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Jeremy Piven and the toxic sushi

December 18, 2008 |  6:13 pm

Jeremy PivenYesterday, Culture Monster alerted you to reports that "Entourage"-turned-Broadway star Jeremy Piven had pulled out of David Mamet's Hollywood play "Speed-the-Plow." The reason? "A high mercury count."

What? Never heard of that?

Apparently neither had playwright David Mamet, who was quoted in Variety as saying, "I talked to Jeremy on the phone, and he told me that he discovered that he had a very high level of mercury. So my understanding is that he is leaving show business to pursue a career as a thermometer."


Word of Piven's abrupt departure quickly spread, along with reports of alleged hard-partying ways. Doubters figured there was something fishy about this story.

And by mid-afternoon, it was confirmed: Yup -- Piven had eaten too much sushi or possibly ingested excessive amounts of Chinese herbs. 

Piven's doctor, Dr. Carlon Colker, told Variety that skeptics were being unfair and unkind. Colker should know: He's an attending physician at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York and Greenwich Hospital in Connecticut and chief executive and medical director of Peak Wellness.

“Jeremy has been a trouper and did everything he could to fight extreme fatigue, among other things, since the condition was diagnosed,” Colker told Variety. “It was not his decision to step away from this play, it was mine. I think it was in the best interests of his health to do that.”

Indeed, mercury toxicity is a real condition. Dr. Roshini Rajapaksa, a gastroenterologist at NYU Langone Medical Center, told Culture Monster: "True mercury toxicity is very rare.... However, mercury toxicity is a real condition with real symptoms that include headache, nausea and systemic pain.

"While we encourage people to eat fish, everyone needs need to watch the mercury content in fish and be careful about which fish they eat."

Well, we'll leave you with that advice, then -- before we are forced to start eating our words.

-- Lisa Fung

Photo: Jeremy Piven. Credit: Brian McDermott / AP

Comments () | Archives (6)

I'm glad someone has come to Piven's defence. So far it seems that he is in a very serious condition and everyone is mocking him about it.
Also, have they forgotten he usually works non stop, and pulling out of a work commitment isn't a regular thing for him.
I hope that he'll pull through and won't let the negative comments get him down.

We seem so quick to laugh at celebrities. By the time Leno and Letterman and Conan the Barbarian are done with them, people often do not hear...
The Rest of the Story!

Thank you, Lisa Fung, for following up with the truth!

I really don't care about Piven. He's a hack and a pre-madonna...

Oh please. I'd sooner let Michael Jackson babysit my kid than trust the word and medical "diagnosis" of a celebrity's doctor. How many times have these quacks diagnosed their celebrity clients with "exhaustion" or "fainting caused by working too hard"? And there's always a bunch of gullible fans who will swallow it hook, line and sinker and induce themselves to believe the ridiculously far-fetched while ignoring the obvious. I don't care if Piven left the show because he got sick and tired of putting on the same show 8 times a week. Theatre is hard, it's understandable. But at least have the mettle to be upfront about it instead of inventing this ridiculous "the sushi made me do it" excuse (incidentally, should we be concerned that the entire nation of Japan is going to stop going to work any day now?). But I guess Piven and his amoral agent have figured out the only way to get out of his contract without getting sued is to plead medical disability.

Did anyone think about him having mercury toxicity because of mercury fillings that release mercury into your system 24/7 or other toxic metals in his mouth. No treatment will help with mercury toxicity, if he does have any of this in his mouth.....

this guy has had some kind of health issues for awhile. look at photos of him during this year. he has gone from looking bad to really bad. if hollywood wasn't so full of lairs and dope fiends maybe this story would be a bit more believeable. hope he comes out okay


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