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Who’s Talking Suicide with Drew Carey?

Drew Carey

Who’s Talking Suicide with Drew Carey?

Drew Carey didn’t try to kill himself once; he tried to kill himself twice. That’s right. He took a fistful of prescription pills and shut his eyes to the whole wild world-at-large. The first time he was 18; the second came when he was 23. Thank Zeus he didn’t succeed.

Why didn’t Carey succeed?, you ask. Self-help reading material.


We’re talking self-help development material ranging from Success Magazine (which he’s been reading for eons) to all-star gurus such as Zig Ziglar and Og Mandino. In fact, Carey has a dog-eared copy of the latter’s University of Success at home by his bedside. “I read it all the time,” Carey told Success reporter Susan Young. “I needed the book because it went right to believing in yourself, which I never did.”

Young points out that Carey and the late Mandino shared similar life experiences. Like Carey, Mandino lost his mother just after high school, joined the military, felt like a failure and battled alcoholism before turning his life around. And while Mandino’s “it” factor was writing The Greatest Salesman in the World, Carey flipped his script writing jokes that got him on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.

Those weren’t the only ways their lives merged though. Like Carey, Mandino attempted suicide. And like Carey, he found strength in self-help books. In Mandino’s case it was W. Clement Stone’s classic, Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude, which had all the ingredients Mandino would need to stave off his deep depression.

In fact, Mandino actually applied his notions to Stone’s company, which he decided to join. Within a year, Mandino was breaking records as sales manager. He was also appointed Executive Editor of the in-house magazine Success Unlimited and tasked with its collections. Two years later, Mandino would rack The Greatest Salesman in the World, which became an instant hit.

Talk about knowing your market.

Drew Carey:Nerdy Loner Finds Himself

Carey knew his market too. The actor-cum-game-show-host told Dory Jackson at People that he was often alone after school, watching cartoons, memorizing joke books and listening to comedy albums. His brothers were older; Neal, who died of a heart attack in 2010, was 12 years Drew’s senior, and Roger is six years older.
That left Carey ample time to turn into the nerdy loner. It also permitted him time enough to feel unworthy of happiness or success. That overwhelming feeling didn’t change when he went to Kent State University either. If anything, it got worse. Carey was twice expelled for poor grades and spent five years shuffling through classes without earning a degree.

It was at Kent State where a freshman Carey tried to kill himself. Then he came back at 23 and tried to kill himself again. He’d been waiting tables at a Denny’s restaurant in Las Vegas and apparently didn’t see a light at the end of the tunnel.

This time, his brother Roger came through for him. Bought him a ticket home to Cleveland, where Carey immersed himself in self-empowerment books, including Wayne Dyer’s Your Erroneous Zones and the writings of Ziglar and Mandino.

After a few years, Carey moved to San Diego to be with his older brother Neal. Looking for discipline, he signed up for the Marine Reserves. Though he now dismisses the move as “not really a Marine; just the reserves”, he did gain more discipline. Carey also achieved his signature hairstyle.

Most importantly, Carey got roped into comedy, which would fuel the rest of his life.

While working the local stand-up circuit he lucked into a spot on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson in 1991. And – get this! – he was chosen to be one of the few comics invited to sit next to Carson after his bit. In the world of stand-up, that was huge! In fact, it was the equivalent of being annointed Comedy Kingpin.

From Success

When he was “called to the couch,” Carey knew he had made it, he has told reporters. Raised Presbyterian, he likened the Tonight Show experience to joining the Pentecostal church when he was in junior high. “There was an altar call, and I went up, and I got saved. And I rolled around, talked in tongues, all that stuff you hear about. And being called over to the couch by Johnny was the closest thing I ever had to that.”

Carey’s career was taking off. After appearing on the short-lived 1994 NBC sitcom The Good Life, he pitched a sitcom about a good-natured working guy based loosely on his life. The Drew Carey Show was an instant hit that ran from 1995 to 2004.

Then in 2007, he took the reins of the long-running game show The Price Is Right, which had been helmed for decades by Bob Barker.

Carey has been with The Price ever since.

He’s also been well-grounded. No more crazy notions about ending it all. And for that, we can all be thankful.

And we at Healing Properties can be thankful to Susan Young formerly at Success, Dory Jackson at People and Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace? for the Drew Carey ammo. Young and Jackson, in particular, provided some really resounding rounds. And we’re deeply grateful.

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