Jeremy Piven was ordered to pull out of Broadway play SPEED-THE-PLOW because he had six times the normal level of deadly mercury in his body - from allegedly eating too much sushi.
A doctor who examined the actor and advised him to quit the show admits he was "stunned" to discover Piven's mercury levels was "shockingly high".
He ordered the star to pull out of the play immediately - and scrap the rest of his run, which was due to continue until 22 February (09).
Dr Carlon Colker, who has been treating the star, tells, "I pulled Jeremy from the show. I'm an unpopular character right now... He's disappointed that I had to pull the plug. But I think he's hurt more by the comments that he's not trying or that he walked away. He's been working straight for 30 years. He doesn't walk away; I tore him away from it."
The doctor insists Piven initially came to him after the show began its run in October (08), complaining of severe fatigue.
After a series of tests, Dr Colker was surprised to find mercury at a level "almost six times the upper limit of normal and allowable."
He adds: "It's the highest level I've ever seen."
Colker blames the high mercury count on Piven's habit of eating sushi and taking Chinese herbs for his health - and the actor has been ordered to quit both to aid his recovery.