90s | Celebrities | TV | Pop Culture

The Truth Behind The 'Suddenly Susan' Star's Tragic Death And How He Spent His Final Night

Sitcoms were everything in the 90s. There were so many different options to choose from, that sometimes, a lot of the best shows were forgotten. Suddenly Susan was one of those great shows.

When it started in 1996, it became one of the top rated shows. But after getting moved around in the schedule, it quickly fell out of the top five and moved down in the ratings. Even though the show wasn't as popular, it remained a treat to watch, except one episode that proved to be incredibly emotional.

The stars of the show were some pretty notable actors. Susan was played by none other than Brooke Shields, and her boss, Jack, was played by Judd Nelson. Kathy Griffin starred as Vicki the restaurant critic, and then there was also Luis the photographer played by Nestor Carbonell. Andréa Bendewald was a reporter named Maddy and Barbara Barrie was the emotional support of the show as Susan's Nana, but the character who is remembered most of all was Todd.


Todd Stities was the rock music reporter played by David Strickland. He was goofy, energetic, hilarious and people loved watching his outrageous moments on the show.


However, the truth of the matter was that Strickland himself was going through a lot, and while he tried to hide it, reality caught up with him.

Strickland suffered from many issues including manic depression. He had a history of addiction and alcoholism and on Halloween of 1999, he was arrested for possession of cocaine. He was sentenced to three years of probation, and was scheduled to appear in court on March 22, 1999, for a progress report hearing.

However, instead of arriving to the court, he made a different choice. On the night before he was due to appear in court, Stickland checked himself into a motel in Las Vegas, and took his own life.

The events leading up to his inevitable suicide are heartbreaking, and his death completely stunned the world. His final night was spent in Las Vegas, where he chatted with a prostitute, met up with comedian Andy Dick at a topless bar, and drank beer alone.


Before heading out to the bar, Strickland walked past a woman in the lobby who spoke with him for a while. She asked if he was from television because he looked familiar, but even though he claimed he wasn't, he still spoke with her for 20 minutes. Apparently he told her that "important changes are going to happen in your life," before leaving the hotel and heading out to meet up with Andy Dick.

Dick and Strickland had only just met earlier that week, and when news of his death came out, Dick released a statement. "Although I knew David for only a brief time, I very much enjoyed his company and was looking forward to a new friendship," he said. "His death comes a tragic shock to me." He also paid his respects to actress Tiffani Amber Thiessen who was romantically linked to him at the time of his death.

A dancer from the bar they had gone to spoke to a reporter and remembered seeing Strickland. "David was really out of it," Kimberly Braddock said. "He had big bags under his eyes and didn't look too good. I said, 'Are you hung over?' and he said, 'Yeah, we've been partying all night and I don't feel good.'"

He returned back to his motel room and tied the bed sheets into a noose and hung himself off the beam after drinking a six-pack of beer. He was discovered the next morning when he missed check-out.

His death was dealt with on the show in an interesting way. They had an episode where Todd, the character he played went missing. The entire episode had out of character interviews conducted throughout, with the actors speaking about their costar and friend.

Lisa Rose/Globe Photos

After the incident, Nestor Carbonell and Brooke Shields spoke out about their costar. “There’s rarely a minute in any day that I don’t have [David] in my mind,” Shields said.

Carbonell had an idea about Strickland's struggles, but his attitude had fooled him into believing he was okay. “I was really comforted by the fact that everything was going so well,” Carbonell said. “And unfortunately, it proved to be the calm before the storm. It really was a very deceptive period … almost like the disease had gone into remission.”

While he spent the end of his life alone in a motel room, there were many people who cared deeply about him, and his loss would be felt by everyone whose lives he touched.

Source- E! Online