Nelson couldn't go on

By LOUIS B. HOBSON -- Calgary Sun


Judd Nelson made a sudden departure this summer from Brooke Shields' troubled sitcom Suddenly Susan. He'd starred as her boss and sparring partner for three seasons.

"I just couldn't go back to the series after David Strickland's suicide. I didn't see how we could make the show light and funny any more," says Nelson.

"It is so sad that none of us who considered him our friend were able to catch his sadness. Of course, he had sad stretches, but everyone does. He certainly never talked about suicide. In retrospect, we should have seen the signs."

Strickland hung himself in March in a Las Vegas motel after a week-long alcohol and drug binge.

After his departure from Suddenly Susan, Nelson headed for Toronto, where he filmed the lead in the TV movie Mr. Rock and Roll: The Alan Freed Story.

He stars Friday as a teacher in the teen drama Light It Up, which is being called a rap version of Nelson's 1985 movie The Breakfast Club. Nelson had some advice for his co-stars in Light It Up, including singer Usher and former Roseanne star Sara Gilbert.

"Don't do what I did. My Brat Pack buddies and I didn't exactly handle celebrity very well. Success at an early age is far more difficult to handle than failure."

"With failure, you just try again."