David Strickland's Last Party-Hardy Days

Suddenly Susan costar partied hardy with pal Andy Dick

By Joal Ryan Jun 01, 1999 9:00 PMTags
Troubled comic Andy Dick played more than a supporting role in the final weekend of Suddenly Susan costar David Strickland's life, a new report suggests.

The NewsRadio costar, busted last month on drug and hit-and-run driving charges, spent three days partying hardy with the fellow sitcom actor before Strickland hanged himself by a bed sheet in a Las Vegas motel March 21, TV Guide says.

In a statement after Strickland's death, Dick said he knew Strickland for a "brief time" and "looked forward to a new friendship."

But TV Guide says--in its June 5 issue--the brief relationship was intense. On the Saturday before his death, Strickland, in the company of Dick and Hogan Family alum Jason Bateman, attended a Los Angeles dance club where witnesses told the magazine the actor had been "smoking crack, snorting cocaine and drinking large quantities of tequila and beer."

Dick and Strickland flew into Las Vegas together the next day, attending strip clubs and guzzling alcohol, reports say. Dick's camp has long confirmed the Vegas trip, but has not commented on the nitty-gritty details (i.e., the two men "drank a lot and talked to all the girls and ran up a big tab") in the new magazine article.

Strickland's death came as his first major movie role was being spotlighted in the Ben Affleck-Sandra Bullock comedy, Forces of Nature. But instead of being buoyed by the film's opening-weekend success, Strickland was "distraught" that his supporting role, as the ex-boyfriend of Affleck's fiancée, had been trimmed considerably, the report says.

Additionally, Strickland, real-life boyfriend of Beverly Hills 90210 vixen Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, had recently stopped taking doctor-prescribed lithium to control his "wild" mood swings, according to the magazine.

When Strickland failed to make a court appearance March 22 relating to a prior crack-cocaine bust, TV Guide says Suddenly Susan star Brooke Shields hired a private investigator. The gumshoe quickly tracked down Strickland to the Vegas motel room. Andy Dick, now in rehab himself, was contacted by authorities to help ID the body, via a photograph.

Strickland, 29, was remembered last week in a special Suddenly Susan tribute episode. Checkered off-screen life or no, crew members say he didn't bring his troubles to work.

"He wasn't the cast member anybody worried about--the one who was late, or difficult, or who had problems and got special treatment," an unnamed director tells TV Guide. "He was just nice and sweet and funny."

On Susan, Strickland played Todd Stites, the nice-guy music critic. The New York Post says the NBC sitcom, renewed for a fourth season, is currently casting about for two new male characters--a twentysomething sports reporter and a middle-aged boss.

In addition to the loss of Strickland, Susan also is suddenly Judd Nelson-less. The ex-Brat Packer, who played Shields' editor, recently announced it was "time to move on."