David Strickland was not only a relatively successful actor, but also he was
Brooke Shieldsí verybestfriendinthewholewideworld. He was
manic-depressive too. Do they go together? I remember a story from about 13
years ago; Brooke was in a restaurant in Charlotte, NC, when a fire broke out.
The place was evacuated, and Brooke commented, "I love trauma. I feel
closer to you all. Weíve bonded." Open mouth and insert finger down
throat. Strickland played Todd on Brookeís show, Suddenly Susan.
On Sunday March 21, 1999 Ė Strickland was in Las Vegas for whatever reason, and was seen with his buddy Andy Dick at 1am in the Glitter Gulch strip club, where he had a private dance from stripper Kimberly Braddock.
After he left the strip club, he checked in to the sleazy Oasis Motel on Las Vegas Blvd., just north of the Stratosphere Tower. It cost 55 dollars a night to stay in this dump, and Strickland put it on his AMEX card. Motel owner Peter Napoli said that Strickland was alone when he checked in between 3:30 and 4am. It's hot.
After he checked in, he went to the local 7-11 and bought a six pack of Coors. Thereís some product placement for you.
This is where the information gets sketchy. Is it true? A woman said she saw Strickland shortly after midnight (that makes no sense) when he wandered into the motelís parking lot courtyard. She asked who he was, because she thought she recognized him. He didnít talk much. She couldnít get him to tell her who he was. (Oh, Hi! Iím David Strickland from Suddenly Susan, the TV show? Have you seen me? I love staying in this flea pit sleazy dive that oozes STDs. Iím a best friend of Brooke Shields. Would you like the number of the National Enquirer or The Globe? How about Brookeís?) His expression the whole time was blank. Not happy, not sad. The two went into the womanís room for about 20 minutes (oh my), then walked out and began to go their separate ways. He turned to her and said, "Some important changes are going to happen in your life." (no you.)
He went back to his room, number 20. After he drank the beers (we all have our priorities), he put the empty bottles by the nightstand. He then tied the white king size bed sheet into a noose, and threw it over the ceiling beam. He climbed on a chair, put the noose around his neck, and stepped off the chair. His death outfit consisted of blue jeans, a khaki shirt, socks and black high top tennis shoes.
When I was there recently, room 20 was occupied, however room 21 was open, so I had a peek. Vile. But! You can see a ceiling beam that, I assume, looks just like the one in room 20. See what I do for you?
When he didnít check out by 10:30am on the morning of the 22nd, they phoned his room twice. After no answer, an employee went in to the room with the master key, and found him hanging there. I'll bet she thinks twice before doing that again. She freaked and ran to the office, where an ambulance was called. Paramedics arrived on the scene, cut him down and unsuccessfully tried to revive him.
There were no notes, but there was nothing to make anyone think it was not a suicide. He had no car, and there was no plane ticket found in the room, so police didnít even know how he got to Vegas. There were no drugs in the room.
His publicist Marisa McGrath identified the body.
A bit of history: He was arrested in October for cocaine possession and was scheduled for a court mandated progress report hearing in LA on the day he died.
Findadeath.com friend Spyrogirl sends us this:
When Strickland failed to make a court appearance March 22 relating to a prior
crack-cocaine bust, 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
The funeral was held at Forest Lawn Glendale. Brooke was there, as was Judd Nelson, Juliana Margulies (whose dad wrote the plop plop fizz fizz jingle), and Stricklandís girlfriend Tiffani-Amber Thiessen. The family splashed out $428.00 for security at the funeral, which had to be claimed from Davidís estate. He was cremated, and his ashes were given to his family.
Of course with television being the most conscientious medium, for the season finale on Suddenly Susan that May, they did a dramatic "Todd dies" episode that turns the Strickland character into a deity.
Trivia: Whatever you do, donít become friends with Andy Dick. He counted Phil Hartman and Chris Farley and Mr. Strickland as three of his closest friends. He was with Strickland the night before he died, he was supposed to take Hartmanís wife to AA (whoops.) and he was in Chris Farleyís rehab group.
November 2009 - my pal Joe Oesterle sends this: I went to the motel room he hung himself and the janitor shook when he told me he hears "Help me" every night between 3 and 4AM (roughly the time police figure he hung himself.) oooweeeeeeeeeooo...
More, March 2002 from Findadeath.com friend Gael: My dad died on X-mas of 2000, so we decided to have the funeral at Forest Lawn, Glendale, and while we were making the arrangements they showed us samples of programs that we could use. Well, David Strickland's happens to be one of those samples. It is a very plain, in fact the cheapest program I have seen. I kick myself for not snagging it for you, but I'd thought I'd let you know his funeral program is being used as a sample.
Gael, its nice to know that even in gloomy periods, people will think of Findadeath.com. I appreciate it, and offer my sincere condolences. Scott
By the way, you can request and stay in the room he died in. Or room # 2 where another death (murder) allegedly occurred in 2008. I would just recommend bringing a bottle of RID.
A very special thanks goes to Doris Hackett who provided the original photographs for this story. Death Hag Jr. helped me retake them in Vegas this week.