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|Born||David Gordon Strickland, Jr.
October 14, 1969
Glen Cove, Long Island, New York
|Died||March 22, 1999
Las Vegas, Nevada
|Cause of death||Suicide|
|Notable work||Todd Stities in Suddenly Susan|
|Spouse(s)||Ali Rivers (m. 1988; his death 1999)|
|Children||David III, Derrick, Michelle, and Danielle|
David Gordon Strickland, Jr. (October 14, 1969 – March 22, 1999) was an American actor. Strickland played the role of the boyish rock music reporter Todd Stities in the NBC sitcom Suddenly Susan before committing suicide in 1999 at the age of 29.
David Gordon Strickland, Jr. was born on October 14, 1969 in Glen Cove, Long Island, New York. His parents, Gordon and Karen, both worked as executives. Strickland moved with his family to Princeton, New Jersey, and later to California, where he became an actor. Strickland appeared in earlier television roles including Dave's World, Roseanne, Sister, Sister, and Mad About You. While filming Suddenly Susan, Strickland reportedly suffered from bipolar disorder and had a long and troubled history of drug and alcohol abuse. He was arrested five months before his death for the possession of cocaine, pleaded no contest and was sentenced to three years probation and ordered into rehabilitation. He was due in court for a progress report on the day of his death. News reports of events leading up to Strickland's death suggest that he had chosen to stop taking the lithium he was prescribed to control his bipolar disorder.
Strickland married Ali Rivers in 1988, and he had four biological children: David III, Derrick, Michelle, and Daniel; and twin stepchildren, Joshua and Alexis. Rivers and Strickland were involved in a heated divorce which Rivers filed for a divorce in 1996, but was never finalized at the time of Stickland's death. Rivers stated that Daniel is not the biological son of Strickland, but another man whom Rivers married after his death.
After checking into Room 20 of the Oasis Motel in Las Vegas, Strickland consumed several bottles of beer, hanged himself with a bed sheet over the ceiling beam, and died during the morning hours of March 22, 1999. His body was discovered by a hotel desk clerk. Evidence of drug use was found in his room. The Clark County Coroner concluded that Strickland's body bore the marks of a previous suicide attempt.
After much discussion, the writers of Suddenly Susan decided to deal with Strickland's death directly. In the show's third season finale, Todd fails to appear at work one day. When Susan (portrayed by Brooke Shields) calls Todd regarding tickets to a show, his pager vibrates on his desk. Susan spends the day searching for Todd, after learning for the first time about a number of good deeds he had done throughout his life. The episode ends when the police visit Susan at her office, and the details of Todd's fate are left ambiguous. The episode is interspersed with out-of-character interviews with Shields and the show's supporting cast.
|1994||Object of Obsession||Homeless Man|
|1994||Postcards from America||Driver|
|1995||Phobophilia: The Love of Fear|
|1995||Dave's World||Police Officer||Episode: "What the Early Bird Gets"|
|1995||Roseanne||First Cop||Episode: "The Getaway, Almost"|
|1995 - 1996||Mad About You||Hollis||6 episodes|
|1996||Sister, Sister||Dave Barnes||3 episodes|
|1996||Mixed Nuts||Ross Kellog||Television movie|
|1996 - 1999||Suddenly Susan||Todd Stities||71 episodes|
|1999||Forces of Nature||Steve Montgomery|
|1999||Delivered||Will Sherman||Alternative title: Death by Pizza|
- Gliatto, Tom (April 5, 1999). "Dark Forces: Brooke Shields's TV Sitcom Costar David Strickland Takes His Own Troubled Life". People. Retrieved 2 May 2009.