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Originally the MTV generation's version of Dr. Ruth, Dr. Drew Pinsky later became recognized as a sort of anti-"Dr. Feelgood," specializing in dramatic, televised treatment programs featuring substance abusing ex-rockers, former stars and fading models. Early on, "Dr. Drew," as he was affectionately known, dished helpful advice to millions of teens through his nationally syndicated radio show "Loveline," alongside comedic co-host Adam Carolla. Eventually he branched out into television with the series "Strictly Sex with Dr. Drew" (Discovery Health Channel, 2005) and the reality program "Celebrity Rehab" (VH1, 2008- ), where he spent 21 days with stars who battled alcohol and drug addiction, including actor Jeff Conaway, wrestler Chyna, and former "American Idol" (Fox, 2002- ) contestant Jessica Sierra. While spin-offs like "Sex Rehab with Dr. Drew" (VH1, 2009) failed to work in the long-run, Pinsky continued to find success sticking to topics more relatable to the average American on his current affairs program "Dr. Drew" (HLN, 2011- ). Even as some sang the good doctor's praises for his work, speculation as to the effectiveness of his televised treatments once again came into question after Conway...
Originally the MTV generation's version of Dr. Ruth, Dr. Drew Pinsky later became recognized as a sort of anti-"Dr. Feelgood," specializing in dramatic, televised treatment programs featuring substance abusing ex-rockers, former stars and fading models. Early on, "Dr. Drew," as he was affectionately known, dished helpful advice to millions of teens through his nationally syndicated radio show "Loveline," alongside comedic co-host Adam Carolla. Eventually he branched out into television with the series "Strictly Sex with Dr. Drew" (Discovery Health Channel, 2005) and the reality program "Celebrity Rehab" (VH1, 2008- ), where he spent 21 days with stars who battled alcohol and drug addiction, including actor Jeff Conaway, wrestler Chyna, and former "American Idol" (Fox, 2002- ) contestant Jessica Sierra. While spin-offs like "Sex Rehab with Dr. Drew" (VH1, 2009) failed to work in the long-run, Pinsky continued to find success sticking to topics more relatable to the average American on his current affairs program "Dr. Drew" (HLN, 2011- ). Even as some sang the good doctor's praises for his work, speculation as to the effectiveness of his televised treatments once again came into question after Conway became one of several former "Rehab" patients to die, in part, due to issues related to their ongoing addictions. Admired by some and reviled by others, there was no denying that Pinsky and his methods were part of the tabloidian celebrity culture zeitgeist of the new millennium.
David Drew Pinsky was born on Sept. 4, 1958 in Pasadena, CA. His father Morton was a doctor, and his mother Helene Stanton was a singer and actress. As a child, Pinsky often went on house calls with his father and decided he, too, wanted to be a doctor. He attended Polytechnic High School, a private school in his hometown, where he played football and served as class president. He majored in Biology at Amherst College in Massachusetts, graduating in 1980 before transferring to USC School of Medicine. After getting his PhD in 1984, Pinsky worked as a resident at Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena, where he eventually became chief resident and later opened a private practice. Los Angeles radio station KROQ launched a Sunday night advice show in 1983 called "Loveline" with hosts Jim "Poorman" Trenton and DJ Swedish Egil. Trenton asked his friend Pinsky, who was a fourth year medical student at USC at the time, to host a segment on a show called "Ask a Surgeon." Both segments eventually merged into one show, and in 1992, "Loveline" aired five nights a week with co-hosts Trenton and Pinsky. DJ Riki Rachtman replaced Trenton a year later, and then in 1995, comedian Adam Carolla joined the team. Rachtman left the show in April 1996, leaving hosting duties to expert Pinsky and everyman goofball Carolla.
The popularity of "Loveline," where the hosts discussed everything from sexual positions to battling addiction, as well as dished out advice to listeners calling in about their own personal relationships, surged and even became a nationally televised program on MTV (1996-2000). The TV show followed the same format as the radio program, but also featured a live audience and a female co-host. That duty was shared over the course of the show's four year history by personalities such as comedian Laura Kightlinger, actress Diane Farr, and even sex symbol Carmen Electra, but the new millennium ended the TV program's run. The radio show had continued success even after Carolla left to host his own morning show in 2006 and DJ Stryker filled his seat. Pinsky separated his professional medical career from his entertainment career, and one way was not using his popular nickname "Dr. Drew" during his private practice. He gained more media exposure, however, through numerous television appearances. Pinsky appeared on the first season of "Big Brother" (CBS, 2000- ) as a health and human relations expert. He was a frequent guest speaker on news channels CNN and MSNBC, reality shows such as "Celebrity Fit Club" (VH1, 2005- ), and launched his own series "Strictly Sex with Dr. Drew" in 2005, which spun off into "Strictly Dr. Drew" in 2006. Aside from his vast knowledge of medicine, relationships and addiction, Pinsky was also very handsome and had a dignified personality; one that his current "Loveline" co-host Stryker described as "Dr. McDreamy," in reference to a character on the show "Grey's Anatomy" (ABC, 2005- ).
