NEW YORK, Dec. 19 (UPI) -- Jeremy Piven's doctor says he ordered the actor to drop out of the Broadway play "Speed the Plow" because he had "shocking levels" of mercury in his system.
Dr. Carlon Colker, an internist and attending physician at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City and Greenwich Hospital in Connecticut, told People magazine the "Entourage" star became ill after eating too much sushi and Chinese herbs. Colker said, though serious, the condition is "completely reversible" if Piven gets rest and stays away from the sushi and herbs.
"I pulled Jeremy from the show," Colker told the magazine. "I'm an unpopular character right now. ... He's disappointed that I had to pull the plug. 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."
Piven, whose partying ways are well-documented, drew criticism and became the butt of jokes this week when he quit the new production of David Mamet's play in the middle of its run, reportedly due to exhaustion and an ailment connected to a high level of mercury that wasn't immediately fully explained.
"This was very, very unusual for him," Colker told People, stating test results showed Piven's mercury level was "almost six times the upper limit of normal and allowable." "He's known as the iron horse -- he's been working non-stop for 30 years, and he works 17-hour days."