David Carradine's death may have been accidental and not suicide, Thai police said yesterday. Carradine's nude body was found Thursday in the closet of his Bangkok hotel room. A rope around his neck was attached to a closet bar; another was tied to his genitals.

"It is unclear whether he committed suicide or not," said police Lt. Gen. Worapong Chewprecha. Thai forensic expert Pornthip Rojanasunand said Carradine may have died during autoerotic asphyxiation, cutting off oxygen to the brain for sexual arousal.

The Smoking Gun Web site says this theory is supported by a 2003 divorce court filing in which Carradine's ex-wife, Marina Anderson, accused him of "deviant sexual behavior which was potentially deadly." She did not elaborate.

Carradine, 72, who was in Bangkok to shoot the new movie Stretch, was in more than 200 movies and TV shows in his 46-year career. He was best known for the '70s TV show Kung Fu, and the recent Kill Bill movies.

A nice Mess O'Potamia

Stephen Colbert, 45, who pretends to be the most important political pundit on TV, will pretend to save the world from the Iraqi insurgency (not to mention several local branches of al-Qaeda) by beaming his Comedy Central show, The Colbert Report, from Baghdad for four days next week. (Like, for real.)

Colbert, who says he'll be "Bob Hoping" it for the troops, arrived yesterday at the former Al Faw Palace at Camp Victory.

Dubbed Operation Iraqi Stephen: Going Commando, the show will be taped live for an audience of 450 troops, making it the first broadcast from Iraq of a USO tour.

Colbert, an ardent supporter of the troops who has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Yellow Ribbon Fund, says he decided to do the show because the news media seem to have forgotten about the war in Iraq.

Boyle leaves hospital

Britain's Got Talent loser Susan Boyle, 48, has been released from London's Priory clinic after five days. Susan, who was treated for exhaustion and an anxiety attack following her shocking reality show loss, is "much happier," says her bro Gerry Boyle, who is putting her up in his pad.

He said his sis won't be dissuaded by the loss. "She's now beginning to believe that, 'Yes, indeed, I will be a singer.' " Won't be too hard, considering that Simon Cowell has promised he'll help launch the warbler's career.

Leno tickles the numbers

Jay Leno's farewell appearance May 29 as host of NBC's The Tonight Show drew 11.9 mil loving viewers, according to final ratings numbers. It was the largest Friday audience Leno has attracted in the 17 years he has steered the show. The show averaged 7 mil during Leno's last week.

Denzel: Travolta is coping

Five months after the death of his 16-year-old son, Jett, John Travolta continues to grieve, but he's coping, says Denzel Washington, John's costar in The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3.

"He is trying to work it out," Denzel told Us Weekly at Thursday's Lalaland premiere of the film, which John skipped. "He is a wonderful actor and an even better human being. We talked a couple weeks ago for a long time, and he is doing as well as can be expected."

'Slumdog' book in works

More happy news from Mumbai: Slumdog Millionaire child star Rubina Ali, 9, has signed with Transworld Publishers to write her memoirs about life in the shantytown where she grew up.