When he was not counseling others or providing helpful advice, Pinsky devoted some time to acting and voice over work. He made his big screen acting debut in "New York Minute" (2004) as the father of teen icons Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. He also appeared in "Dawson's Creek" (The WB, 1998-2003), "The Man Show" (Comedy Central, 1999-2004), and provided voices for animated characters on "Family Guy" (Fox, 1999- ), "Robot Chicken" (Cartoon Network, 2005- ), and the puppets of "Crank Yankers" (Comedy Central, 2002- ). Music was also a part of Pinsky's repertoire, as he was a trained opera singer. Unlike what some detractors claimed, his celebrity status never affected Pinsky's seriousness about his work. Along with his radio and television appearances, "Dr. Drew" also wrote a book in 2003 titled Cracked: Putting Broken Lives Together Again, based on his experiences as a Medical Director of a drug rehabilitation clinic in Pasadena. He also contributed to the 2004 book When Painkillers Become Dangerous: What Everyone Needs to Know about OxyContin and Other Prescription Drugs. Pinsky also worked with teens re. relationships and sex, especially promoting respect of women during intercourse. "For people to say, 'That's just the way men behave,' is a catastrophe," Pinsky said. "We should say, 'We can't allow this to happen. It's the source of destruction of the family." In November 2007, the doctor began another nationally syndicated radio show for KGIL in Los Angeles, where he explored broader health topics - from displeasure with medical insurance companies to coping with a family member after battling addiction.
After years of helping everyday people rebuild their relationships and battle different types of addictions, Pinsky reached out to help former celebrities with their struggles after years of excess drinking, drugs, and sex in the show "Celebrity Rehab." It premiered in January 2008 and garnered strong ratings for VH1. The cast that included Conaway, Chyna, Sierra, Brigitte Nielsen, Daniel Baldwin, Mary Carey, Jaimee Foxworth, Ricco Rodriguez, and Seth Binzer underwent 21 days of rehabilitation under Pinsky's supervision and counseling. The cast "graduated" in the show's ninth episode, with some entering themselves into sober living to increase their rate of success. "The new thing in rock and roll is sobriety, and my message is happy to get taken along for the ride," Pinsky has said in defense of his controversial show. Despite the debate over the ethics, methods and merits of the show, there was no denying Pinsky's success in the ratings. The following year saw him spinning off "Celebrity Rehab" into two new series, both of which he executive produced. As the title suggested, "Sex Rehab with Dr. Drew" (VH1, 2009) dealt with the sexual addiction issues of celebrities, while "Sober House" (VH1, 2009-2010) followed celebs who had successfully graduated from Pinsky's rehab program and entered a less-restrictive sober-living environment. While several people - some of them his own patients - questioned Pinsky's qualifications as a sex therapist, his work on "Sober House" was somewhat better received, although it only outlived the former by a single season.
Fully embracing his role as a television personality, Pinsky co-starred as a fictionalized version of himself on the short-lived reality TV parody "Warren the Ape" (MTV, 2010), a bizarre sitcom about the struggles of an emotionally damaged, substance-abusing puppet attempting to get his life and career back on track with the help of Dr. Drew. Returning to more familiar territory, Pinsky next appeared as the host of the daytime talk show "Dr. Drew's Lifechangers" (The CW, 2011- ), which focused on topics of relationships and addiction, and the health-societal current affairs show "Dr. Drew" (HLN, 2011- ). In the years since the launch of "Celebrity Rehab" Pinksy was frequently criticized for such things as offering professional opinions on celebrities he had never personally met, as well as for perceived conflicts of interest involving financial ties to a major pharmaceutical manufacturer and a marketing company promoting lap-band surgery. In response, Pinsky's camp repeatedly stated that using the medium of television was merely a way to reach the target audience his shows were meant to help, and that any professional relationships he may have entered into were always legitimate and ethical. Be that as it may, eyebrows were raised even further when in less than two years, a trio of Pinsky's former patients died of causes related to their substance abuse problems. Former Alice in Chains member Mike Starr died of a prescription drug overdose in March 2011. Two months later, Conway was taken off life support systems after lapsing into a coma, and former "Celebrity Rehab" patient Rodney King was found dead in his swimming pool in June 2012. While Conway's doctor opined that his reliance on painkillers and cold medicine impaired his judgment in seeking help for the pneumonia that put him in a coma, autopsy results revealed a combination of alcohol, cocaine and marijuana in King's system.
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