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N.Y. police mount search for missing actor-writer

NEW YORK -- Acclaimed actor-writer Spalding Gray, who has battled depression since a 2001 car crash, was missing yesterday after disappearing from his Manhattan home over the weekend, police said.

Police in New York City and Long Island had joined in the search for the 62-year-old actor, who is noted for his one-man shows in which he tells of his life in artful, witty monologues.

Gray keeps homes in New York City and in the Hamptons.

Police confirmed that neither Gray nor his wife, Kathleen Russo, had visited their Long Island home since Christmas, said Lieutenant William Armstrong of the Southampton, N.Y., police.

His wife reported Gray missing over the weekend.

Police were also checking a report that Gray may have been planning a ski trip to Colorado.

A head-on car crash during a 2001 vacation in Ireland left Gray disheartened and in poor health, and he tried jumping from a bridge near his Long Island home in October 2002.

New York City police offered no details on the search for Gray, who also appeared on Broadway and in films including "Beaches" (1988) and "Kate and Leopold" (2001). In the 1993 Steven Soderbergh film "King of the Hill," Gray plays an eccentric bachelor who kills himself.

Gray won an Obie for his one-man show "Swimming to Cambodia," based in part on his work on the film "The Killing Fields." The monologue was later turned into a movie.

Born in Barrington, R.I., Gray started his career at theater companies in Boston. He also cofounded the experimental Wooster Group theater, and appeared in a Tony-winning revival of "Our Town."

In his monologue "It's a Slippery Slope," Gray tells the audience he had to overcome depression associated with his turning 52 -- the age his mother was when she killed herself.

It also weaves in memories of boarding school and college days in New England, life in New York City, and learning to ski.

"When I'm doing my monologue, I'm in my element," he said in 1997. "I am most me when I'm on stage."

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