In one of the stranger celebrity news stories we've read in quite awhile, Jeremy Piven has left the Broadway play Speed-the-Plow after suffering "shocking levels" of mercury in his system from eating too much sushi and Chinese herbs.
"I pulled Jeremy from the show," says his doctor, Carlon Colker. "I'm an unpopular character right now."
Responding to skepticism over the decision to leave the play – playwright David Mamet joked that Piven was leaving to "pursue a career as a thermometer" - the doctor says the decision was purely medical, and one Piven initially resisted.
"He's disappointed that I had to pull the plug," says Colker. "But I think he's hurt more by the comments that he's not trying or that he walked away. He's been working straight for 30 years. He doesn't walk away; I tore him away from it."
Jeremy Piven initially came to the doctor after the Speed-the-Plow's Broadway run began in late October, complaining of severe fatigue.
"This was very, very unusual for him," says Colker. "He's known as the iron horse - he's been working nonstop for 30 years, and he works 17-hour days."
Colker tested his "heavy metals" and was "absolutely stunned" to find mercury at a level "almost six times the upper limit of normal and allowable."
Colker attributes the high mercury count to Piven's habit of eating sushi, often twice a day, compounded by certain Chinese herbs he took "for general health."
Piven was ordered to put a moratorium on the fish and herbs. Here's wishing the actor a speedy return to health and hilarious Entourage quotes.