IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Death of David Gail, ‘Beverly Hills, 90210’ and ‘Port Charles’ actor, was drug-related

Gail’s mother said he “became reliant” on medicine years ago after undergoing multiple surgeries on his hands and wrists.
/ Source: NBC News

The death of David Gail, best known for roles on “Beverly Hills, 90210” and “General Hospital” spinoff “Port Charles,” was drug-related, according to a statement from his publicist.

Gail’s sister announced his death in an Instagram post last month.

“There’s barely been even a day in my life when you were not with me by my side,” Kathryn Gail captioned a Jan. 20 photo of them together, writing that she will miss him “every second of every day forever.”

Gail, 58, was found unresponsive by emergency personnel “who made every attempt to save his life including cardiopulmonary resuscitation and defibrillation,” his publicist said in a statement to NBC News on Tuesday.

He was placed on life support for several days and died on Jan. 16.

The actor’s cause of death was from anoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, a brain injury resulting from lack of blood, after resuscitation from cardiopulmonary arrest, his publicist said The statement said it was due to drug intoxication from substances including cocaine, fentanyl, amphetamines, and ethanol.

“It breaks my heart to learn that my son died this way,” Gail’s mother, Mary Painter, said in a statement.

Painter said Gail “became reliant” on medicine years ago after undergoing multiple surgeries on his hands and wrists.

“He lived in enough pain to prevent him from working for almost a decade, with relief only achieved through full disability, physical therapy and pain medicine,” she said. “He struggled to stop taking pharmaceuticals and did before turning toward a more Eastern pain management including acupuncture and natural medicines.”

“I can only assume that his former opioid dependence played a part in self-medicating from uncontrolled sources,” she continued.

Painter said she hopes her son’s death could shine “a light on the countless innocent victims of pharmaceutical addiction and the fentanyl epidemic that has taken so many of our sons and daughters.”

“Please keep David, and others battling pain or dependence, in your thoughts and prayers,” she said.

Gail played Stuart Carson, the fiancé of Shannon Doherty’s Brenda Walsh, for eight episodes on “Beverly Hills, 90210.” He also starred in “Port Charles” as Dr. Joe Scanlon. He took over the role from Michael Dietz in 1999 and appeared in 216 episodes before exiting the ABC soap opera the following year.

Gail, born in Tampa, Florida, made his television debut in one episode of “Growing Pains” in 1990 as a character named Norman. Other acting credits include “Savannah,” “The Round Table,” “Matlock,” “Robin’s Hoods,” “Murder, She Wrote,” “JAG” and “Doogie Howser, M.D.,” “Bending All the Rules” and The Belly of the Beast.”

He is survived by his son Guthier, his mother Mary Painter and his sister Kathryn Gail.

This story first appeared on