'Parks and Recreation' Producer Harris Wittels Dies of Suspected Overdose

By May Wilkerson 02/20/15

The much-loved comedian was mourned by his friends and colleagues across Hollywood.

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Harris Wittels 1984-2015. Photo via

Harris Wittels, comedian, actor, TV writer and producer, died yesterday of a suspected overdose. He was 30 years old.

Though the cause of his death has not yet been officially determined, Wittels has admitted publicly to battling addiction to opiates in the past.

Amy Poehler, who worked with him on ​Parks and Recreation, ​the popular series he starred in and co-produced, said at an event last night, "I lost a dear, young man in my life who was struggling with addiction and who died just a few hours before we came…I’m sharing it with you because life and death live so close together, and we walk that fine line every day.”

Another Parks and Rec star, Rob Lowe, tweeted “Goddammit. Addiction takes another. Goodbye Harris Wittels, you were so funny and so sweet. It's a pleasure to have known you.”

Wittels, who had developed a reputation as a “drug guy” among his Hollywood cohorts, revealed on a podcast last fall that he was sober again after his second trip to rehab. He spoke to comedian Pete Holmes about his addiction to heroin, alcohol, and opiates. “I just stopped caring about my life,” he said.

He also opened up about the challenges of sobriety. “I’m not this guy that’s like ‘sobriety’s awesome!’” he said. “I have nothing to numb out when I get bored. You just have to sit through it.”

Wittels was found dead in his home a week before the series' finale of Parks and Rec. He also produced and wrote for Eastbound and Down and The Sarah Silverman Program, and earned a strong online following with the popular podcasts' Comedy Bang! Bang! and Analyze Phish.

Just the night before he died, Wittels performed standup comedy at The Meltdown in Los Angeles and reportedly said in his set that he was sober.

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May Wilkerson is a writer, comic and Managing Editor @someecards. Co-host of the podcast Crazy; In Bed w/alyssalimp. She is also the top Google result for "insufferable lunatic." Follow this insufferable lunatic on Twitter.