September 29th, 2009
02:03 PM ET

DJ AM died of 'accidental overdose'

This just in to the Showbiz Tonight newsroom:

The New York Medical Examiner confirms that DJ AM, aka Adam Goldstein died from an accidental overdose. They told us that he suffered "Acute intoxication due to the combined effects of Cocaine, Oxycodone, Vicodin, Ativan, Klonopin, Xanax, Benadryl and Levamisole (drug used to cut cocaine)."

DJ AM, 36, was found dead in his New York City apartment on August 28th.  He died almost a year after surviving a plane crash that killed four other people. DJ AM and Travis Barker, former drummer for Blink- 182, were the only survivors.

September 3rd, 2009
12:17 PM ET

The Summer of Death

"Ooooh, that smell / Can't you smell that smell / Ooooh, that smell / The smell of death surrounds you..."      - Lynyrd Skynyrd

At first, I told myself it was a combination of coincidence and getting older: the longer you cover celebrities, the more of them you know and the more you know about them, so the more you notice.  But it can't be denied any longer: celebrities have dropped at an alarming rate this summer.  We lost Dom DeLuise on May 4 - you may not consider early May to be summer, but Hollywood does: X-Men Origins: Wolverine, this year's first "summer blockbuster," opened May 1 - and ever since, it's been an incredibly funereal season.  With both Michael Jackson's funeral and DJ AM's memorial service tonight, it seemed a good time to recap the Summer of Death.  In order of expiration:

  • Dom DeLuise
  • veteran basketball coach Chuck Daly
  • basketball star turned jazz artist Wayman Tisdale
  • blues legend Koko Taylor
  • actor David Carradine
  • guitarist Bob Bogle of the Ventures
  • Ed McMahon
  • Farrah Fawcett
  • Michael Jackson
  • TV huckster Billy Mays
  • comedian/impressionist Fred Travalena
  • actor Karl Malden
  • NFL star Steve McNair
  • Walter Cronkite
  • author Frank McCourt
  • dance legend Merce Cunningham
  • writer/director/producer John Hughes
  • guitar innovator Les Paul
  • Eunice Kennedy Shriver
  • political pundit Robert Novak
  • "60 Minutes" creator Don Hewitt
  • Sen. Edward Kennedy
  • author Dominic Dunne
  • Adam Goldstein aka DJ AM

Anyone who reads an entertainment news blog certainly remembers most of these figures, if not all of them, and while you can't equate the loss of a celebrity to that of a friend or loved one, their fame makes their passing something we can share as a society.  With hundreds of television channels, nearly as many genres of music, and the entire Internet increasingly fragmenting our common entertainment experience, I think it's worth noting the things we still share - and sadly, this summer's celebrity death toll fits that bill.

September 3rd, 2009
11:02 AM ET

Your pop culture cheat sheet

DJ AM was remembered Wednesday in a small funeral attended by family and friends, including Travis Barker, People reports. A larger memorial service will take place today at the Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles.

Katherine Heigl

Katherine Heigl is taking a short leave of absence from "Grey's Anatomy" to film the romantic comedy "Life as We Know it," according to The Web site reports that Heigl will miss five episodes and her character's absence will be explained on the show.

The 3D craze hitting theaters will soon extend into your living room. The Hollywood Reporter says that consumer electronics manufacturers are working on 3D television sets. Bob Perry, the executive vice president of Panasonic Consumer Electronics, tells the paper that this is "the new frontier of television."

"Will & Grace" star Megan Mullally is joining the cast of the Starz series "Party Down" after the departure of cast member Jane Lynch (now on "Glee"), according to The Hollywood Reporter. The show's new season is scheduled for April.

People reports that Lisa Loeb is expecting a baby with husband Roey Hershkovitz. Their first child is due in the winter.

August 31st, 2009
06:37 PM ET

DJ AM: Tragic end to a troubled life

When I first heard that Adam Goldstein, a.k.a. DJ AM had died I was shocked and truly saddened.  I was lucky enough to hear him spin at a few parties in LA and he was extremely talented. I didn’t know him personally, but for some reason this celebrity death hit a chord with me. 

Since first hearing of his passing I have been trying to figure out why that is. I think I may have figured out why: even in Hollywood, we all love to root for the underdog and DJ AM certainly qualified.  He had a tough life, speaking openly about his troubled childhood, his battle with obesity (he had gastric bypass after his weight ballooned over 300 lbs), and was open about his battle with addiction. Goldstein went from being a troubled kid to playing the hottest clubs and dating Hollywood starlets. Then there was the plane crash.  If ever there was a defining moment in a celebrity’s public life, this was his.  He literally walked away from a plane crash that killed four people-there is no question he had overcome a lot in his 36 years.

The thing about DJ AM that I found so personally appealing was that he managed to be a part of the Hollywood scene with out being a ‘scenester’.  He dated Hollywood starlets but didn’t seem like a ‘hanger on’ because he had his own career. Most of all what I liked most about DJ AM is that he wanted to help others. After all he had been through- the weight, the addictions, the plane crash- the thing that he was working on when he died was a series with MTV about helping teenagers suffering from addiction. I don’t know what happened in his home on the day he died and I don’t want to speculate on what caused his death, but clearly he battled a lot of demons. I find it admirable that this was a guy who clearly was successful and instead of sitting back and letting life pass him by, he sought ways to help others try to climb out of the throws of addiction that he had spent so many years fighting.

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Our daily cheat-sheet for breaking celebrity news, Hollywood buzz and your pop-culture obsessions.