Thursday, March 11, 2004

'Murphy Brown' actor dies of overdose

Actor Robert Pastorelli, best-known for his role as Murphy Brown's perpetual house painter, died of an apparent drug overdose, authorities said Tuesday.

Pastorelli, 49, died in the same Hollywood Hills bungalow where his girlfriend fatally shot herself in the head during a March 1999 argument.

Pastorelli's female assistant found him dead Monday afternoon in his bathroom, authorities said. Drug paraphernalia was nearby, and there were no visible signs of trauma.

"It appears to be a drug overdose," LAPD spokesman Jason Lee said.

Pastorelli, who grew up in South Edison, N.J., had confessed to being a former junkie and teenage "wild child." But in 1999 he boasted he had been clean for eight years.

Pastorelli was most famous for his six-year stint on the CBS sitcom Murphy Brown, playing Eldin, Murphy's sardonic painter-in-residence and nanny.

More recently, Pastorelli was cast in Be Cool, a sequel to Get Shorty, which starred John Travolta as a gangster in Hollywood.

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