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OBITUARIES: Dead Milkmen's David Blood Commits Suicide

(CelebrityAccess News Service) — Bassist Dave Blood of the Dead Milkmen committed suicide on March 10, according to a post on the band's website by his sister Kathy F. The Philadelphia-based band formed in 1983 and broke up in 1995. Blood, who had extreme tendonitis in his hands, stopped playing bass in the late 1990's.

"This morning Dave Blood is no longer with us," posted his sister Kathy F. "David is my brother. Since the breakup of the band, David has never really found his niche in life. My brother was a smart, clever and talented person. Inner peace has seemed to elude him for the last many years.

Sometime last night David chose to end his life.
He left a note that I don't know all of what it said, he was not elaborate-but he said he just could not stand to go on any longer."

"Our mother passed away at the end of January and maybe David just had had enough," she continued. "There will be a memorial service in a few weeks. I will try to remember to come to this board and post it. It will be in the Delaware County area. Please pray for the repose of my bother's soul; that he now has the peace that seemed to elude him most of his life," she added.

"I want to say that one of the shiniest parts of David's life was being a Dead Milkman and having that claim to fame, " she wrote. "And the fans who appreciated the talent and time that went into making the band rise above the ordinary-thank you all for making my brother feel and know that he was indeed somebody." –Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen

Missing Actor Spalding Gray Found Dead

NEW YORK (AP) — Actor-writer Spalding Gray, who laid bare his life and mingled performance art with comedy in acclaimed monologues like "Swimming to Cambodia," was found dead over the weekend, two months after he walked out of his Manhattan apartment and disappeared. He was 62.

Gray's body was pulled from the East River and was identified Monday through dental records and X-rays. The cause of his death was still under investigation, according to a spokeswoman for the medical examiner. But Gray had a history of depression and attempted suicide in 2002.

His family told police he was last seen Jan. 10.

"We're hoping now that we have some closure," his wife, Kathleen Russo, said from the couple's Long Island home. "The family will begin to heal."

Gray's riveting live performances generally featured only a desk and a glass of water as props. Usually wearing his trademark plaid flannel shirt, the performer would never move from the desk as he read in a soft, New England-flecked accent.

He worked in underground theater in Manhattan, eventually co-founding the Wooster Group in 1979. There, he wrote an autobiographical trilogy of plays about life in Rhode Island.

In more than a dozen monologues starting in 1979, Gray told audiences about his childhood, "Sex and Death to the Age 14"; his adventures as a young man, "Booze, Cars and College Girls"; and his struggles as an actor, "A Personal History of the American Theater." Many were published in book form and several were made into films.

"The man may be the ultimate WASP neurotic, analyzing his actions with an intensity that would be unpleasantly egomaniacal if it weren't so self-deprecatingly funny," Associated Press Drama Critic Michael Kuchwara wrote in 1996. "He questions everything and ends up more exhausted than satisfied."

Gray's greatest success was his Obie-winning monologue "Swimming to Cambodia," which recounted in part his movie role opposite Sam Waterston in "The Killing Fields." The monologue, developed over two years of performance, became a film directed by Jonathan Demme.

In the theater, he starred as the stage manager in the 1989 revival of "Our Town," a production that won a Tony Award for best revival.

"Spalding had an affinity with that material and its enormous sadness and wistfulness about lost opportunities and the mysteries of the universe," said "Our Town" revival director Gregory Mosher. "That probably was Spalding's main subject, wasn't it? Writing and thinking about the mysteries of life and death."

Gray's life in recent years was marred by tragedy and depression.

A horrific head-on car crash during a 2001 vacation in Ireland to mark his 60th birthday left him disheartened and in poor health, and he tried jumping from a bridge near his Long Island home in October 2002.

Gray, whose mother committed suicide when she was 52, spoke openly about considering the same fate. In a 1997 interview, he even provided an epitaph for his tombstone: "An American Original: Troubled, Inner-Directed and Cannot Type."

Gray was born on June 5, 1941, one of three sons growing up in Barrington, R.I. His mother suffered a pair of nervous breakdowns, committing suicide in 1967 after the second one.

In the monologue "It's a Slippery Slope," Gray told his audience he had to overcome a deep depression associated with his turning 52 — his mother's age when she took her own life.

He is survived by Russo; three children; and two brothers, Rockwell Gray, an English professor in St. Louis, and Channing Gray. A memorial service will be held in a couple of months, Russo said Monday.

'Murphy Brown' Actor Pastorelli Dies

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Robert Pastorelli, who played the screwball housepainter Eldin on "Murphy Brown," was found dead in his Hollywood Hills home in what the coroner's office said may have been a drug overdose. He was 49.

Coroner's office Lt. Ed Winter said Pastorelli's body was found by his assistant Monday in a bathroom. An autopsy was done, but the cause of death won't be released pending the results of toxicology tests, which could take eight to ten weeks, Lt. Fred Corral said.

"It's a possible accidental death," Winter said, adding, "There was drug paraphernalia found."

On CBS' "Murphy Brown," he played Eldin Bernecky, an oddball housepainter for TV newswoman Murphy Brown, played by Candice Bergen. Eldin's work never seems to get done because of his high artistic standards. He spends much of his time meddling in Murphy's life, often dispensing sage advice.

Pastorelli finished work with John Travolta last month on the movie "Be Cool," the sequel to the comedy "Get Shorty." He played a hit man.

"I am still unable to grasp this tragic news," said "Be Cool" director F. Gary Gray. "Robert was a true professional and a total delight to work with. My heart goes out to his family, and he will be sorely missed."

Pastorelli, born in New Brunswick, N.J., was an aspiring boxer in his youth. But a near-fatal car crash on his 19th birthday ended his dreams of a pro sports career.

He had roles in such movies as "Outrageous Fortune" (1987), "Beverly Hills Cop II" (1987), and "Dances With Wolves" (1990).

Pastorelli stayed with "Murphy Brown" from 1988 to 1994, dropping out when the sitcom's creator, Diane English, left.

"The fourth and fifth year were different," he told Parade magazine in 1997. "It stopped being fun, so I knew I had to move on. If I had stayed, it would have been only for the money, and that's not what acting is all about."

Pastorelli had a brief run as a drama series star: He played a police psychologist in the ABC series "Cracker" in 1997-98.

In 1999, his girlfriend, Charemon Jonovich, 25, was found fatally shot and her death was investigated by police as an accident. The couple had a daughter.