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Writer of Mob Book Found Dead

January 5, 2001 GMT

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Author Susan Berman, who wrote about what it was like to grow up as the daughter of a mobster, was found dead last week of a single gunshot to the head, authorities said Thursday.

Berman was found dead in her bedroom on Christmas Eve. Homicide detectives said the motive was not immediately apparent.

``We’re actively pursuing the leads that we have,″ Detective Ron Phillips said. ``It didn’t appear that anything had been stolen.″

Berman, 55, gained notoriety because of her father, Bugsy Siegel associate David Berman. She published two books, ``Easy Street″ and ``Lady Las Vegas: The Inside Story Behind America’s Neon Oasis,″ which detailed life growing up in the mob world.

David Berman was an associate of Siegel at the time Siegel built the famed Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas. The hotel opened in 1946. Siegel was murdered at his Beverly Hills home the following year.

Susan Berman also was a playwright, wrote screenplays and produced documentaries. She worked for the San Francisco Examiner and at San Francisco’s KPIX-TV in the 1970s.

Those close to Berman were left wondering about her death.

``I’m entirely at a loss,″ said Nyle Brenner, Berman’s manager.

``I don’t know that there was anything she was working on that had any relevance to the (current) Mafia. She had been talking to a lot of people in Las Vegas recently, people who’d had ‘a past’ there,″ Brenner told he told the entertainment paper Variety.

Berman had recently discussed with her literary agent ideas for a memoir titled ``Rich Girl Broke″ and a book profiling the lives of female high-rollers in Las Vegas. She also was working on getting a TV movie made about her diaries and developing a series for Showtime called ``Sin City,″ according to Variety.