David Strickland

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David Strickland
David Gordon Strickland, Jr.

(1969-10-14)October 14, 1969
DiedMarch 22, 1999(1999-03-22) (aged 29)
Years active1994–1999
Known forTodd Stites in Suddenly Susan

David Gordon Strickland, Jr. (October 14, 1969 – March 22, 1999) was an American actor. He was best known for his role as the boyish rock music reporter Todd Stites in the NBC sitcom Suddenly Susan.[1]


David Gordon Strickland, Jr., was born on October 14, 1969, in Glen Cove, Long Island, New York. His parents, David Gordon Sr. and Karen, both worked as executives.[2] Strickland moved with his family to Princeton, New Jersey, and later to Los Angeles, where he became an actor. Strickland guest starred in the television series Dave's World, Roseanne, Mad About You, and Sister, Sister, until he landed his role on Suddenly Susan in 1996.

In his personal life, Strickland suffered from bipolar disorder and had a long and troubled history of drug and alcohol abuse. Five months before his death, Strickland was arrested for cocaine possession, pleaded no contest, and was sentenced to three years' probation and ordered into drug 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.[3]


On March 20, 1999, Strickland and comedian Andy Dick flew from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and spent three days partying in strip clubs.[3] After checking into a motel, Strickland spent time with a prostitute, consumed six bottles of beer, and then hanged himself with a bed sheet over the ceiling beam. He died during the morning hours of March 22, 1999, at the age of 29.[4] His body was discovered by a private investigator hired by his friend and co-star Brooke Shields when Strickland missed his appearance in Los Angeles Municipal Court for cocaine possession.[5][6] 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.[7]

After much discussion, the writers of Suddenly Susan decided to deal with Strickland's death directly by killing off his character, Todd Stites. In the show's third season finale, "A Day in a Life", Todd fails to appear at work one day. When Susan calls Todd regarding tickets to a show, his pager vibrates on his desk. Susan spends the day searching for Todd, learning for the first time about a number of good deeds he had done throughout his life. The episode ends when the police call Jack while he, Susan, and the other characters are gathered in a prayer circle for Todd's well-being. The details of Todd's death are left ambiguous. The episode is peppered with confessional-style monologues delivered directly into the camera by Shields and the show's supporting cast.


Year Title Role Notes
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 Stites 71 episodes
1999 Forces of Nature Steve Montgomery
1999 Delivered Will Sherman Alternative title: Death by Pizza


  1. ^ Ravo, Nick (March 24, 1999). "David Strickland, 29, Actor; Had Role in Television Sitcom". The New York Times. Retrieved November 26, 2018.
  2. ^ "David Strickland Biography (1969-1999)". Film Reference. Retrieved March 6, 2019.
  3. ^ a b Ryan, Joal (June 1, 1999). "David Strickland's Last Party-Hardy Days". E! News. Retrieved November 21, 2018.
  4. ^ Ryan, Joal (March 24, 1999). ""Suddenly Susan" Costar's Final Hours". E! News. Retrieved November 21, 2018.
  5. ^ Shain, Michael (May 31, 1999). "BROOKE'S PRIVATE EYE NEW REVELATIONS IN SUICIDE OF SHIELDS' 'SUDDENLY' STAR". The New York Post. Retrieved November 21, 2018.
  6. ^ Gliatto, Tom (April 5, 1999). "Dark Forces: Brooke Shields's TV Sitcom Costar David Strickland Takes His Own Troubled Life". People. Archived from the original on 13 September 2016. Retrieved 2 May 2009.
  7. ^ Goldman, Adam (February 15, 2004). "Anonymity of Las Vegas Is a Magnet for Suicidal Tourists". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 21, 2018.

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