Body of writer, actor found in East River
Monday, March 8, 2004 Posted: 4:24 PM EST (2124 GMT)
NEW YORK (CNN) -- A body pulled from the East River at 3 p.m. Sunday was that of actor-writer Spalding Gray, who had been missing since January 10, the New York City medical examiner's office said Monday afternoon.
The body was identified after an autopsy through dental and other X-rays, said Ellen Borakove, the medical examiner's spokeswoman. She said the cause of death is under investigation.
The only identifiable evidence on the body was a pair of black corduroy pants similar to the pair Gray was wearing on the night of his disappearance, she said.
Gray, 62, was known for writing and starring in the autobiographical "Swimming to Cambodia" and appearances in films such as "The Killing Fields," "Beaches," "The Paper" and "Kate & Leopold," but was most celebrated for his autobiographical monologues, including "Cambodia," "Monster in a Box" and "It's a Slippery Slope."
He had attempted suicide several times since a car accident in Ireland in June 2001 in which he sustained severe injuries. Family friend and spokeswoman Sara Vass said in January that he had never been the same since that crash and had subsequently received treatment at psychiatric hospitals.
In September 2003 Gray left a message at his Soho apartment in Manhattan saying goodbye to his wife, Kathie Russo, and telling her he planned to jump from the Staten Island Ferry that day. Russo called police, who notified authorities on the ferry. A despondent Gray was found sitting on the ferry and was escorted off the boat.
Russo and Gray's therapist thought he had been making progress since then and that he was through the worst of his depression.
His wife had held out hope he was alive during his disappearance, she told The Associated Press.
"Everyone that looks like him from behind, I go up and check to make sure it's not him," Russo said in a phone interview with the AP about a week ago. "If someone calls and hangs up, I always do star-69. You're always thinking, 'maybe.' "
Billy Doyle, a Staten Island Ferry worker, reported in January that he had seen Gray coming off the ferry late at night, and Russo and Gray's older brother, Rockwell Gray, feared that trip may have been a "dry run" to prepare for a suicide attempt, Vass said in January.
Police said he was last seen at 6:30 p.m. January 10 at his Manhattan apartment, and he spoke to his 6-year-old son by telephone at 9 p.m., but he did not show up for a dinner appointment that evening or a re-scheduled flight to Colorado the next day.