We dealt with David Hans Schmidt a couple of years back during the ill-fated revival of A Current Affair. He was a cheerful, straight-ahead, agressive, self-professed sleaze merchant with the unlikely home base of Phoenix, Arizona, eager to broker all kinds of celebrity smut from Tonya Harding to Colin Farrell to Paris Hilton. He talked like an out-of-towner out to take on Hollywood big shots like ourselves, hinted at a shadowy military past and reveled in all the publicity the mainstream media lavished upon him as they presented him as an underworld curiosity. More recently, he dealt with the corporate porn-pushing gossip site TMZ.com in the marketing of various sex tapes, including a spectacularly distasteful one featuring a washed-up child actor from the old syndicated television series, Saved By The Bell.
Then he tangled with with Tom Cruise and his team when he allegedly tried to extort the star over wedding photos. He was facing two years in prison but planned to ask for probation next month. Cops had him under house arrest with a GPS tracking device. They say they found him dead in his house yesterday, an apparent suicide at 47.
An apparent suicide.