A celebrity dermatologist known as the Baron of Botox had been “deeply hurt” by a television programme that parodied him before he committed suicide, his friends said yesterday.
Fredric Brandt was one of Botox’s earliest and most prolific champions. He was suffering from depression when he hanged himself in the garage of his home in Miami on Sunday. He was 65.
His unusual facial features, which resulted from his heavy personal use of the product and other injectable rejuvenators, singled him out for ridicule on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, a recently launched Netflix comedy written by the American comedian Tina Fey.
“The show definitely deeply hurt him. He was being made fun of because of the way he looks,” said Jacquie Trachtenberg, his publicist.
Although the show was “not the reason for his depression… not the reason he would take his own life… it didn’t help,” she said.
“It is mean. He felt bullied,” Ms Trachtenberg told the New York Post.
Others close to the doctor described him as “heartbroken” by public mockery. Brandt had recently wept in front of a client at his New York clinic, lamenting the cruelty of public comments, and spent hours reading what had been said or written about him and his skincare products, taking any negativity to heart.
“He was depressed and had been for a while, but the Kimmy Schmidt parody pushed him over the edge,” a friend of Brandt told the New York Daily News
“He thought: ‘Well, that was on Netflix, it’s not somebody making fun of you behind your back, it’s international.”
Another friend said : “He was really affected by negative feedback. His nature was so sweet and delicate, he couldn’t take it.”
In an interview with The Times in December, Brandt hinted that his upbeat public demeanour masked sadness and said that when the time came, he would want a “quick death”.
“People say I’m always happy, but I say nobody is always happy… laugh and the world laughs with you. Cry, and you’ll cry alone,” he said.
Brandt was one of the first to adopt Botox, a beauty product introduced to the market in the early 1990s. When injected in small quantities, it paralyses muscles to give skin a smoother appearance.
He was noted by his peers for his meticulous sense of artistry when it came to treating clients, who included Madonna, the actress Demi Moore and Stephanie Seymour, a supermodel.
He strived to make others look “fabulous, not frozen,” he stated, and shared his knowhow with new generations of practitioners for free.
Robert Kirsner, of the Miller School of Medicine in Miami, where Brandt taught, described his death as “tragic.”
“He will be missed. However, through his teaching and innovation, his legacy will live on,” he said.