Nick Chavin and Robert Durst Were Best Friends, but Chavin Had a Secret He Couldn't Keep

Nick Chavin looked into the camera and said, "Friendships die hard" about his decades-long relationship with Robert Durst.

Jennifer Tisdale - Author
By

Apr. 29 2024, Published 1:48 p.m. ET

Nick Chavin attends the Hamptons Magazine cover party hosted by Kyle MacLachlan and Invicta on June 21, 2010
Source: Getty Images

Nick Chavin

Who could have predicted that when The Jinx premiered in February 2015, there would still be stories to tell nearly a decade later. Part two of the popular true-crime docuseries began in April 2024 with a bit of a whimper in the first episode. However, the second episode has provided a unique glimpse into the life of the late Robert Durst. The filmmakers introduced viewers to the friends who stuck with him throughout his life and even up until he was arrested and awaiting trial.

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The person Durst was closest to in life was a man by the name of Nick Chavin. The word that comes up most frequently in describing their relationship is loyalty. We see glimpses of that in the documentary but the real test of their friendship comes when Chavin grapples with a secret he has kept for far too long. What did he know and where is he now?

Robert Durst sits in State District Judge Susan Criss court with his attorney Dick DeGuerin (R) Nov. 10, 2003
Source: Getty Images

Robert Durst

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Where is Nick Chavin now? He's coming clean.

When we first encounter Chavin, he's singing "Ol' Man River" while shuffling down the streets of Boca Raton, Fla. He goes into detail about his friendship with Durst, laying the groundwork that explains his conflicted feelings when it came to turning on his once best friend. While Durst was in jail, Chavin spoke to him several times but he never revealed which way he was leaning. Many of their chats were walks down memory lane.

The two met through Susan Berman, the woman Durst was eventually convicted of killing. Although the three of them were very close, Chavin was determined to stay out of the legal troubles Durst was in. John Lewin, the lead prosecutor on the case, was contacting all of Durst's friends. Chavin managed to dodge his calls for a while until Lewin switched tactics and went through his boss. At that point, Chavin knew he couldn't avoid Lewin any longer.

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When Lewin finally spoke to Chavin and asked him outright if he thought Durst killed Berman, he cryptically said, "That's one I'm not gonna answer." Lewin also reached out to Chavin's wife, Terry Chavin, who was very cooperative. She never liked Durst and always suspected he was involved in the deaths of his first wife Kathie, as well as Berman's. A tip from her about a strange dinner Chavin had with Durst one night led to a follow-up call from Levin.

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After much back-and-forth with himself, Chavin knew he had to do the right thing. As conflicted as he was regarding his closeness to Durst, he was equally as heartbroken over Berman's murder. She wasn't just a friend. Berman was a surrogate mother to his children and was very close to his family. Ultimately, Chavin decided she was owed something. It's clear he's going to tell Lewin something that he knows and the implication is, Durst killed Berman and he knew about it. "Friendships die hard," he said.

Nick Chavin started out as a rock n' roll country singer.

Before meeting Durst, Chavin was a singer who went by the name Chinga Chavin. "I came up with a hook, sexy, and ribald country western songs," he said. Berman saw Chinga Chavin perform and wrote glowing reviews about it. Soon they were spending time together which involved Berman teaching Chavin how to navigate wealthy Manhattan. After meeting Durst, Chavin said they were "an immediate attraction," he said, "like two magnets." The three of them grew very close.

Chavin added that their disdain for authority is something that drew him and Durst together. They were both agents of chaos in their own ways. When Durst's first wife Kathie disappeared, Chavin treated it like a mystery but sided with Durst the entire time. His loyalty to Durst never waivered. It was Berman who told Chavin that Kathie was dead but she said they should protect Durst at all costs because he was alive and was their "dear friend." Sadly, Berman's misplaced loyalty didn't matter to Durst.

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