How NCIS Star Pauley Perrette ‘Cheated Death’ Multiple Times

Advertisement

Pauley Perrette’s former role as Abigail “Abby” Sciuto called for her to get intimately acquainted with death in the forensics lab — and being faced with the inevitable far too soon is also something she’s had to grapple with far too many times in real life. Perrette has claimed that the real scary stuff was happening behind the scenes on “NCIS,” once telling Assignment X that she was never bothered by the show’s corpse-of-the-week and its use of some pretty gruesome props and special effects. “I always want to tell kids, ‘It’s not real, no actors were harmed. It’s all in fun,'” she said. She did, however, feel that it was important to show that Sciuto wasn’t completely desensitized to death by letting viewers know that the losses of some of her colleagues weighed on her.

The name the actor gave one of her bands, Stop Making Friends, is also a nod to the Grim Reaper and Perrette’s pursuit of a real-life career catching criminals, something she gave up to investigate murders of the impermanent variety on the small screen. “I studied criminology, and you’re more likely to be murdered, assaulted, or raped by someone you know,” she told Paul Semel in 2013. “I actually wrote a story in my head about this guy who thought his best chance of survival was to know no one.” But one of the occasions when Perrette felt like she cheated death was a terrifying encounter with a stranger.

A man threatened her life

In a 2022 Twitter video, Pauley Perrette gave her fans a quick rundown of the multiple instances where she felt like her life was in danger. They included being physically assaulted by a man named David Merck. In a 2015 tweet, Perrette recounted how Merck accosted her not far from her home. “He grabbed me so forcefully, pinned my arm, punched me in the nose, forehead, repeatedly telling me he was going to kill me,” Perrette wrote. “Then he showed me how he was going to kill me.” Thankfully, he eventually let her go and was later apprehended by the police.

After his arrest, Merck was sent to a psychiatric facility and was released in 2018. “I’m afraid the next word I hear about this guy is that he’s killed a female,” Perrette told Fox 411 at the time, adding that the attack had made her fearful to leave home.

Advertisement

Perrette has also spoken about having a stalker who targeted her for years and made her fear for her life. In a 2017 “48 Hours” interview, she said that law enforcement officials would do nothing to help her, making the situation even more traumatic. “I had been harassed and terrorized for so long … I was completely suicidal,” she said. Perrette also tweeted that she’d thought about moving to London to escape her stalker. “Love my country & my job But I don’t want to die,” she wrote.

If you or someone you know needs help with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

Pauley Perrette’s health scares

In her Twitter video about the many close calls she’s survived, Pauley Perrette revealed that she suffered a stroke in 2021 that could have been deadly. “Yes, I’m still here, again. How many times do I cheat death?” she said. She told ET she first realized something was seriously wrong when one side of her body became numb, but she was hesitant to rush to the hospital and phoned her doctor first. “He said, ‘GO TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM IMMEDIATELY,'” she recalled. She heeded his advice, and after a stay in the stroke center, it took months before she felt like her old self again.

One of Perrette’s other major health scares was an allergic reaction to the hair dye she used to use to make her pigtails raven-black for her “NCIS” role. She tweeted a photo of the facial swelling she experienced along with a link to an article about a woman who had died from the same PPD allergy. “If I do this wrong again, I could die,” she told ET in a 2014 interview. A year later, she tweeted about experiencing another brush with death when a driver ran a stop sign and smashed into her vehicle. “I am full of gratefulness, astounded by the fact that I am here safe with my dogs tweeting this,” she wrote. So, she’s not lying when she calls herself a survivor, and we hope that the Grim Reaper finally stops with this “Final Destination” nonsense.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement