Sleeping Pills Blamed For Columnist’s Death
Sunday, November 30th, 1969
NEW YORK, Nov. 30 – An autopsy performed Saturday on the body of Steven A. Brandt, a Hollywood gossip columnist and figure in the Tate murders investigation, indicated his death had been caused “congestion” of his body’s chief organs following an apparent overdose of sleeping pills.
A spokesman for Dr. John F. Devlin, the deputy city medical examiner who performed autopsy, said the preliminary ruling on the cause of death was “visceral congestion pending a chemical analysis.”
He said there were no further findings he could comment on at the present time and would not speculate on when laboratory tests would completed.
Brandt, 26, was found dead early Friday in a room at the Chelsea Hotel. He had been to a concert of the Rolling Stones rock group on Thursday night with underground actress Ultra Violet and other friends.
Ultra Violet said Brandt left the concert early because “the concert was so lively — so opposite himself.” Afterward, Ultra Violet called the hotel to see how Brandt was.
“When he answered the phone he sounded very, very weak and he told me he’d taken 22 pills,” the actress said. She said she then called the night clerk who found Brandt and notified police.
Brandt, who wrote for Photoplay Magazine, had tried to kill himself a month ago an his West Hollywood home.
Brandt was questioned extensively about the Aug. 9 slaying of actress Sharon Tate and four other persons in the Hollywood home of Miss Tate and her husband, director Roman Polanski.
Police said he was not a suspect, and Brandt, in a magazine article, said he had supplied the police with information about Miss Tate and her circle of friends.