Published April 01, 2006
LOS ANGELES – Chris Farley, the funnyman who died more than eight years ago of a drug overdose, is making an appearance — on billboards that advertise treatment for drug and alcohol addiction.
The outdoor ads — the first major commercial use of his image approved by his family — feature a photo of the smiling, famously bloated comic with the slogan, "It wasn't all his fault." The ads tout a new addiction treatment from Hythiam Inc.
The first billboard will appear Monday near the Chateau Marmont on Sunset Boulevard, the hotel where Farley's idol, comedian John Belushi, died of a drug overdose in 1982.
"We felt it was an effective way of getting people to focus on our message point, because it's unusual to see a celebrity in this fashion," said Terren S. Peizer, Hythiam's chief executive.
Farley — whose wild antics on "Saturday Night Live" earned him comparisons to Belushi, another veteran of the show — died Dec. 18, 1997, in Chicago of an accidental overdose of morphine and cocaine. He was 33.
The billboards will appear in the Los Angeles area. Peizer said talks are under way with estates of several other dead celebrities, whom he declined to identify.
Hythiam paid Farley's estate $25,000 for the right to use the image.