Lindsay Lohan was indeed working at the Los Angeles County morgue around the time Whitney Houston died, but a recent comment from the actress about rolling up the singer's body bag as part of community service appears to be, at best, an exaggeration.
Lohan, who's in London rehearsing for her stage debut in "Speed-the-Plow," recently told Britain's Telegraph a little bit about doing time at the morgue.
Her entire community-service assignment was screwed up and "inappropriate," she said in an article published Saturday, "because a lot of other people were meant to do it, and they were like: 'No, they can't handle it. Lohan can.'
"It's different for me than it would be for other people -- like, no one would really have to work at the morgue in L.A. and roll a body bag for Whitney Houston."
Houston died Feb. 11, 2012, which was in fact during the time Lohan was wrapping up the end of her court-ordered shifts. An autopsy was conducted the next day, a Sunday, and the body was released to a funeral home the morning of Feb. 13 for transport to New Jersey.
But here's the thing: An official at the coroner's office told TMZ on Monday that Houston was never in a body bag at all -- rather, her remains were wrapped in plastic and covered with a sheet -- and nobody from the morgue's community-service ranks ever came in contact with the singer's body.
Note that Lohan never told the Telegraph specifically that she'd come in contact with Houston's body -- that nuance came from others later in the interpretation of the quote. Then again, the notion that anyone in her position would have to "roll a body bag for Whitney Houston" was certainly a dramatic way for Lohan to characterize her experience, which by most official accounts appears to have been merely janitorial.
"She's going to be cleaning toilets, mopping floors and emptying the trash bins," coroner Ed Winter said in October 2011, noting that 15 to 20 people were typically doing that kind of community service on any given day, with none of them anywhere near the autopsy rooms.
Now, the Telegraph story itself appeared to be a bit exaggerated in its assertion that Lohan worked 12-hour shifts at the morgue, 4 a.m. to 4 p.m., for four months.
In fact, her first morgue shift in October 2011 came with an 8 a.m. start time. Yes, she blew it on Day 1 and showed up late, but she got there quite early for the next shift -- arriving at 5:35 a.m.
In November, Lohan's probation instructions were firmed up to require 12 days a month at the morgue. At the end of March, the "Mean Girls" star was finally freed from that supervised probation that stemmed from a 2007 DUI arrest.
"I know it sounds really dark and strange, but I thought it would be a lot worse," Lohan told the Telegraph about her morgue experience. "I kind of regulated a lot of it. I'd tell people: 'You didn't fold that sheet properly,' because I'm OCD with folding."
With folding, she said. With rolling, however? Perhaps not so precise.
"Speed-the-Plow" by David Mamet, with Lohan in the role first played by Madonna, opens in London later this month.