Doc producer found dead

Susan Berman, co-producer of A&E's The Real Las Vegas, was discovered by police in her Los Angeles home on Christmas Eve, with a single bullet wound to the head. She was the daughter of Davie Berman, a contemporary of Las Vegas mobsters Bugsy Siegel and Meyer Lansky.
January 10, 2001

Despite authoring books and producing documentaries about the mob, Susan Berman died an unexpected death. Police found her alone in her southern California home on December 24, killed by a single gunshot wound to the head. According to reports, the door was unlocked and nothing had been stolen from the house.

But Berman’s connection to the underworld was from her distant past. Her father was Davie Berman, the Las Vegas business partner of infamous gangster Bugsy Siegel. At 55, she had established herself as an author (Lady Las Vegas, Easy Street, Fly Away Home), filmmaker (A’s The Real Las Vegas), journalist and playwright. Berman?s stories revolved around her experiences as a mafia princess, growing up near the likes of Siegel and Meyer Lansky. She was not known to be working on anything related to the current mob world.

‘She was an incredibly gifted writer with a really unique voice,’ says Melissa Peltier of Los Angeles-based MPH Entertainment, who co-wrote and directed The Real Las Vegas.‘I think her voice really gave that documentary its special flavor.’

At press time, the mystery surrounding Berman’s death was intact. Homicide detectives from the Los Angeles Police Dept. have said they are actively pursuing leads, though the motive for Berman’s murder is not immediately apparent.

About The Author
Managing editor with realscreen publication, an international print and online magazine that covers the non-fiction film and television industries. Darah is an award-winning journalist who has spent over two decades covering a wide range of issues from real estate and urban development to immigration, politics and human rights, primarily with The Vancouver Sun. Prior to joining realscreen, she was editor of Stream Daily, realscreen's sister publication covering the dynamic global digital video industry. She also served a stint as a war reporter in Afghanistan for television and print, and was a national business blogger with Yahoo Canada.