David Strickland : biography
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 Stites in the NBC sitcom Suddenly Susan before he committed suicide while filming the show’s third season.
Strickland was born in Glen Cove, Long Island, New York, and moved with his family to Princeton, New Jersey. He later moved 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 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.
After checking in at the Oasis Motel in Las Vegas, Strickland consumed several bottles of beer. He 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 did not show up to work one day. When Susan (portrayed by Brooke Shields) called Todd regarding tickets to a show, his pager vibrated on his desk. Susan spent the day searching for Todd, learning for the first time about a number of good deeds he did throughout his life. The episode ends when the police visited Susan and her office staff, as she was asking hopefully if they know where Todd was. The details of Todd’s fate were left ambiguous. The episode was interspersed with out-of-character interviews of 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 to 1996||Mad About You||Hollis||5 episodes|
|1996 to 1996||Sister, Sister||Dave Barnes||3 episodes|
|1996||Mixed Nuts||Ross Kellog||Television movie|
|1996 to 1999||Suddenly Susan||Todd Stities||71 episodes|
|1999||Forces of Nature||Steve Montgomery|
|1999||Delivered||Will Sherman||Alternative title: Death by Pizza|