew to Las Vegas and operated there in concert with Genovese Family associate Moe Sedway.

Almost immediately after the assassination of Bugsy Siegel, Sedway and Berman walked into the lobby of "The Flamingo" and annouced that they were in charge. Berman died on the operating table during open heart surgery on Father's Day, 1957.

Susan Berman was Betty's and David's only child. Susan wrote a mimior about growing up as Las Vegas mob royalty titeled (Easy Street) (1981, 83). In her memoir, Susan indicates she knew little of her fathers past until an acquaintance brought to her attention the mentions of her father in the book (The Green Felt Jungle).

Further Reading.

Murder Of A Mafia Daughter.

The Life And Tragic Death Of Susan Berman.(http://www.amazon.com/dp/1569802386) Cathy Scott, 2002.

Easy Street.

The True Story Of A Gangster's Daughter.(http://www.amazon.com/dp/o553229354) Susan Berman, 1981.

References.

Who Killed Susan Berman?(http://www.lasvegascitylife.com/articles/2004/02/25/cover_story/cover.txt) Cathy Scott, Las Vegas CityLife, February 25, 2004.

Who Killed The Ganster's Daughter? (http://newyorkmetro.com/nymetre/news/crimelaw/features/4459/index.html) Lisa Depaulo, New York Magazine, March 12, 2001.

A Christmas Murder In Hollywood.

On January 4th 2001 the Los Angeles Police department issued a press release, announcing the murder of one Susan Berman, who was found shot to death in her Hollywood home on Christmas Eve, 2000. The police report noted thus:

On December 24, 2000, at approximately 12:30 p.m., West Los angeles patrol officers responded to a radio call of an "Open Door" on the 1500 block of Benedict Canyon. The officers entered the location and discovered the victim in a bedroom of the residence. The investigating detectives determined the suspect(s) shot  the victim one time in the head. The motive for the murder is still unknown and no suspects have been identified. The has been identified as Susan Berman, the daughter of David Berman. David Berman and Ben " Bugsy" seigal, were business partners who co-owned the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas until Seigal's death, leaving Berman sole ownership. Susan Berman was a book author, producer, investigative Journalist, and Screenwriter. she wrote several books inculding"Easy Street" and "lady Las Vegas," and was a dual writer/producer at the San Francisco radio station KPIX. Berman also wrote as a Journalist for the New York Magazine and the Francis Ford Coppola Magazine. Her last work was a screenplay for Showtimes hit sitcon"Sin City".

Susan was the daughter of a Mafia assciate, and that she had written extensively about the American Mafia, law enforcement investigators initially pursued that angle in the attempt to solve this murder. However, in October 2001 the story would take on a different twist, when Susan Berman's life long friend Robert Durst,  the scion of a New York City real estate empire, was arrested for the murder of his neighboe Morris Black at a run-down apartment buliding in Gaveston, Texas. Durst had rented the apartment derssed as a women, apparently in an attempt to develop a hideaway from Prosecutors in the District Attorney's Office of Westchester County, New York, who were aggressively pursuing the theory that Durst had murdered his young wife Kathleen Durst. Two Decades earlier. Durst's wife Kathleen had disappeared in January, 1982. Her body has never been found. In the months before her murder Susan Berman solicited from - and received - substantial gifts of cash from Robert Durst. To, some the money might appear to be that of a loan from a friend. To those in law enforcement investigation Berman's murder, such payments could be construed to be the result of blackmail. this sordid tale of the Mafia and murder is explored in the new book "Murder Of A Mofia Daughter" by acclaimed investigative reporter Cathy Scott.

We will never realy know what happened to Betty or Susan as in how they died but they both are missed very much. Mom Shirly Ward (Warner). My name is Thelma Ann Smith (Ward) as I said I wished I could of met Betty, Susan and Jane and the rest of the Westervelts and other family members.


UP DATE - Since February 2009 . Some of Susan's family members and mine have been corresponding back and forth. I'm finely getting to know Susan and her family.
 


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